Thursday, January 7, 2010

Want to give your legislators a piece of your mind?

You read the news. You know the state is facing enormous challenges. You have opinions and you want to share them with people who can use them, right? Many of our legislators are hosting meetings in the next week and they'd love to hear from you.


Town Hall at 6:30 with the 48th LD delegation (Senator Rodney Tom and Reps.
Ross Hunter and Deb Eddy) at Kirkland City Hall (123 5th Avenue)

Town Hall at 6:30 with Rep.
Tim Probst of the 17th LD at the Creekside Estates Clubhouse (5101 NE 121st Ave, Vancouver)

Tele-town hall at 6 with Rep.
Marko Liias from the 21st LD


Town Hall at 10 a.m. with the 49th LD delegation (Senator Craig Pridemore and Reps.
Jim Moeller and Jim Jacks) at the Public Service Center, 6th floor commissioners hearing room (1300 Franklin Street, Vancouver)

Coffee hour at 10 a.m. with Rep.
Bob Hasegawa from the 11th LD at Renton Village Starbucks (601 S. Grady Way, Renton)

Town Hall at 11 a.m. with Rep.
Deb Wallace from the 17th LD at Fisher's Landing Transit Center (3510 SE 164th Ave, Vancouver)

Town Hall at 10 a.m. with Rep. Steve Conway from the 29th LD at Bates Community College South Campus (2201 S 178th St., Tacoma)

Tuesday, January 12

Tele-town hall at 6:30 with Rep.
Pat Sullivan from the 47th LD

Thursday, January 14

Tele-town hall at 6:30 with Rep.
Ruth Kagi from the 32nd LD

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Our economic recovery, and those who would hinder it.

As reported today by the Everett Herald, our state’s economic recovery will be less hare and more tortoise. What solace we can take however, is that Washington is better off than other states.

The analysis was completed by the state Employment Security Department, in their 2009 Labor Market and Economic Report.

While ESD predicts a better 2010 than 2009, the report outlines a couple of obstructions to our recovery, and one curious one. From the Herald:
State revenue is dependent on sales tax, meaning budgets will still be cut to the bone going forward. Infrastructure problems such as traffic congestion could hamper growth, and the report authors speculate that Washington’s reputed “negative business climate” could make it difficult for the state to attract new companies and retain old ones.
The first two conditions are legitimate and quantifiable. The third, however, left us scratching our heads a bit, and wondering which part of the dog is leading and which is following.

It’s well documented Washington has one of the highest business-friendly rankings of any state, as many publications have reported, from U.S. News and World Report to Forbes. We’ve pointed out why a few times here, here, and here.

Forbes Magazine ranks us the second best state to do business, up from third the year before. U.S. News and World Report says if you’re looking to start business, Washington is number one. According to the Tax Foundation, the non-partisan tax research organization, Washington ranked ninth, up from 14th the year before in their annual report on the business-friendliness of state tax systems. And the nonpartisan public policy think tank, The Kauffman Foundation, ranks our business climate us Number Two. Quoting from their report, the 2008 State New Economy Index:
“Washington state ranked fourth in 2007 and 2002, and has moved to second place. Washington scores high due to its strength in software (in no small part due to Microsoft) and aviation (Boeing), but also because of the entrepreneurial hotbed of activity that has developed in the Puget Sound region and very strong use of digital technologies by all sectors.”
Just take it from Don Brunell, the President of the Association of Washington Business, who released a statement on September 24, 2009:
“It is key to Washington’s economic recovery to have our state’s business advantages nationally recognized. When you step back and look at Washington in relation to the rest of the country, we are doing well. Neighboring states like Oregon and California are struggling right now, raising fees and taxes to balance their budgets."
Brunell went on to say: “Washington state is a great place to do business, and we must do everything we can to protect — and enhance—that competitive advantage.”

We believe we should always remain vigilant, and strive always to improve the business climate in our state, helping business flourish and working families achieve economic security. We invite the constructive policy ideas that have helped our state’s industries succeed and make our state a hotbed of innovation.

But, as the ESD report points out, despite numerous business-minded periodicals and business leaders pronouncing Washington a national leader in business-friendliness and economic recovery, it appears our economy will suffer from naysayers willing our economy into slowdown with words of discouragement.

Monday, January 4, 2010

We're back

After a brief holiday hiatus of sorts, your HDC bloggers are back.

Next Monday is the start of the 60-day 2010 session. As the pace picks up here in Olympia, so will our activity on this blog and
Twitter so be sure to check in often. This will be our second session bringing you news this way. We want our blog to be a valuable legislative news source so if you have feedback on what you think we're doing well or what we could be doing better, please let us know.

In the meantime,
your legislators would love some feedback about their work too. Though session hasn't started yet, members are prefiling bills and you can check out the full list here. In addition, bills that were introduced last session but didn't come to a vote on the House floor are still "alive" and could be considered this time around. If there are specific bills you're interested in tracking, we highly recommend you check out this handy "bill tracking" app.