SPOKANE, Wash. — A new house bill HB 2497 was signed into law this week by Governor Jay Inslee. The Bill is designed to give cities a new tool to finance affordable housing projects in Spokane.

The bill adds a new definition of "permanently affordable housing" to the list of uses for tax increment financing (TIF) dollars districts and other municipal financing tools that had previously been used primarily to fund infrastructure projects like bike-pedestrian bridges, sidewalks, street lighting and other capital improvements in these taxing districts.

City Council President Breaan Beggs calls the passing of the bill, "a gamechanger" because it will allow the city to use TIF dollars to fund affordable housing in places like West Central Spokane and throughout the city that are in desperate need of housing, especially among the fallout from the coronavirus. 

Housing advocates and builders joined to voice their support of the bill prior to its passing. The passing of the bill helped Beggs make true on his goal of helping preserve and increase permanently affordable housing in Washington State. 

The passing of HB 2497 comes after HB 1590 was passed earlier this week, which allowed for a small sales tax of .01 percent to generate revenue for housing and behavioral health services, which was signed on Tuesday. 

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Note: the below video discusses Washington Governor Jay Inslee issuing a statewide stay-at-home order.