Looking Back at the 2014 State Legislative Session

At the outset of the 2014 Session, our state legislators faced a difficult situation at best. The 2012 McCleary v. State of Washington decision ruled that the State had not been meeting its constitutional obligation to education and mandated an increase in education standards by 2018. The only way to achieve this goal was by increasing funding for education-related operating costs to a level of education spending Washington State has never seen . At the same time, state tax revenue had not risen to pre-recession levels. The State of Washington operates on a two-year budget cycle beginning July 1 of Continue reading

Why a Good Infrastructure is Important for Economic Development

As the state legislature nears the end of its supplemental session in Olympia, the likelihood of an agreed upon transportation package is slim (Edit: there’s no chance). There is still the possibility that the legislature will reconvene sometime this year in a special session to form a transportation package, though. But a recent report from a national transportation research group called TRIP showing deficient roads in our state are costing drivers money should be of interest to legislators across the state. The report – titled Washington State Transportation by the Numbers – estimates that the average Spokane driver loses about Continue reading

What’s Happening in Olympia?

The legislative session is nearing its end in Olympia. Here are three things happening at the State Capitol that are of interest to us and the greater Spokane community: 1. The Future of a Port District in Spokane County On Tuesday, House Bill 2547 passed in the Senate 48-1 after passing 95-2 in the House. The bill allows for the creation of port districts comprising less than entire county areas. We’ve written about the possibility of a Port District in Spokane County before, but let’s rehash: a Port District is a special purpose district with an economic development and transportation Continue reading

Spokane in Olympia Day 1: Transportation and K-12 Education Take Center Stage

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The top two issues facing the Washington State Legislature were the main topics on the first day of Greater Spokane Incorporated’s (GSI) advocacy trip to Olympia on Wednesday. This trip is in conjunction with the Greater Spokane Valley and West Plains chambers of commerce. Eighty-nine area business, education and community leaders arrived in Olympia ready for three days of advocating for the greater Spokane region, and it wasn’t long before the major topics came into focus. Transportation The biggest issue on the legislature’s to-do list is a transportation package. Governor Jay Inslee wanted one last Thanksgiving but Continue reading

GSI Leads Delegation to Olympia

The 2014 Supplemental Session in Olympia began this week, and our annual trip to our state capital begins next week. From Jan. 22 to Jan. 24, we’ll bring 89 area business, education and community leaders to Olympia to advocate on behalf of the greater Spokane region. The decisions made in Olympia impact the greater Spokane business community. Here are some things we’ll be keeping an eye on during our trip and the entire session: Will there be a transportation package? This will be the biggest newsmaker this session. The greater Spokane region is greatly impacted by whatever decision is made, Continue reading

A Spokane Business News Buffet

There’s a lot going on around here. Let’s take a look at some notables: Special Session As we mentioned last week, the state legislature convened for a special session to pass some bills aimed at keeping some incentives available for aerospace companies in the state. Legislators were also tasked with coming up with a transportation package. So what happened? The aerospace bills were passed quite easily, but not a transportation package. Governor Jay Inslee has said he wants a transportation package by the Apple Cup (which is Nov. 29 this year, for you non-football fans). We’re pushing for a number Continue reading

Special Session Begins Today in Olympia – What Does it Mean for Spokane?

Washington Governor Jay Inslee called legislators back to Olympia to begin a special session today to tackle bills that would provide more funding for aerospace education, extend tax incentives for aerospace manufacturers through 2040, and streamline the permitting process for aerospace manufacturers. Inslee also wants the legislature to produce a transportation package during the special session. What does this mean for Spokane? Let’s take it one issue at a time. Aerospace The driver of the aerospace bills is the production of the Boeing 777X. It’s best the production stays in Washington, and passing the proposed bills would help accomplish that. Continue reading

Spokane Headlines

Let’s pull together some of the headlines of the past week that might be of interest to folks around Spokane, shall we? WSU: Washington State University had a large contingent at the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association’s Life Science Innovation Northwest Conference earlier this month. Greater Spokane Incorporated was also there, as Spokane made its presence known. WBBA: At that same conference, Paw Print Genetics’ Lisa Shaffer was named one of six “women to watch” in the Life Sciences industry. The Spokesman-Review: We’ll start the bidding at $20 million for the next stage of the North Spokane Corridor project! This Continue reading

Washington Legislature Passes Budgets; What Does it Mean for Spokane?

After a regular and two special sessions, lawmakers in Olympia finalized operating and capital budgets, but could not pass a transportation package. The Legislature’s $33.6 billion operating budget passed on June 28, saving the government from shutting down on July 1. Lawmakers returned the next day to pass the state’s $3.6 billion capital budget, but were not able to pass a transportation package, perhaps because they ran out of time to thoroughly look at the costs, depending on who you ask. So, what does this mean for the Spokane region? Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. Continue reading

A “Bike to Work Week” Q&A With Meg Lindsay

It’s Bike to Work Week in Spokane, the annual celebration of two-wheel transportation and a healthy body and environment. Meg Lindsay – GSI’s Program Coordinator – recently began pedaling her Trek mountain bike and her Bianchi commuter to work. She sat down to answer a few questions: When did you start riding to work? I started riding to work in April of this year because I was looking for a way to be more environmentally friendly as well as get a little exercise. Kind of a mix of both. Have you noticed a lifestyle change? I have noticed that I Continue reading