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Office of Governor Gary Locke
Contact:  Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136

Locke proposes two new agencies to spur development, trade

OLYMPIA — In a move to bolster economic vitality for the entire state of Washington, Gov. Gary Locke has introduced a bill that would split the Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED), creating a new Department of Community Development and a new Department of Trade and Economic Development.

The bill has bipartisan support in the legislature.

"One of the cornerstones of my administration is making sure all of Washington shares in our economic prosperity," Locke said. "Splitting CTED allows the community development programs to help local communities thrive, while letting the trade and economic programs focus on developing partnerships for strong economic health."

In 1993, the Washington Legislature passed a bill that merged the former Department of Community Development and the former Department of Trade and Economic Development. That merger created CTED, which has functioned as an agency of 330 employees and an operating budget of $325 million. Nearly half of that budget is considered "pass-through," as the agency passes on state and federal funds to local governments and nonprofit organizations.

As it stands now, CTED is a complex array of diverse programs, ranging from early childhood education to international trade. It includes community assistance programs, growth management services, housing services, tourism and the state film office.

Locke said his proposal, which was introduced yesterday, goes beyond legislation introduced last year that would have split, or "de-merged," the agency into its two former parts. He said his proposal creates more opportunities for the state to deliver services to its constituents and to move into the next century as a key player in the global economy.

"We face a changing world in business, in the economy and in international trade," Locke said. "This move will enable us to meet those challenges and move into the 21st century as a leader in economic development and a leader in community development."

In the proposal, the current agency would be responsible for developing a plan for the new structure based on information and comments from the groups it serves. The governor has asked for the plan to be developed by Sept. 1 and has set Oct. 1 as a target for his approval of the plan.

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