Senate backs Wagoner’s affordable-housing bill

Tax credit would promote residential construction in  smaller cities across state

Sen. Keith Wagoner’s effort to address a shortage of affordable housing won strong bipartisan support  today from the state Senate. Senate Bill 6347 would encourage development of multi-family dwellings; Wagoner said his proposal should be especially helpful in areas along the Interstate 5 corridor, including the communities he serves in the 39th Legislative District.

The bill would promote housing development by allowing developers in cities and towns across Washington take advantage of a tax credit for new and rehabilitated multiple-unit dwellings. That incentive is now available only in cities with at least 15,000 people.

As the economy booms in areas like Wagoner’s legislative district, employers are looking for attractive places where employees can live.

“Communities like Sedro-Woolley and Sultan would benefit from this tax exemption. I have met with several groups this year all discussing the need for jobs and housing and I believe that this bill will provide for both,” said Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley.

“I’m very pleased that this sensible bipartisan approach continues to move forward,” Wagoner added. “This bill would level the playing field and provide developers with the tools necessary to bring much needed housing to many of our rural communities.

“The fact that it’s the first of my bills to win the full Senate’s approval is right in line with my priority on families and improving the quality of life in our area.”

The first-year senator also sees his bill as a way to add housing to buildings in smaller downtown areas throughout the state. Wagoner adds, “This will help re-invigorate our downtown areas and preserve historically important architecture.”

His measure would basically suspend, for two years, the population-based restriction on the property-tax exemption related to multi-family housing.

SB 6347 now moves to the House of Representatives. This year’s 60-day legislative session ends March 8.