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State Legislative Agenda

The 2023 City of Tacoma State Legislative Agenda

These are the 2023 state legislative priorities for the City of Tacoma as adopted by the Tacoma City Council.

 

General Government Priorities

 

Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing, Permanent Supportive Housing, and Shelter

The City of Tacoma is working fervently to increase the availability of affordable housing, permanent supportive housing, and shelter space within the Tacoma community. We currently operate 1,140 shelter beds. By 2025-26, the City anticipates needing funding for an additional 425 shelter beds. The City has adopted an Affordable Housing Action Strategy, enacted a sales tax increase, sales tax credit, progressive land use code to increase density, worked with community partners to secure Housing Trust Fund and Rapid Acquisition Housing funds, and more. The City of Tacoma asks for the Legislature’s continued partnership on the following requests:

 

  • $1.95 million to acquire and preserve a .48 acres property for affordable housing near 13th and Tacoma Avenue, near the Main Library, hospitals, and transit. Once acquired, the City would issue an RFP to identify a nonprofit housing provider to construct a mixed-use commercial property of between 200 and 250 units for individuals making 60-80% of the area median income.
  • Ongoing funding for the partnership between WSDOT and the City of Tacoma to remove homeless encampments from right-of-way, place individuals within shelter, and undertake reclamation activities (including but not limited to abating graffiti).
  •  Increased state funding for programs supporting the acquisition, construction, and operation of shelters, permanent supportive housing, and affordable housing, such as the Housing Trust Fund, rapid acquisition funding, and more. The City is currently operating 400 temporary shelter beds, with the goal of transitioning many of these slots to permanent supportive housing as it is constructed. A statewide policy to allow and incentivize middle housing types in a manner consistent with Tacoma’s Home in Tacoma ordinance, such as pre-approved construction plans.
  • Expand the multifamily property tax exemption to allow market rate commercial and residential buildings to be converted into quality affordable housing units.
  • Rental assistance and tenant protections to continue to keep individuals housed.
    Enhance homeownership opportunities among BIPOC communities through assistance to homebuyers, modifications to existing programs to support homeownership, and reductions in legal liability for condominium developers and clarity to condominium-ize duplexes and triplexes. 
    Support for policies that provide opportunities for those on limited incomes to remain housed, including allowing senior residents to age in place.

 

Health and Safety

Behavioral Health System & Vulnerable Populations:

 
The City supports creating greater access to community-based behavioral health services to include substance use disorder treatment and dual diagnosis treatment facilities. This includes supporting build out of infrastructure, facilities and systems to support the new 988 system and associated crisis response. Additionally, the City supports funding for programs that serve our most vulnerable populations, including Housing & Essential Needs (HEN) and Aged, Blind, and Disabled (ABD) Cash Assistance Program. The City also encourages the Legislature to advance policies and funding that support a behavioral health work force. This includes reducing the barriers posed by regulations/certifications on workforce entry into behavioral and medical health fields without improperly impacting quality of care and investing in local workforce development systems to directly support upskilling and reskilling workers on behalf of behavioral healthcare providers.

 

Police Transformation & Public Safety: 

 

The City recognizes that alternative response programs are an integral component of fully meeting community and public safety needs. The City is committed to implementing alternative response programs and requests state support to help communities establish programs such as co-responder, diversion and other programs that provide options beyond law enforcement for responding to situations involving individuals suffering from behavioral health issues.

The City also supports increased funding for community court, an alternative problem-solving court program designed to address the underlining challenges leading to criminal activity through access to services. The City appreciates the work of the State to establish independent investigations of police use of force and asks that the Legislature continue efforts by establishing independent prosecutions for incidents involving fatal use-of-force and deaths occurring in police custody. Additionally, the City supports legislative solutions to address illegal street racing, including the impound or forfeiture of vehicles used in illegal street racing.

The City will monitor the Legislature’s efforts to clarify and educate around policing policies, including when officers engage in vehicular pursuits. The City will monitor proposals related to the possession of controlled substances to ensure that dual needs of community safety and honoring substance abuse as a disorder requiring treatment.

Transportation

Multimodal Transportation System

The City of Tacoma is dedicated to building out a local transportation network that supports all modes, is well maintained, and safe. As such, the City supports:

  • Increased funding to maintain and preserve local roadways and trails. The City’s Street maintenance backlog for pavement alone is approximately four times its annual budget. 
  • Policies and investments that facilitate accessible transit, bicycle, and pedestrian infrastructure. 
  • Timely delivery of projects funded in the 2022 Move Ahead Washington transportation package, including the Puyallup Avenue Complete Streets Project, HOV lanes on I-5 from 38th to Joint Base Lewis McChord, the Tacoma to Puyallup Trail, and Schuster Parkway Promenade. 

Additionally, the City requests funding for the following projects:

  • $650,000 to complete phase two of an access revision report to improve access from I-5 into the Tacoma Mall subarea, envisioned to become an urban center for housing and mixed-use development. 
  • $4 million to assist the City in applying to federal grant programs to complete Phase II of Fishing Wars Memorial Bridge replacement– a deteriorating bridge that provides access to the west side of the Port of Tacoma. 

Climate Action

Tacoma has declared a climate emergency and adopted a local climate action plan. The City asks that the state continue to take bold steps to advance transformative climate policies and funding to decarbonize the economy, including but not limited to transitioning to zero emission medium- and heavy- duty vehicles, increased funding for transitioning homes and buildings to clean energy through heat pumps, and advancing local tree canopy policies. As the state leads the nation in making this transition, the City encourages the state to recognize that historically underrepresented, underserved, and vulnerable communities that are expected to experience the first and worst impacts of climate change. The state should equitably uplift these communities by allocating state funding to ensure parity in accessing new technologies. 

Downtown Tacoma Main Library

The City requests full funding to the Library Capital Improvement Program to allow the City to receive a $2 million grant to renovate the Main Library in downtown Tacoma. Through the remodel, there will be space dedicated to in-person library services as well as four partner spaces for local non-profits to occupy. Co-locating with non-profits that offer programing and public services that are non-traditional but complementary to library spaces will increase traffic for all organizations. The total cost of the renovation is $7 million.

Equitable Fiscal Structure

The City encourages the Legislature to reform the tax code and identify revenue sources that are fair, adequate, and stable to meet the needs of state and local government. As part of this work, local jurisdictions should be allowed the option to increase property tax levies with inflation, instead of the current 1% annual growth limit. The City asks for the state to increase revenue sharing with city governments to accomplish shared objectives.

Northwest ICE Processing Center

The City supports policies that limit transfers into the Northwest ICE Processing Center (NWIPC) and any other proposals to further regulate the facility. The City also supports funding and policies to assist those within NWIPC, including providing funding to assist those within the facility to make calls to report sexual assaults. 

Cheney Stadium Improvements

The City joins communities around the state to request $24 million to improve baseball stadiums that also serve as community gathering locations. If this joint request were funded, Cheney Stadium would receive $3 million to make improvements to the stadium. These improvements are needed to meet community needs and retain minor league baseball teams. 

 

 

 

 

South Tacoma Fire Station

The City requests $2 million to replace Fire Station #7, currently located on South 56th Street. The current fire station lacks the ability to support modern firefighting activities. $2 million in state funds would be matched with $2 million in city real estate excise tax revenues to fund property acquisition, final design, and begin construction of a new fire station to serve the South Tacoma community. 

 

2023 Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) State Legislative Priorities

 

 

Tacoma Power

Carbon Reduction Policies

Washington lawmakers have indicated that they will continue to focus on legislative solutions aimed at decarbonizing Washington State’s economy. TPU will actively engage in and seek to support proposals that decarbonize the economy at reasonable costs to customers and that appropriately acknowledge and credit hydropower as a carbon-free generating resource and align with existing and emerging regional organized markets.

 

Building decarbonization policies

TPU will support reasonable policies to decarbonize the state’s residential and commercial building sector, including proposals to provide state funding for limited-income customer fuel conversion and proposals for municipal electric utilities to adopt beneficial electrification plans. Any comprehensive building decarbonization policy must be based on sound cost/benefit analysis to understand the impacts on energy capacity and reliability.

 

Support investment in zero-emission transportation infrastructure and programs that advance the development of clean fuels

 

TPU will support additional funding for zero-emission transportation infrastructure and policies that advance the development and production of clean fuels, including green electrolytic hydrogen.

 

Support equal treatment of hydropower

 

Tacoma Power customers have invested in renewable, carbon-free hydroelectric generating facilities for decades. These facilities will continue to require significant reinvestment to ensure their future safe and reliable operation. TPU will continue to advocate for consistent tax treatment or alternative approaches that support equal treatment of all renewable, carbon-free resources.

Tacoma Water

Support for infrastructure funding

Tacoma Water supports funding for maintaining and preserving critical water system infrastructure. This includes funding for the Public Works Trust Fund, state revolving loan funds, grant funding, and other state resources. Low-interest loans and grants are vital for the long-term protection of many public water systems. 

 

Tacoma Rail

Explore opportunities for infrastructure funding 

Tacoma Rail intends to pursue funding opportunities for investments in locomotive modernization, track upgrades, decarbonization projects, and other infrastructure improvements.