Rep. Bill Jenkin: We should never have to endure constant new tax, regulatory and financial burdens

Our values and principles are what set the foundation for how we live our lives. This session, my caucus has come up with three key principles that are in line with so many of our core values.

There are buzz words that float around the Legislature referencing “One Washington” and “Putting People First.”

However, under the one-party control in Olympia, the facts show that many parts of Washington state, including the 16th District, have become unsafe, unaffordable and unaccountable.

It’s time we expect more.

Washington state is our home. We should always feel safe in our homes and communities. We should never have to endure constant new tax, regulatory and financial burdens that make our homes unaffordable. And, we should expect the governor and the Legislature to be held accountable for their decisions, actions, and results.

During the 2020 session, a priority and focus of mine will surround the “affordability” component of the House Republican caucus agenda of: safe, affordable, and accountable.

As the ranking Republican on the House Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee, affordable housing, and the lack of actual homes and structures, is my number one priority. It is imperative we do more to increase our supply by lifting the regulatory and environment restrictions. We must do more to find solutions and support more public-private partnerships to influence a greater supply.

The majority party’s focus seems to be more on the rental market. Where I agree there is more we can do to keep current housing options affordable, and keep people in their homes, the means in which to do this is where the disagreement lies.

Recently, the House Civil Rights and Judiciary Committee heard several bills to increase the regulatory burdens on property owners and their abilities to provide housing to tenants.

Last session, there were a couple bad bills passed in the property owner-tenant arena. Now, we’re seeing new policies that will take Washington state one step closer to implementing rent control. This isn’t the answer to keeping people in their homes, or keeping peoples options more affordable.

These bills include:

  • House Bill 2453 which would allow tenants to force a property owner to extend an expiring lease, even if the property owner does not want to renew.
  • House Bill 2520 which would impose new security deposit regulations and paperwork.
  • House Bill 2779 which would implement controls on rent.

We need to work together to find solutions that don’t punish the property owner who is trying to provide good housing options for their tenants. We need to find a better balance.

This is especially true in the 16th District. Our communities aren’t like Seattle, and what works there doesn’t work here. These types of regulations don’t work in our part of the state where the cost of living is lower.

There is potential light in this dark tunnel. Solutions authored by my colleague, and fellow member on the House Housing, Community Development and Veterans Committee, Rep. Andrew Barkis of Olympia, seek to help ease many regulatory burdens. The policies he’s introduced include:

  • House Bill 2452 which would reduce the real estate excise tax (REET) for multiple-use housing.
  • House Bill 2672 which would limit areas of more intensive rural development.
  • House Bill 2673 which could create exemptions for infill development under the state Environmental Policy Act.
  • House Bill 2687 which plans for affordable housing under the Growth Management Act.

I will continue to stand up for good, common-sense solutions that actually make a difference to this crisis. I will fight against any policy that does not bring equal reform.

If you have any concerns about any of these bills, or any policy before the Legislature, please contact my office at (360) 786-7836.

It is an honor to serve you.

As published in the Dayton Chronicle and Prosser Record-Bulletin
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Rep. Bill Jenkin, R-Prosser, serves the 16th Legislative District.)

State Representative Bill Jenkin, 16th Legislative District
470 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7836 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000