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Gov. Inslee issues grave warning over homelessness

Gov. Jay Inslee says the Legislature needs to figure something out this year to fully fund public education, otherwise there could be dire consequences. (AP)

If a Republican takes over the Governor’s office the homeless will suffer, according to Democratic Governor Jay Inslee.

“We cannot allow the Republican Party to cut money for homelessness programs. We cannot allow that. And the day before yesterday, Bill said he wasn’t even aware of the way we fund homelessness programs,” Inslee said.

Inslee, who is fighting to remain in office, gave the warning yesterday during the Asian American and Pacific Islander Democracy Summit in Tacoma. It followed a warning from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant.

Related: We need results before you get more money for Seattle’s homeless

KIRO 7 reports Inslee was referring to the answer Bryant gave on Tuesday in Renton, when Bryant was asked about extending the real estate recording fee that goes to homeless programs.

“While I’ve worked a great deal on homeless, I have not been that well apprised on how the funding for city programs comes about,” Bryant responded then.

He later explained that he didn’t understand all the issues around the sunset of that provision.

Bryant said he’s “going to announce a zero tolerance for people living in boxes and tents on state land and give local law enforcement the jurisdiction to remove these camps.”

Bryant says the state needs to use its money more effectively.

“We need to go back and look at how the money is spent to ensure that we’re spending it in ways that help people who are homeless,” he said.

Ditto for Republican Senator Mark Miloscia. Miloscia is running for state auditor. He announced plans to push a bill during the next legislative session that would tell Seattle and other city governments that they need to clear trespassers from illegal encampments, or lose state funding.

Inslee’s campaign points to a list of programs and money he’s secured to fight homelessness. And Democratic State Auditor candidate Pat McCarthy said in a statement that it is “disingenuous to think a performance audit alone can solve this crisis.”

The debate over homelessness just adds to the back-and-forth blame game of the governors race. Bryant recently latched on to fears of some who believe Inslee wants an income tax; a claim that has been called “mostly false.” That followed Inslee’s attack on Bryant, accusing him of supporting Donald Trump. That basically ended with Bryant saying he won’t be voting for his party’s presidential candidate.

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