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Auburn's 2019 Legislative Priorities
Auburn's 2019 Legislative Priorities
Posted on 06/18/2018

The City of Auburn, like most communities, faces a number of issues that impact our community negatively. What is becoming very clear, we cannot treat each issue as separate. Instead, the City is committed to continue efforts that look at solving our challenges in a comprehensive manner. Our belief is that the following problems can only be solved with an interconnected strategy for success.


State Priorities

Streamlined Sales Tax Mitigation

The Legislature recently enacted the Marketplace Fairness Act which collects sales tax from many out-of-state retailers. In anticipation of new revenue from the Marketplace Fairness Act, the Legislature indicated that it intends to discontinue the SST Mitigation program in 2019. Unfortunately, revenues from the Marketplace Fairness Act have not increased at a level that would make our community whole if the Streamlined Sales Tax Mitigation Program were discontinued.

Condo Law Reform 

Washington State’s laws regarding condominium construction create significant disincentives and impediments for builders to undertake new condominium construction projects. As a result, new condominium construction has all but ground to a complete halt. We urge Legislators and the Governor to begin to remediate these shortcomings in state law at the earliest opportunity in the 2019 legislative session.

Strengthen State Public Records Act

Strengthen the Public Records Act in response to changing technology and burdensome requests so government entities can continue to provide open and transparent services. 

Auburn Arts & Culture Center

With Auburn’s existing richly diverse community and the growing population, there is an immediate need for a community gathering site in the downtown core. Auburn’s historic post office, when transformed into a vibrant cultural hub of arts programming, will serve as the ideal gathering spot for creative place making.

SCORE Reimbursement

Jail-bed rates paid by Department of Corrections (DOC) for state prisoners: The City of Auburn will strongly support an initiative by the SCORE jail to adjust these DOC rates to more equitably reflect the market-based costs of housing such prisoners.

Fully Fund Basic Law Enforcement Academy

It is increasingly difficult to fill officer vacancies due to the low number of spots available at BLEA. It’s often several months before a spot will open to begin training. We request the state legislature fund additional slots so agencies can fill vacancies in a more timely manner. 

Tiny Houses

We encourage the State Legislature to adopt Appendix Q of the International Residential Code (IRC). There is a distinction between the Legislature enacting Appendix Q vs allowing cities to adopt Appendix Q if they so choose. If the Legislature enacts Appendix Q the provisions will become applicable to all municipalities. If the Legislature adopts the IRC and makes Appendix Q optional it means that some cities will be friendly to Tiny Houses and some cities will not be friendly to Tiny Houses. Because Tiny Houses are an important contribution to serving homeless populations, homelessness prevention, and affordable housing the Legislature should enact Appendix Q as an adopted element of the IRC.

Social Agenda Funds

The City of Auburn is a stalwart when seeking funds for social programs. The City and the government affairs team will continue to work to identify and secure funds to support affordable housing programs, homelessness support, addiction recovery, and veterans programs. 

Local Infrastructure Investments

The City of Auburn urges support for the following infrastructure initiatives:
Public Works Trust Fund Loan Program - maintain this vital program at the appropriate funding levels. 

  • SR167/SR509 Gateway Projects – the City of Auburn supports the early implementation of the Puget Sound Gateway project (SR 167/SR 509). 
  • Transportation Funding – support sustainable options for local transportation needs such as a Street Maintenance Utility, Preservation funding programs, and increased transportation funding for local/regional project needs that are not on state highways.
  • SR18/SR167 Interchange - support an evaluation and review the interchange and capacity issues to improve access and reduce the daily congestion that is occurring at this location. Consider adding needed capacity improvements to the State’s Capital plan.

Federal Priorities

Support Federal Funding for Local Programs

Auburn will continue to advocate on behalf of federal funding that allows the City to serve its citizens and provide services to those in need, provide for the public's safety and maintain its transportation infrastructure. Auburn also supports federal funding for programs operated in partnership with other local jurisdictions and tribes, including the Healthy Auburn for Life committee. Please support funding for programs including the Community Development Block Grant, Byrne Grant Funding through the Department of Justice, and Airport Improvement Funds, among others.

Please continue to fund programs that assist transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses to connect with career opportunities; provide access to quality, affordable education; reduce the tolls that the stress of war, multiple deployments, and frequent moves can take on veterans and their families.

Homelessness

The increase in homelessness has reached a state of emergency and the lack of affordable housing places a heavy burden on many in our community. Please support increased funding for federal housing assistance programs including rental assistance, Section 8 vouchers, and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing. Please also support expansion of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and programs that support affordable homeownership.

Telecommunication & Cable (FCC Rulings)

Continue to oppose the current and pending rulings by the Federal Communications Commission regarding drastically restricting local authority potentially leading to local taxpayers subsidizing private for-profit companies and creating unreasonable requirements on local agencies limited resources for processing requests without appropriate funding.

Mental Health & Substance Abuse Treatment

Too often, lack of providers or available hospital beds stand in the way of those seeking treatment. The shortage of available care leaves low income patients, in particular, at risk for waiting for care in hospital emergency rooms until an acute care hospital bed opens. Reforms included in legislation, such as the Mental Health Reform Act introduced in the 114th Congress, can help. Please support legislation to address the availability and affordability of mental health care.

Please support funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and ongoing implementation of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act passed in the 114th Congress as well as efforts to address the growing crisis of opioid addiction in our communities.

Municipal Airport

The Auburn team will continue to work with local, state and federal entities to ensure the long term viability and growth of Auburn’s airport. The government affairs team found success in partnering with the City to ensure runway lengthening can commence immediately. The government affairs team will continue to work with the FAA and key Legislators to construct a plan that allows for a final runway length that meets the long term goals of the City and region.

Support Funding Stability & Predictability

The City of Auburn works hard to provide for the needs of our residents while maintaining a balanced budget and exercising fiscal responsibility. The City relies on the stability and predictability of revenue and municipal financing options to maintain that careful balance. Please preserve essential public financing tools, like the income tax exemption for municipal bonds, and avoid any further impacts to the State and Local Tax deduction.

Invest in Transportation & Infrastructure

Auburn supports a strong partnership with the federal government and encourages Congress to fund transportation and infrastructure programs. Please support local funding priorities in any upcoming infrastructure investment package and also fully fund the transportation and transit programs included in the FAST Act.