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Lawmakers: Inslee's homelessness plan unlikely to pass

Governor Jay Inslee proposed tapping into Washington state's rainy day fund to give cities and counties funding for homeless shelters.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Top lawmakers said Gov. Jay Inslee's plan to use hundreds of millions of dollars from the state's emergency budget reserve to combat Washington's homelessness crisis was unlikely to pass the Legislature.

Last month Inslee said he wants to spend more than $300 million from the state’s rainy day fund to add 2,100 shelter beds and provide other help to people without shelter.

Sen. Majority Leader Andy Billig said Thursday they applauded the governor for making the issue a priority, but added he wasn't sure there were the votes for Inslee's idea.

Inslee said he's open to other options but did not think a new tax was needed to come up with the funding. He did not want funding taken from schools or other social services to help solve the homeless crisis.

Also see | Gov. Inslee wants to tap reserve funds to address homelessness crisis

Incoming Speaker of the House, Rep. Laurie Jinkins (D-Tacoma), said the House would likely support legislation to make the temporary ban on flavored vaping products permanent.

As for proposing new taxes, Jinkins said the House has not written its supplemental budget yet.

While she said there won't be any discussion of establishing an income tax, Jinkins didn't rule out a capital gains tax on the state's top investment earners.

"I've been the prime sponsor of the capital gains tax bill for seven years, so it's not as though I don't support it," said Jinkins.

When she is sworn in as Speaker Monday, Jinkins will be the first female and first member of the LGBTQ community to hold the position in the state.

The state currently has about $2.5 billion in its emergency fund. The Legislature convenes in Olympia on Monday.

Also see | 'Move along, Tim': Gov. Inslee snubs anti-tax crusader