Governor signs two Padden bills one week after legislative session ends

SB 5058 encourages home ownership, SB 5218 provides tax exemption for mobility equipment

Gov. Jay Inslee today signed Senate Bill 5058, 4th District Sen. Mike Padden’s legislation that helps encourage home ownership in Washington by making it easier for smaller condominium buildings to be constructed.

The law created by SB 5058, which received unanimous approval by the Senate and House, exempts buildings with 12 or fewer units that are no more than two stories high from the definition of “multiunit residential building.”

Padden said the change should result in more homeownership in the state.

“Washington has one of the lower homeownership rates in the nation, and this bill would help our state address this problem,” said Padden, who noted that the bill received support from cities with limited land area.

“These smaller condominiums will still have the same building requirements that a townhouse or single-family house would have,” added Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “The reduction of additional inspections beyond requirements for a townhouse or a single-family house will reduce the cost of these condominiums, making them more affordable to more buyers.”

Senate Bill 5058 is one of several measures approved by the Legislature this year that aim to boost housing in Washington.

“There was a concentrated effort by the Legislature this year to pass bills that will help improve housing in our state,” said Padden.

SB 5058 was strongly supported by the cities of Spokane Valley and Spokane.

Governor signs bill making mobility-improving equipment more affordable

People buying motorized wheelchairs or other mobility-improving equipment will pay less thanks to Senate Bill 5218, a measure prime-sponsored by Padden that was signed by Inslee today.

The law created by SB 5218 makes such equipment tax-exempt. The Senate and House of Representatives unanimously approved the measure during the 2023 legislative session, which ended April 23.

“This law will help people with disabilities by removing the sales tax from motorized wheelchairs or other technological equipment, which will help them save money while also helping maintain their independence,” said Padden. “It can be very costly for someone to buy such equipment that they need for their daily lives, and the sales tax only adds to the high cost. This bill helps make such purchases more affordable for those who need this equipment.”

One supporter of SB 5218 is Steve Gleason, a former Gonzaga Prep, Washington State University and New Orleans Saints football player who contracted amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“Steve indicated how important this legislation would be, not only for those who have ALS or multiple sclerosis but those who need what I would call high-tech wheelchairs that can do so much and can cost $30,000 and up,” said Padden. “The sales-tax portion is a large amount of money for this equipment. Steve pointed out that if people have this equipment, they are less likely to go into hospitals and require more expensive medical care.”

The new law states that to claim the sales-tax exemption, the purchaser must provide the seller with an exemption certificate as prescribed by the state Department of Revenue. The tax exemption would apply to mobility-enhancing equipment sold or used on or after Aug. 1, 2023.

Both SB 5058 and SB 5218 take effect in late July.

CAPTION: Sen. Mike Padden joins Gov. Jay Inslee at the bill-signing ceremony for Senate Bill 5058 in Olympia. Also attending are Tricia Gullion of the Building Industry Association of Washington (left) and Spokane City Council member Betsy Wilkerson (right).