We are back from Olympia, and back from the winter storm.
Despite Olympia getting a record snowfall (more than 14 inches!), more than 60 members of our delegation traveled to Olympia to meet with our regional representatives from the 3rd, 4th, 6th, and 9th legislative districts, plus Governor Christine Gregoire. All of our regional representatives met with us or with members in our delegation.
We planned sessions with key legislative representatives to discuss issues in economic development, transportation, budget and capital budget. It is still too early to forecast what is yet to happen with the state budget. Marty Brown, the Director of the Office of Financial Management, informed our delegation that state legislators are waiting for the Washington State Caseload Forecast Council to forecast the entitlement caseloads for the State of Washington. Once the Council adopts the official forecast, it becomes the basis of the Governor’s budget document and utilized by the legislature.
Once the forecast is made, representatives will be hard at work crafting a balanced budget. Our regional leaders will also be hard at work with our legislative priorities listed in our state agenda. GSI’s top priorities include acquiring the remaining funds for the Biomedical and Health Sciences Building and the funds needed to continue the construction of the North Spokane Corridor (NSC) from Francis to Interstate 90. Construction of the NSC continues, with both south and northbound lanes from Farwell to Francis (6 miles) already completed.
Construction of the Biomedical and Health Sciences Building has already begun! Once completed the Biomedical and Health Sciences Building will include research and teaching labs, classrooms, and administrative and faculty offices for health sciences.
GSI will continue to assist its partners to achieve the region’s long – term priorities. This legislative session, we will continue our partnership with Association of Washington Businesses (AWB), the state chamber of commerce. GSI will assist AWB in advocating for improvements to the businesses climate in our state, and be a part of the 2011-2012 Legislative Agenda for Local Chambers of Commerce across Washington State. As a partner, GSI will work in a collaborative effort to support tax reform through simplification and streamlining and will encourage state legislators to support economic recovery through job creation before looking for new revenue sources to fill the current budget deficit.
GSI will continue to be your business voice in Olympia this legislative session by promoting policies that will preserve and create jobs, enhance education, and improve transportation in our region.