Tharinger looks at problems coming down the road

Rep. Steve Tharinger

Rep. Steve Tharinger

OLYMPIA — State 24th District Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Sequim, breathed a sigh of relief Friday following the passage of the capital budget Thursday but said he’s aware of problems still in the pipeline.

Tharinger, who chairs the House Capital Budget Committee, said it had been a “long hike” but was glad that Gov. Jay Inslee signed the $4.2 billion package Friday.

Tharinger represents the 24th District with Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim, and Rep. Mike Chapman. The 24th District covers all of Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County.

The capital budget’s passage Thursday was one date late for Washington’s application for federal low-income housing tax credits from the state Housing Finance Commission.

Without the capital budget putting $106 million into the Housing Trust Fund before the Jan. 17 deadline, projects aimed at the lowest income persons — the homeless and disabled veterans — won’t meet the tax credit criteria, according to Housing Finance Commission staff.

“We need the state dollars,” Tharinger said.

Tharinger said the tax credits will likely become available for “mid-level” projects benefiting moderate income families because the deadline was missed.

As the capital budget was coming up for a vote, Tharinger said he was in touch with the Housing Trust Fund officials by phone.

“We’re hoping they’ll be able to deliver on some other projects so we can get the credits to those who need them,” he said.

His committee is expected to work on a supplemental budget this term to address this kind of problem, Tharinger said.

That supplemental budget might include funding for what Tharinger estimated are “tens of millions” in costs that occurred because the capital budget was passed in January instead of during the last legislative term in July.

Some school districts that were waiting for funding had to use capital reserves or borrow money to get projects started, said Tharinger. The supplemental budget could help districts pay for the interest expense of borrowing.


Assistant Managing Editor Mark Swanson can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55450, or

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