Sheldon pleased low-income housing tax exemption earns Senate approval

Bill promotes economic growth and job opportunities in rural counties

Today the state Senate approved a measure that prime sponsor Sen. Tim Sheldon described as “good for economic growth, housing, and the environment.” Senate Bill 6330 would offer an affordable-housing tax exemption to five rural counties.

“The idea for this bill came from my fellow Mason County commissioner Terri Jeffreys in an effort to promote development in unincorporated areas like Belfair, which is located in the 35th District,” explained Sheldon, who has served as a Mason County commissioner since 2005 in addition to serving in the state Senate.

Sheldon says the measure would benefit five counties in Washington – Mason, Jefferson, San Juan, Ferry, and Wahkiakum – that meet the definition of a rural county and have only one incorporated city, in addition to having a sewer system and an urban growth area within an unincorporated area of the county.

“A tax credit for low-income housing is not available for individuals who would like to build in unincorporated urban-growth areas served by a sewer,” said Sheldon, D-Potlatch. “The bill proposes a tax credit that is already offered in counties and cities in Washington with populations of more than 350,000.

“This would give people the opportunity to live in the same area as where they work; there is a tremendous need for new affordable housing in Mason County. It also would promote growth in rural areas where new businesses have been established but lack low-income housing, which prevents available workers from moving to the area.”

This is Sheldon’s sixth bill to earn the Senate’s approval this year. SB 6330, approved with a 44-5 vote, now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.