OLYMPIA – Legislation to give local governments new revenue options to fund affordable housing and homeless services passed today in the Washington State Senate on a 29-20 bipartisan vote.

Senate Bill 5334, sponsored by Sen. Liz Lovelett (D-Anacortes), would allow counties or cities to adopt an excise tax on the sale of lodging of short-term rentals. The revenue would be dedicated to affordable housing programs, including homeless housing assistance, temporary shelters, and other services.

“Our city and county leaders are struggling to provide housing options in their communities, and this is a smart, targeted approach to ensure that more resources are available to build and maintain workforce housing across the state,” said Lovelett, chair of the Senate Local Government, Land Use & Tribal Affairs Committee.

Under the legislation, county and city governments would be able to exempt seniors or people on a fixed income who operate a short-term rental.

“To address the housing crisis we face, we must look for creative solutions. This is another tool to address our housing gaps, especially in areas of the state where seasonal tourism drives up demand for vacation homes, which in turn reduces the availability of long-term rentals.”

The bill now moves to House of Representatives for consideration.