My video series continues: How does the big 20% tax increase on business make it harder to build more affordable housing?

Your responses to my recent survey about the homelessness problem surpassed any previous survey that I’ve included in my newsletter. It was encouraging to see people offer their experiences and ideas on how to manage what many see as an unmanageable problem facing most of our communities today.

It’s clear that the path to reducing homelessness is solvable, but a complicated one. Treatment for mental illness and substance abuse, job assistance, and holding those who break the law accountable all need to play a role.

For many, the key to ending or preventing homelessness is more affordable housing. That might be single-family homes, apartments, or structured group living. Whatever form it takes, affordable housing is critical.

Unfortunately, several of the taxes passed by the majority party last session make it more expensive and more difficult to provide affordable housing. This includes the 20-percent increase to the business and occupations tax I’ve been exploring in my video series.

You’ve seen the last three weeks how the big tax increase could cost low-income patients their health care. Today, I’m turning our discussion toward how it could discourage the creation of more affordable places to live.

I sat down recently with Don Mellott, an architect and managing owner at BCRA Design, and with Michael Fast, a home builder with MRF Construction, to get their take on how the business tax increase will negatively affect the building industry, construction jobs and benefits, and the ability to build affordable housing.

Please watch the videos and feel free to share them.


Sen. Steve O’Ban

Click on one of the questions below to watch their answers.
Look for more next week.

What is the impact of the business tax increase on
Washington’s building industry?
How will the business tax increase hurt
Washington’s ability to provide affordable housing?
How does the business tax increase snowball to create a
bigger impact than proponents said to expect?

Survey Results!

Thank you for participating in the short survey in last week’s newsletter. I was interested to know how many of my constituents have an independent doctor as their care provider and if any who have Medicare or Medicaid have yet to be turned away by an independent doctor.

Most of you who responded do not receive care from an independent doctor. Overwhelmingly, you cannot afford higher health-care expenses. And so far, more Medicare patients than Medicaid patients have been turned away by a provider. I’ll be watching to see how these numbers change once the 20-percent business tax increase is implemented.

Is your doctor an independent provider:

           Yes = 30.8%

           No = 69.2%

Have you ever been turned away by a medical provider because you are covered by Medicaid?:
           Yes = 5.8%

           No = 94.2%

Can your family’s budget afford higher health-care costs?

           Yes = 12.6%

           No =  87.4%

Have you ever been turned away by a medical provider because you were covered by Medicare?

           Yes = 22.1%

           No = 77.9%

Wanted: Pages for the 2020 Legislative Session

Did you know that the Washington State Senate has a very highly regarded page program? Do you know someone age 14 to 16 who would like to see firsthand how the Legislature works?

Pages are sponsored by Legislators such as myself to serve for one week. It is a wonderful educational opportunity.

For more information, click here.