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Cities, counties now can boost affordable housing with real estate excise tax money

Beginning later this year, cities and counties now can set aside some real estate excise tax money for affordable housing projects.
Beginning later this year, cities and counties now can set aside some real estate excise tax money for affordable housing projects. AP

Gov. Jay Inslee on Friday signed a bill into law that gives cities and counties the authority to use local real estate excise taxes for affordable housing in addition to projects to combat homelessness.

The governor, however, vetoed the section of the bill that outlined its goals, saying he was concerned that some could imply that the use of REET is “sufficient for every community to develop affordable housing and prevent people from entering homelessness.”

He added that “much more works needs to done” and listed “zoning and permitting, infrastructure development fees, tax incentives for affordable housing development and innovative approaches to increase density, improve efficiency and reduce costs.”

HB 1219, sponsored by Rep. Amy Walen, D-Kirkland, takes effect 90 days after the April 28 regular session ends.

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