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Gov. Inslee's State of the State Covers WA's 'Multifaceted' Challenges

  • Written by Eric Tegethoff

Washington News Service: Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his State of the State speech on Tuesday to open up the 2023 legislative session, touching on a wide range of issues he wants to see lawmakers address.

After two years of virtual addresses, Inslee delivered his State of the State in person to the Legislature.

The Executive Director of the Washington State Budget and Policy Center Misha Wershkul said families have a number of concerns on their plates as lawmakers meet in Olympia.

"The challenges are multifaceted and layered," said Wershkul. "He spoke about housing and behavioral health, climate change. All of those are incredibly important areas that are impacting all of our everyday lives."

The legislative session lasts 105 days and began on Monday.

Among the biggest proposals Inslee introduced was a $4 billion referendum that would increase the speed of housing construction to address the affordability crisis.

Inslee noted the state's Housing Trust Fund is an important tool to boost supply, but isn't enough money for the current scale of the shortage.

Werschkul said the referendum is a bold policy measure.

"What he's talking about is really something much bigger," said Wershkul, "something in the billions of dollars, something that requires a public vote - that is going to have a real impact."

The governor praised lawmakers for passing the Working Families Tax Credit, which will send as much as $1,200 to more than 400,000 Washington families starting next month.

Werschkul said she also sees the policy as an accomplishment for the state and hopes lawmakers will expand eligibility for the program this session.

"So that younger adults and older adults can actually access that as well," said Wershkul, "and can make sure that the program really works as intended to get people the money that they're eligible for."

The session is scheduled to end on April 29.