Ed Murray’s success in the recent mayoral election will affect housing policy in Seattle, but it’s unclear how.

I’ve put together a quick summary of his voting record on issues that affect housing to help provide some insight into what he might support and what he may prioritize.

There are a number of bills he’s voted on that have affected housing directly or indirectly.

Passed legislation:

Murray voted Yea on House Bill 2075: Modifying the estate tax

Murray voted Yea on SB 6381: Requiring mortgage brokers to “act in the borrower’s best interest and in the utmost good faith”

Murray voted Yea on, and co-sponsored, SB 6272: Funding to increase financial literacy for homeowners

Murray voted Nay on HB 2416: Changing property tax law from allowing increases up to 6% to only allowing increases up to 1%. This was originally an initiative.

Murray voted Yea on SB 6178: Allowing 50% deferral of property taxes for individuals making $56,000 or less per year

Murray voted Yea on SB 6143 (Tax Law Amendments): Increasing allowed tax deductions for costs associated with first-time mortgages and adding an additional .3% tax on real estate brokers

Pending Legislation:

Senate Bill 2985: Creating an office to examine compensation for homeowners in disputes with contractors/builders. It establishes a registration fee for builders and contractors that will be used to pay for the office that supervises disputes.

In general, I would describe Ed Murray’s votes in the legislature as that of a mainstream liberal. Unfortunately, this research didn’t include an examination of budgetary legislation, which might include spending that affects housing.

The Good:

Yep, Ed Murray is not a Republican. He clearly believes in taxes, as he voted for a number of tax increases. He’s also voted on issues that help leverage the power of the government to solve real problems. The bills to help homeowners during the housing crisis show good intentions. More importantly though, the bill that would put an agency to work streamlining disputes between homeowners and builder/contractors shows a practical government solution for solving a complicated real-world problem. Unfortunately, I don’t have the research available to talk about any of the positive or negative repercussions of the legislation.

The Bad:

Ed Murray was elected to be mayor of the largest urban area in Washington. The state as a whole has just under 7 million residents, and nearly 4 million of those live in the Seattle metro area. I found it discouraging that there weren’t good examples of legislation addressing urban housing issues — that is, housing issues not related to single-family homeownership. Yes, Seattle has many single-family homeowners and his legislation endears himself to some of these people. Still, I’m left asking what legislation has he supported that addresses problems faced by renters, the homeless, developers, urban commuters and many other demographics related to housing in an urban environment?

Conclusion:

It’s possible that I’m not giving him enough credit. It’s not clear to me if he has supported funding in the general budget for addressing urban housing issues. Additionally, as his focus narrows to the city of Seattle these issues may become his priority. I hope his pledge to be a mayor of all Seattle is not euphemism but in fact he acts to support solutions for everyone, including the marginalized. In sum, I have a positive outlook and eagerly await seeing his approach to addressing housing issues.