It’s that time again.
We’re partnering with the Spokane Valley and West Plains chambers of commerce to lead a large delegation (as in more than 70 people) to Olympia to advocate on behalf of Eastern Washington.
Time to get our show on the road.
Our delegation will be in Olympia today through Friday, meeting with lots of state lawmakers throughout the trip. (Note: you can follow along on Twitter using #SpokaneInOlympia and by following @GSIpolicy and @GreaterSpokane. Also check www.YourPolicyVoice.org for updates.)
Last year’s trip produced some wins for our region, and we’re looking to come home a winner once again. It won’t be easy, because it’s not exactly classified information that the state faces a big budget crisis.
While state legislators are charged with solving a budget crisis, and Governor Gregoire proposing a half-cent sales tax increase and cuts to Local Effort Assistance (LEA), among other things, we’ve got our work cut out for us.
Even with these challenges, our delegation will remain regional, unified and focused during our time at the Capitol.
Among the items in our State Agenda is funding to continue construction on the Biomedical and Health Sciences Building at WSU Spokane. This is, of course, the building already under construction at the Riverpoint Campus that will soon hold all four years of medical education. You might recall last year, when our community received $35 million in construction funds for the building, roughly half of the needed amount. We’re back this year asking for our legislators to continue their mission of building for the future. Stay tuned.
We’ll also advocate for a transportation package that equally benefits Eastern Washington. The North Spokane Corridor is making progress, and we’ll be asking for continued funds to Keep Spokane Moving. Just think – we could soon have the needed funds to construct the freeway all the way to Interstate 90. What a huge development for our region. Funding would come from the state and federal levels of government because of advocacy efforts of many groups. We’ll keep our foot on the pedal with this project.
With the proposed cuts to LEA – which is the amount of funds the state government contributes to property-poor school districts – we’re teaming up with the area school districts to make sure this does not happen. Our schools need to be properly funded in order to be a better community. The education sector has faced too many cuts in the past few years, and more cuts would be extremely detrimental to the entire community.
As always, we’ll also advocate for pro-business policies, policies in workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance to allow for more choices, the reduction of the number of business regulations, tax incentives that benefit the economy and support job growth, and greater predictability of all permitting processes.
Our delegation is packed and not afraid of the snow. Look out Olympia. Here comes Spokane.