Latest News

BIAW Bulletin: April 12, 2021

April 12, 2021

I’m Jan Himebaugh and this is the Hammer with Himebaugh. It is absolutely in no way going to be known as the BIAW Bulletin.

It’s day 91 of 105 in the legislative session. In news of note: vaccines will be available for anyone over 16 on April 15. At the time of filming, there was chatter about rolling a bunch of counties back to phase 2 (what a terrible idea)! And Prince Philip died. Queen Elizabeth will now enter an official mourning period of eight days, affairs of state have been paused and no laws will be given royal assent.

If only we could pause state legislative affairs as well…

Last week the Senate passed two major pieces of legislation regarding carbon – one is a cap & trade or cap & tax bill. This will create a carbon market and make energy way more expensive. How fun.

They also passed a low carbon fuel standard bill that significantly changed from the version passed in the House, but will still make fuel prices increase.

All these things reduce homebuyers’ purchasing power and increase the price of building materials and building homes. Both these bills aren’t done yet and both currently have a caveat for implementation – they only get implemented if there is a transportation package.

And that brings me to the next rodeo going on: transportation.

Last week the Senate Transportation Committee held a work session yet again on about 30 new taxes and fees and a big ol’ project list. And today the bills attached to those ideas were heard in that same committee. BIAW’s team is working hard to ensure that any transportation package doesn’t negatively impact the cost of housing. And unfortunately, this proposal does just that. It creates a statewide transportation benefit district using a new statewide impact fee on new residential construction: $1.50/per $1,000 of assessed value and up to $3/per $1,000 on new commercial construction. This is a direct hit on housing and will make it even harder for Washington families to find homes – not to mention the significant legal constitutional issues with collecting an impact fee on a home in Pend Oreille to pay for multimodal service in Everett.

Housing access and affordability should be paramount to legislators in these last days of session – adding costs to housing for unrelated transportation projects is absolutely the wrong direction for Washington.

Thanks for watching another fair to a middling segment of the hammer with Himebaugh.

Homes start here.

Himebaugh out.

Return to blog