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2014 GSI State Agenda

2014 GSI State Agenda

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Published by heidigroover
Greater Spokane Inc. 2014 legislative priorities
Greater Spokane Inc. 2014 legislative priorities

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Published by: heidigroover on Dec 05, 2013
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12/24/2013

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2014 State Agenda
Greater Spokane Incorporated represents 1,200 member businesses, employing more than 100,000 individuals. Together with our members, we advocate in partnership with the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce and the West Plains Chamber of Commerce to protect and influence policy that supports small businesses and a prosperous business climate for our entire region.Greater Spokane Incorporated leverages resources and insights of community and business leaders to enhance the region and lead advocacy efforts.
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Business Taxes
: GSI will continue to scrutinize efforts in the legislature to increase business taxes including the repeal of business tax exemp-tions and credits, surtaxes levied on the business and occupation tax (B&O) and reinstituting tax incen-tives used by businesses in Com-munity Empowerment Zones (CEZs) and high-technology industries and aerospace.
Workers’ Compensation
: GSI sup-ports public policies to reduce the cost of state workers’ compensa-tion premiums including expanding the use of structured settlements, decreasing the time period injured workers remain in the workers’ com-pensation system, preferred workers programs, and expanded opportuni-ties for employers to join retrospec-tive rating programs.
Unemployment Insurance
: GSI supports public policies to reduce unemployment insurance costs by defending against diversions from the unemployment insurance trust fund. We support policies preserving employer’s rights to withhold investi-gatory information without penalties. GSI will oppose policies undermining employers using third party admin-istrators to process unemployment insurance claims.
Energy
: GSI will pursue public policies that maintain our region’s plentiful, af-fordable energy supplies by supporting changes to the state’s Energy Indepen-dence Act to allow qualified utilities to credit excess conservation against their renewable portfolio standards, expand-ing renewable energy credit banking, and changing the definition of “eligible renewable resources” to include differ-ent hydropower sources.
Regulatory Environment
:
 
GSI supports public policies that lessen the regulatory burdens placed on our small businesses by the state’s regulatory environment and foster a more business-centric at-titude.
Spokane Valley Tech (SVT)
: $1 mil-lion to construct an additional 11,000 square feet for instructional and pro-gram purposes.
Spokane Area Workforce Develop-ment Council (SAWDC)
: Support for continued state investment in workforce development programs implemented by SAWDC.
Spokane STEM (in partnership with Washington STEM)
: $3 - $5 million to support the creation of a statewide system of regional STEM networks to prepare teachers to implement Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards, and provide real-world STEM learning experiences to students.
Spokane Public Schools:
 Seeking legislative authority for School Boards to adopt local preference provisions in awarding bids and purchasing when using local bond and/or levy funds.
K-12 EDUCATION
: GSI supports the K-12 legislative request to ensure the State of Washington follows and imple-ments the directives of the McCleary decision. In addition GSI supports:
1.
 Levy equalization for school districts with lower property tax bases.
2.
 Full funding of state match for school construction projects.
HIGHER EDUCATION
: The Spokane region has more than 80,000 stu-dents enrolled at community colleges, regional and research universities, and two nationally recognized private schools. GSI supports the legislative efforts of the higher education commu-nity and its work to advance workforce development and research initiatives to stimulate economic growth.
Washington State University (WSU):
$3.6 million to restore maintenance and operational funding for WSU-Spokane facilities including the Pharmaceutical & Biomedical Sciences and Veterinary Medical Research facilities, $500,000 per year to support WSU as a co-lead Center of Excellence for Aviation Jet Fuel, and $5.3 million in state capital funds to design a new Washington Ani-mal Disease Diagnostic and Research facility.
Eastern Washington University (EWU)
: $4.5 million in capital design funds for a new science building, $350,000 in pre-design construction funds to develop a Center for Academ-ic Engagement facility for professional health sciences and student services
Business Climate
GSI will continue to be an active advo-cate for our employers and the Spokane business community. We will continue the ongoing fight in the legislature against policies that increase the cost of doing business with potentially higher business taxes, higher workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance premiums, increasing energy costs and an unfavor-able state regulatory environment that undermines small businesses and our larger industries.
Education & Talent
Talent is the new currency for economic development. The business, education, and workforce communities will lead efforts for 60% of the adult population to acquire a professional certificate or an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, or higher by the year 2025. GSI supports projects and legislation that will foster the growth of a competitive workforce to recruit and retain businesses in the region.
 
 
on the Spokane Riverpoint Campus, and a funding mechanism to expand existing recreation and athletic facili-ties to comply with ADA and Title IX requirements. 
Community Colleges of Spokane (CCS)
: $500,000 to expand, accelerate and advance aerospace manufacturing and training, $3 million for a one-time funding request to expand industry-re-sponsive STEM programs, $350,000 to implement college alignment with K-12 Common Core curriculum region-wide, and $900,000 to fund a modest 2% pay increase for faculty and staff.
Maintenance and Preservation:
Funding for maintenance and pres-ervation is needed to address fur-ther deterioration of state highways, bridge safety, and increased need for transit programs across the State of Washington. Many counties and cities across the state lack the resources to maintain county roads city streets and bridges. Investment in maintenance and preservation will provide busi-nesses with the ability to move freight and for their employees to get to and from work.
US 395 North Spokane Corridor (NSC) Francis Avenue to I-90
: $750 million for the design, right of way acquisition and construction of the NSC from Francis Avenue to an interim connection with I-90.
SR 904/Four Lakes to Cheney
: $22 million to widen SR 904 from a two lane highway to a five lane highway between Four Lakes and the City of Cheney.
I-90/SR 902 Medical Lake and Geiger Interchange Improvements
: $40 mil-lion for the design and reconstruction of the I-90/SR 902 Interchange and improvements to the I-90/Geiger Blvd. Interchange.
US 195 Hatch Road to I-90 Corridor/ Hatch Road to Meadowlane Road Interchange
: $73 million for design, right of way acquisition and construc-tion of the Hatch Road and Meadow-lane Road interchange to implement access control and convert at grade intersections to grade separations and/ or interchanges.
I-90 Barker Road Interchange to Har-vard Road Interchange
: $89 million for the design, right of way acquisition and reconstruction of I-90 from Barker Road to Harvard Road including the recon-struction of the Barker and Harvard Road interchanges.
Spokane Transit Authority Central City Line
: Regional support for request of state funding of up to $11.7 million to match federal funding for necessary corridor improvements, and to construct and operate a Modern Electric Trolley (MET) between Gonzaga University and Browne’s Addition via downtown Spo-kane and the University District.
Spokane Transit Authority construc-tion of the West Plains Transit Center near Exit 272 (I-90 at SR 902):
Re-gional support for $8 million in funding over the next two biennia for design and implementation of a West Plains Transit Center near Exit 272 to provide quick and safe transit access to I-90 both eastbound and westbound. The project funding would be derived from the Washington State Regional Mobility grant program.
Catholic Charities Spokane, Commu-nity Frameworks and Habitat for Hu-manity
:
 
$16.5 million from the Wash-ington State Department of Commerce for the implementation of Spokane Area Accident Potential Zone Density Reduction Project, which will provide 145 affordable housing units for resi-dents currently living in manufactured homes in the Accident Potential Zone II (APZ II). APZ II has been identified by the U.S. Air Force as a potential crash zone and is an encroachment on Fairchild Air Force Base.
Spokane Low Income Housing Con-sortium (SLIHC)
: Requests support for continued investment in the state Housing Trust Fund to develop afford-able housing in Spokane County.
Frontier Behavioral Health
: Requests legislative review of the state fund-ing formula for critical mental health services.
Spokane County Community Ser-vices, Housing, and Community Development Department
: Requests support to restore state funding for non-Medicaid mental health treatment for the Regional Support Network (RSN). (continued)
Transportation
GSI is recognized as the regional leader in collaborating with community partners on state transportation funding. GSI along with its state, regional and local partners, will pursue state transportation funding, including new state transportation rev-enue, to support the many transportation needs of the Spokane region.
Community Partners
GSI supports the regional nonprofit community in its advocacy efforts to secure funding to deliver health services and provide affordable housing to the region’s most vulnerable population. In addition, GSI support community efforts to provide art and cultural awareness and recreational opportunities in the region.

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