NAIOPWA is the leading local commercial real estate development association thanks to the power of our members who represent top area firms and lead in progressive approaches to development that preserve business continuity.  Our very engaged Government Affairs Committee has led on significant successes in negotiating risk, building trusted relationships and working with elected and appointed leaders across the political slate to ensure an industry voice in the creation of public policy. 

2020 Successes

  • Early return to work for commercial real estate under the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, from construction workers to developers, as a result of tireless efforts of GA committee and state lobbyist with Gov. Jay Inslee’s office.
  • Appropriate rescheduling of challenging, costly new regulations that became untenable in a long-term “work from home” environment, including state building & construction code updates and energy efficiency standards for large commercial buildings.
  • Successfully restarted the Seattle design review process via new emergency legislation after it was halted in March due to COVID; Working with SDCI and the Council to adopt online design review this fall.
  • Worked with a broad coalition of NAIOP members and developers to join a SEPA appeal of Seattle’s proposed transportation impact fees last year, which prevailed. Similar impact fees will likely be proposed again this year.
  • Delay of Seattle and Bellevue building code changes to align with a broader delay in the state building code adoption (now anticipated in February 2021).
  • Reduced City of Bellevue parking fee requirements for multifamily buildings.
  • Expedited voluntary cleanup process created in partnership with the state Dept. of Ecology which can reduce the process by 14 months or longer, a major benefit for our members.
  • Working with NAIOP members to expand the City of Bellevue’s MFTE program.

The number and complexity of issues facing the commercial real estate industry—at state and local levels—only continue to increase. The addition of the sudden, major impact of a global pandemic to issues that were already simmering for our industry have created multiple funding “emergencies” driving extremely rapid decisions and policy-making, from slicing police budgets to adding taxes. Over the next 12 to 18 months, we can expect renewed and energetic challenges further affecting the business climate.

2021 Statewide Issues

The impact of COVID-19 on state tax collections is approaching $9 billion in expected reduced revenues. The focus of the 2021 legislature will be on stabilizing the budget. Several legislators are advocating for approaches to the budget that reject cuts to existing programs and focus on raising additional revenue to pay for state services. At a minimum we can expect the following issues to be considered:

  • Split Roll Property Tax
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Graduated Income Tax
  • Payroll/High Earners Tax
  • Estate Taxes
  • Sales Tax on Services
  • Rent Control
  • MFTE Reforms
  • Transportation Package

Proposals on rent control, MFTE reform, and transportation, as well as implementation of energy efficiency legislation, are also anticipated.  In support of our priorities, NAIOPWA continues to support the Partnership for Affordable Housing, a coalition that specifically looks at rent control's unintended consequences in other cities and how it could affect housing availability and affordability here.

2021 Local/Regional Issues

Locally, Seattle’s continued civic and political upheavals threaten businesses, tourism, retail, and our historic city core districts. It’s unclear whether voters are headed toward a breaking point on civil unrest and increased taxes.

As such, it is also critical to maintain a business-friendly environment in Bellevue and the Eastside, especially as Bellevue continues to be a powerful long-term office market.

In 2021, NAIOPWA will need to engage:

  • If there’s an appeal of SEPA Transportation Impact Fees,
  • Tacoma Impact Fees
  • A legal challenge to the jobs tax (aka “high earners tax”) is initiated,
  • The Seattle’s Mayor and City-wide council seat elections,
  • The King County’s Executive and several County Council elections, and
  • Several Bellevue City Council elections.

We Need Your Help – Make a Financial Pledge Today

The success of the CRE community depends on creating a well of financial resources and advocacy. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone in commercial real estate in profound ways. NAIOPWA also faces a budget crisis. Membership and engagement remain relatively strong, but unlike our experiences in past recessions, for the first time ever, our in-person meetings and events are almost completely curtailed.

Revenue from these events have, over the years, funded for our successful government affairs agenda—everything from issues funding, state and local lobbyists, to creating and supporting pro-business coalitions.  NAIOPWA will not be able to continue to engage effectively in public policy development on behalf our members without a fundraising effort. In an environment of down revenue and tax-focused politicians, the CRE community cannot afford to be unprepared in 2021.

Will you consider joining with NAIOPWA by making a contribution to prepare for the massive tax increases that will target our industry? Contributions can be made online through the NAIOPWA website or simply email [email protected], with your contribution amount. NAIOP will then provide an invoice.

If you would like to get involved in NAIOPWA's Government Affairs efforts, click here to learn more.


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NAIOPWA 2021 Government Affairs Contributor

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