This week we start off with an overview of issues to watch during the 2023 Legislative Session and transition into a one on one interview with democratic Governor Jay Inslee, now in his third term of office. We cover his $4 billion housing referendum proposal, his thoughts on roadside encampments, the Snake River Dams, and more.
Here’s a sample of the discussion:
HOST: It looks like we’re talking about more than 5,000 housing units in the initial biennium and then over 20,000, maybe 24,000 or more, over the next, I believe, eight years or the three biennium following it. Four billion dollars, a lot of money, obviously. That’s a lot of housing as well. Do you think or have you heard from any skeptics at this point about people who are concerned that we’re already spending so much money on housing in the name of trying to reduce housing expense, the cost of living, and to help people transition into homes that this… why spend more money?
INSLEE: “Well, I’m pretty confident that this proposal meets where Washingtonians are. Number one, they really believe and I believe we’re a better state than this. This is not acceptable to have this level of homelessness. People do not find it acceptable to have people camped out in our parks and our schoolyards and along our freeways. We have to take action. And this is not a self-correcting thing. If we ignore it, it’s not going to go away. And you can’t just vaporize people just keep moving them around. We’ve got to provide housing and that costs a few dollars. Now, what we know is when we do this, it works. We’re moving people into housing. We’re providing mental health, but we’re not doing it at the scale that we need to do it. We simply have to provide more housing. If we don’t have roofs, we’re going to have a homelessness problem. So this is at the scale that is necessary. It’s a reasonable proposal. And there’s a couple of things about it I think fundamentally are going to provide or to win wide acceptance. Number one, we need to do it now. Look, we can nibble on this problem for decades and we’re not going to really get to the root of the problem. We need a solution now. That’s why this bonding proposal gives us the resources to go out to build that housing now, not thirty years from now, bit by bit. Second, this money doesn’t disappear. You actually get an asset. It’s like when you buy your home, you get a mortgage, right? You borrow some money, but you get a home. You create an asset. We’re creating assets for Washingtonians that are going to be there for years for other people in the state of Washington. So I think it’s very close to where the heart of Washingtonians are. We’ve got to take action on this. It’s the right thing to do.”