Welcome to Day 44 of what is looking to be a true 60 day Legislative Session. A few updates for you all this afternoon:
-The House and the Senate have both released their budgets. Both budgets propose decreases in Property Tax. The Senate gets there by tapping the reserve fund- a vote that would require a 60% majority to get to. The House does it by enacting a Capital Gains Tax. The House Cap Gains proposal has gotten better over the years in its approach to Real Estate. The proposal they voted out of the fiscal committee yesterday exempts all single family residential regardless of the residency status (Primary, secondary, investment etc) and exempts multifamily buildings of 4 units or less. It would still apply to commercial properties and multi-family sales of greater than four units. We will continue to work on this issue. Keep in mind that the Senate Majority Leader has repeatedly said that there are not enough votes in her caucus to pass Cap Gains. Other than the Capital Gains Tax proposal and the Carbon Tax proposal which the Senate should pass in the next week or so, no other significant tax bills are alive at this point, but we will continue to be vigilant.
-As you know, unfortunately our condo bill is dead for this session. Several members and staff had a very interesting dinner with Speaker Chopp last night. Speaker Chopp told us that some sort of reform to get affordable condos built again is an issue he would like to work with us on in the interim. He was very serious about it and recognized the “missing middle” (his words) in the housing market right now. We will take him up on that offer once this session is over.
-It appears as though the Senate will run a proclamation recognizing the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act next Monday (Feb. 26th) in the afternoon. If you are interested in coming to Olympia to be a part of that, please let us know. We are also talking to the Governor’s office about doing something similar in April (Fair Housing Month) so stay tuned for that.