More Jobs for Washington Workers

GOVERNOR GARY LOCKE KNOWS REAL economic development means something very concrete to most Washington citizens–good jobs.

That’s why the Governor continues to pursue a seven-point plan to create more private-sector jobs today and in the future. The plan is critical as Washington digs its way out of a recession and sheds one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. Governor Locke knows Washington’s recovery will depend on putting people to work, and he is determined to use every tool at his disposal to create jobs with good wages and benefits now and for years to come.

Creating Private-Sector Jobs Now

“We must continue to invest in our state’s competitiveness and create jobs for Washington workers.” Governor Gary Locke

The Governor’s plan supports thousands of private-sector jobs now and at the same time pays for construction required to accommodate our growing population. The new construction-related jobs would be found across the state, from the University of Washington in Seattle to Washington State University in Pullman. At a time of historically low-interest rates, the Governor is urging the 2003 Legislature to quickly pass a public works plan that supports $2.5 billion in new public works funding including:

  • An annual average of 13,400 construction and related jobs over the next two fiscal years, and 11,000 jobs in the following two fiscal years.
  • $535 million in new construction on college campuses, including state universities and community and technical colleges, to create space for an expected 30,000 additional students.
  • Funding would come partly by bonding against lottery revenue, and includes $238 million in projects that could not be funded without lottery bonding.
  • State matching funds for public school construction, totaling $374 million of state funding for new schools.
  • 876 high-security prison beds at Walla Walla and 100 intensive management units for problem prisoners. Additional construction funding is provided for adequate juvenile, mental health and developmental disabilities facilities, and low-cost community housing for veterans, homeless children and migrant workers. Project funding totals $306 million.

Increasing International Trade and Tourism

Washington has wonderful deep-water ports and is one day closer to Asia than other West Coast ports. Governor Locke’s trade accomplishments range from expanded apple sales to Mexico to sales of Boeing airplanes to China and growing interest by Singapore in investing in Washington biotechnology companies.

But the Governor knows that we must continue to capitalize on and protect our competitive advantage in trade, and the thousands of jobs it creates by:

  • Continuing our successful record of trade missions to promote Washington exports.
  • Encouraging investment in Washington by overseas companies looking for a U.S. location and promoting Washington companies as their partners in the U.S.
  • Working to make sure our products are not unfairly excluded from other countries due to unreasonable regulations.
  • Putting greater emphasis on foreign tourists in our tourism promotion programs to encourage the overseas purchase of Washington products and to promote investment in Washington.

Improving the Climate for New Jobs

The Governor knows much more can be done to make Washington a better place to do business, his recent successes notwithstanding. In the past 12 months, aggressive state government involvement helped Washington attract five national retail chains to open or break ground for regional facilities. They include The Home Depot, Target, Wal-Mart, Safeway and Ferguson Enterprises.

The Governor knows more successes will follow, and he believes this is not the year to burden citizens and businesses with a general tax increase. He proposes to:

  • Provide greater certainty to business with respect to municipal business and occupation taxes.
  • Simplify permitting and other regulatory procedures all over state government.
  • Develop rapid-response teams for important development projects to make sure that timely state, federal, and local permitting take place together.
  • Continue to integrate services to small business and provide Internet access to even more government services.
  • Push to reform unemployment insurance taxation so companies pay only their fair share.
  • Provide more investment capital to Washington companies through the State Investment Board.

Giving Local Communities Tools to Nurture Job-Growth

The Governor wants to increase funding for infrastructure such as sewers, roads and telecommunications in rural communities, helping those communities attract new industry as the recession eases. The Governor proposes to:

  • Allow communities to “pay as they grow” by using tax revenues generated as a result of economic development to pay for infrastructure required to attract yet more private investment.
  • Ensure the availability of water for growing communities by helping local planners implement watershed strategies, helping utilities make changes to their existing water rights and making it easier to set water rights in trusts.
  • Engage the Economic Development Commission to find better economic development tools in every Washington community.

Promoting Washington’s Emerging Technology Strengths

In creating more jobs for the future, there is no richer opportunity than in emerging industries. For example, Washington supports development of new technologies like Translation Technologies, Inc., of Spokane.

TTI developed software to enable different kinds of design software to talk to each other–a money saver for manufacturers. TTI succeeded with critical help from the state-funded Spokane Intercollegiate Research and Technology Institute (SIRTI).

Today, TTI is expanding its payroll as it adds new products to make manufacturers more efficient and able to hire more workers, too. The Governor is pursuing ways to encourage the development of more emerging industries with the potential to be the next growth sector for Washington. They include:

  • Clean energy - We are a partner in the Northwest Energy Technology Collaborative, which will promote Washington’s clean energy industry, a potential multibillion industry.
  • Bio-information - We are providing seed funding to coordinate the efforts of private sector and university partnerships that will mine the intersection of biotechnology and information technology.
  • Value-added agriculture - We are supporting efforts to develop technologies for converting agricultural waste into valuable materials otherwise made from petroleum and chemicals.

Improving Higher Education to Create Jobs

Governor Locke believes higher education and business should work together to meet current and future job demand through training and retraining. He proposes:

  • Funding of $20 million in higher education funding to expand enrollment at our colleges and universities by more than 1,500 students. This new enrollment would be dedicated exclusively to such high-demand fields as engineering, computer science and health care.
  • Continued funding to retrain more than 7,200 unemployed workers.
  • Increased capacity at our universities by raising the debt limit so that university building programs can be accelerated.

Leveraging National Efforts to Create Jobs

As chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, Governor Locke is leading the association’s call for a federal economic stimulus package to spur growth and create millions of new jobs. The package should include:

  • Temporary tax relief that spurs consumer spending without hurting the state’s revenue.
  • Investments in critical infrastructure that create immediate jobs.
  • Extension of temporary federal unemployment benefits to eligible jobless workers and help supplement low-income seniors.
  • Short-term state fiscal assistance that will help to ensure a full national economic recovery.

Governor Locke’s 7-point Plan:

  • Build a better future through construction of new schools and higher education facilities, and create thousands of new construction-related jobs at the same time.
  • Capitalize on our competitive advantage in international trade.
  • Promote our businesses and improve the climate for new business.
  • Give our communities better tools to build Washington businesses.
  • Promote Washington’s emerging technology strengths.
  • Improve higher education to create and fill skilled jobs demanded by the marketplace.
  • Push Congress and the President for an economic stimulus package that helps everyday citizens.

Sheila Martin, Governor’s Executive Policy Office
Phone: (360) 902-0675
Fax: (360) 586-8380

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