A fix for the Hirst decision and passage of the capital budget are wins for our community

Greater Spokane Incorporated CEO Todd Mielke sent the following message to members this afternoon:

Business, civic, and education leaders from throughout the Spokane region attending the 2018 Olympia Fly-In had reason to celebrate at the end of their visit. Many items on GSI’s 2018 State Legislative Priority Agenda were approved by the legislature as our team headed back to Spokane.

Each year, our State Legislative Priority Agenda highlights key issues our business community wishes to accomplish. Some items are easy, while others have a longer life-cycle to them.

During our visit to Olympia, both a fix for the Hirst decision and the capital budget were passed and signed by Gov. Jay Inslee. You can read a full recap of our time in Olympia on the GSI website.

This $4.17 billion capital budget prioritizes K-12 school construction, with $933 million allocated for the School Construction Assistance Program. Other key items supporting the Spokane region in the capital budget include:

  • At least $60 million for EWU’s Interdisciplinary Science Center
  • Construction of the Plant Sciences and Global Animal Health buildings at WSU in Pullman
  • South Wing of the Main Building at Spokane Community College
  • Mount Spokane facility upgrades
  • Funds to support a Spokane dental residency program
  • Amenities for the Appleway Trail
  • YWCA Family Justice Center
  • Sufficient capital funding for additional classrooms

While proponents say that this isn’t a full solution for the Hirst decision, it is a true fix for our region’s farmers and landowners. This bill includes the Department of Ecology serving as the state’s resource manager, 3,000 gallons per day per connection for domestic wells, and additional verbiage regarding wells without watershed planning.

Another important topic discussed during our visit to Olympia focused on Career Technical Education (CTE), which Inslee mentioned in this year’s State of the State Address. Both political parties in the state legislature agree on the importance of CTE as a career pathway.

From here, our efforts will include opposing any new legislation that increases taxes on business, undermines incentives for businesses in border communities, or creates unpredictability in business planning. We will continue to advocate for items that support the work of our education, civic, and organizational partners.

This spring, our business community will travel to Washington, D.C. to advocate on behalf of our region. The entirety of our 2018 State Legislative Priority Agenda can be found on our website, along with last year’s Federal Legislative Priority Agenda. We will share our 2018 Federal Agenda in the weeks leading up to our advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C.

Thank you for your continued support and investment in GSI, and our region’s business climate. We are excited about these developments, and look forward to share more with you as the legislature continues its session this year.


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