Governor Inslee Visits Leavenworth To Discuss Affordable Housing
Governor Jay Inslee has been touring the state, pushing for a $4 billion affordable housing bond to land on a ballot.
Inslee made a stop in Leavenworth today (02/24) to talk about the state's housing and homelessness crisis.
"It's manifested in people living in tarps in large cities. It's manifested in our rural communities for working people in Leavenworth. We particularly focus on the fact that it's just so extremely difficult for people who work to find housing in Leavenworth." Governor Inslee said.
Inslee met with the community in a town hall meeting at Leavenworth City Hall where he discussed the importance of increasing the state's housing stock.
"We have to build more housing if we're going to deal with this housing crisis," Inslee said. "People don't have a roof over their heads. And we have many people that are simply economically either homeless, or on the verge of homelessness, or have to move to the other side of the state to find a place to live and drive 100 miles to work. All of these things need remediation."
Mayor Carl Florea also attended the town hall. He says it was nice talking with folks about the affordable housing challenges Leavenworth faces as a tourism town.
"We're not on a sustainable model to be a community if we don't address the housing for the workforce," Florea said. "As jobs increase, the housing doesn't so more of them are having to come from outside the community. And it's not just our tourism. It's our hospital. It's our schools. All of them can't house the workforce."
Inslee notes the $4 billion dollar proposal that he's pitching to the state legislature is not a tax increase. It's a bond over the next six years to create thousands of homes. If the legislature approves, it would go to a ballot, and voters would have the final say on whether the state should borrow money to build new housing.
"We need large public investment. And when I say large, it's a capital L. Since I've been governor, we've been putting 50 to $100 million into housing every year, which is a significant amount, but it does not move the needle." Inslee said.
While addressing the housing issue in Leavenworth, Inslee told Mayor Florea that he would wear a lederhosen if enough Republicans in the region back the proposal.