Jobs and the Economy
Offering what they say is a well-rounded, sustainable strategy for putting people to work now while helping to spur job growth in emerging sectors, Senate Democrats have unveiled their key job-creation proposals of the 2010 legislative session.
“Our aim is to put people to work and create jobs,” said Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane. “Our strategy is like a bull’s eye, putting the existing jobs and businesses that are essential to our recovery at the center, and rippling steadily outward toward the jobs of the future that are the key to our competitiveness over the long term.”
The strategy put forward by Brown, Sen. Claudia Kauffman, D-Kent, Sen. Chris Marr, D-Spokane, Sen. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, Sen. Phil Rockefeller, D-Kitsap County, and Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, contains five key elements, including:
Helping small businesses stay in business:
- Senate Bill 6667 Small business assistance, training and development
- SB 6669 Small Business Development Center assistance for start-ups
- SB 5899 Providing small business tax credits for job creation
Putting people to work through local infrastructure projects:
- 2009-11 Transportation budget/2010 supplemental
- SB 6609 Community revitalization financing
Retraining 6,000 workers for existing, unfilled high-demand jobs:
- 2009-11 Operating budget/2010 supplemental
Building on Washington's success creating Green Jobs:
Attracting entrepreneurs for the innovation economy:
“This package builds upon our strengths as a state, and seeks to put us in better position as we move out of this recession,” said Brown, noting that Washington is ranked
- the best state in the nation to start a business, according to U.S. News & World Report.
- the second-best business climate in the nation, according to Forbes.
- the second-best state in the nation for innovation and growth potential, according to the Kauffman Foundation.
- the fifth-best state in the nation for small business survival, according to the Small Business and Entrepreneur Council.
Senate Democrats also said this year’s package is continuous with a number of initiatives from the previous year, including:
- the 2009-11 transportation budget (SB 5352) – the largest in state history – authorizing new transportation projects around the state that, in total, are currently creating as many as 49,000 jobs;
- “Community Revitalization” legislation (SB 5045), allowing local governments to let growth pay for growth by bonding against private sector development to pay for public sector development of roads, sewers and wastewater treatment facilities;
- “Green Jobs” legislation (SB 5649), providing residential energy audits and retrofits for 20,000 homes and buildings across the state, and an estimated 8,000 living-wage jobs for skilled workers, apprentices, veterans and disadvantaged populations; and
- “Working Retraining” legislation (SB 5809), helping 3,000 to 6,000 individuals get the skills they need for existing, unfilled jobs in high-demand fields.
Senate Democrats were joined by Dusty Hoerler of Sustainable Works (a non-profit group providing 4,800 of the kind of residential energy audits and retrofits made possible by last year’s SB 5649); Dave Johnson of the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council; Dr. Vijay K. Mathur of G.R. International (a small business in Federal Way); and Ernie Bushong of Grays Harbor College and Rita Hardin of Olympic College (students attending the kind of retraining programs made possible by last year’s SB 5809).