Yesterday, I had the opportunity to testify at a small roundtable work session that the Washington State House Local Government Committee held in Olympia. The purpose of the work session was to discuss the Growth Management Act. Most people sitting at the table were discussing how it was working well but needed “tweaks” or “slight adjustments.” The Washington Environmental Council, Futurewise (sic), the American Planning Association, Washington State Association of Cities, WA State Association of Counties, among others were at the table. On the other side of the table were the Washington State Farm Bureau, the Washington Cattlemen’s Association, the Realtors, and the Association of Washington Business.
When public comment opened up a few hours into the event, I was able to provide testimony on behalf of the Freedom Foundation. My testimony began with the fact that the Freedom Foundation believes the Growth Management Act should be repealed because we don’t believe Washington State should be in the Central Planning business.
Representative Springer (D-45th District) helpfully made a comment that, after almost three hours of talking about how great the Growth Management Act was, the Freedom Foundation was the only organization asking for repeal of the GMA. Watch the video of our complete testimony below. I’ve also linked to the entire discussion here.
To clear the record, Representative Taylor (R- 15th District) pointed out that he had helped sponsor a bill to repeal the GMA, and the Washington State Farm Bureau reiterated that their official policy position also supported repeal. I know there are other organizations who support repeal but were not in this room. Representative Springer was a bit off, but if the pro-State Central Planning folk need someone to attack, the Freedom Foundation is happy to take point on calling for the repeal of the GMA. Sometimes you just have to stand up for property rights and call it like it is.
Dancing around ways of tweaking this troubled act is better than nothing, and we will help work to make fixes to flawed laws. However, without repeal we will continue to witness strange decisions like these recent stories covered by the Freedom Foundation:
- The Bethel School District story.
- The inability of regular people from being able to build a home in Thurston County.
- The GMA’s allowance or justification for the destruction of wildlife enhancement projects in order to “protect the environment.”
The stories are legion. Though we can only tell one story at a time, we will continue to report on the deleterious impact of the Growth Management Act and other Central Planning schemes until our elected leaders begin to wake up to the harm they inflict on regular citizens with these laws they pass.
It might also be a good idea to reach out to your elected representatives and remind them that you also believe our state would be better off without the Growth Management Act or other State Central Planning schemes inflicting their harm on our neighbors, on us, and on our future. They appear to need the reminding…