Master Builder

June 2016

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T he special legislative session called by Governor Inslee last spring ended on March 29 after 20 days, during which the divided House and Senate finally negotiated a supplemental budget that makes adjustments to last year's $38.2 billion two-year operating budget. This was the seventh special session in the last three years — largely resulting from philosophical differences in spending priorities between the parties. In the end, House Democrats and the Governor did not get tax increases originally demanded but did get additional spending through a transfer of funds from the Public Works Assistance Account (meant for local government stormwater and bridge construction) as well as reductions from previously approved expenditures for performance audits of state agencies. These new dollars went largely into the state's mental health system as well as toward increasing funding for homeless youth services. What did not get accomplished in 2016 is increased funding for K-12 education, where the state has been held in contempt by the Supreme Court for not meeting its constitutional mandate to adequately fund basic education. This holdover issue is anticipated to cost several billions of dollars 2016 Legislative Sessions MBA Legislative Update BY DAVID DUCHARME MASTER BUILDERS ASSOCIATION LOBBYIST EASTSIDE COMMERCIAL BANK, DUCHARME & ASSOCIATES, INC. going into next year and will likely result in a fight for new revenues (taxes). With revenues estimated to dip for the 2017-2019 budget cycle, don't be surprised to see the legislature in special session again next year. HOW DID THE MBA FARE? Bills with any significant level of controversy did not pass the divided legislature. This affected the MBA as much as anything in that several of our key priorities were lost in conflict. Some of those high-level issues included bills on vested development rights, buildable lands reports, independent contractors and reforms within the State Building Codes Council. While disappointing to some degree, we did make progress educating legislators on these issues and will continue to address them strategically between now and the 2017 session. As they say, "What's good for the goose is good for the gander." In that respect, no bills opposed by the MBA passed either. Some of those bills included: • HB 1802 Financing local government long-range planning costs through increased building permit fees • HB 2395 Condominium conversion fees to finance affordable housing • HB 2397 Housing demolition fees to support affordable housing • HB 2442 Creating affordable housing incentive zones using property tax exemptions • HB 2586 Allowing school siting outside Urban Growth Areas • SB 6337 Giving cities first priority on tax foreclosed properties for affordable housing WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? The special session was not a total loss, as the legislature voted to override 27 bills vetoed by the Governor out of his frustration that a budget compromise was not reached during the regular session. This included SB 6284, which will prevent water-sewer districts from requiring duplicative multi-purpose fire sprinkler systems. SB 6284 will save builders and homebuyers significant costs by eliminating this unnecessary requirement imposed by a handful of greedy special purpose districts. Moving forward, the MBA government affairs team will continue to work on our legislative agenda during the interim period prior to next session. This will include ramping up our Primary Contacts Program where MBA members and staff meet with legislators to gain support for priority legislative issues, including vesting and buildable lands among others. In addition, as the November elections will see all 98 seats in the House of Representatives and half of the Senate seats up for a vote, we will be handicapping all races in King and Snohomish counties and making recommendations for endorsements and financial support for those candidates that support MBA issues and goals. As always, your participation in the Primary Contacts Program and input in legislative issues is extremely valuable, and we encourage your participation. government advocacy 41 06.16 master builder

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