The GVCC's Shared Legislative Agenda 2016
SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON BUSINESS COMMUNITY PRIORITIES
for the 2016 Washington State Legislative Session
The ability to build and sustain the economy of Southwest Washington is directly tied to the quality of infrastructure. We will pursue continued and sustainable state, federal, and local investments for the maintenance and expansion of our infrastructure where it correlates directly with growing the local economy.
Pass a new multimodal transportation revenue package that includes funding to meet Southwest Washington’s critical infrastructure needs.
- A safe and efficient rail and freight corridor is essential to continued economic growth. We call for a coordinated effort to prioritize rail investment for Southwest Washington, including at-grade railroad crossing upgrades along the system, improvements to the Clark County Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, and SR14 capacity improvements at and near the Port of Camas-Washougal.
- Preserve current state funding for transit at $50 million per biennium for capital grants (Regional Mobility Program); $13 million per biennium for operational grants; $6 million per biennium for vanpool capital grants.
2016 Legislative Request:
- Restore and retain funding to the Public Works Trust Fund.
- Support C-TRAN’s request for $1-2 million from the Regional Mobility Program for the expansion of the Fishers Landing Park and Ride lot.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT POLICY
Clark County’s unemployment rate still remains higher than the state average. Southwest Washington’s ability to compete requires the addition of economic development tools. We will pursue tools and initiatives for businesses and local governments to expand their effectiveness in growing the local economy.
- Support house bill to promote accelerated project permitting and regulatory streamlining to move projects faster and stretch transportation funding.
- Support funding for Innovation Partnership Zones.
- Expand incentive programs that could be revised to give new and existing companies in Clark County a competitive advantage:
- Expand Sales & Use Tax Deferral/Waiver for Corporate Headquarters program to all of Washington State
- Expand aerospace incentives to all “aircraft,” which would include rotorcraft
2016 Legislative Request:
- Extend incentive programs that give new and existing Clark County companies a competitive advantage:
- High Technology B&O Credit for R&D Spending (expires January 1, 2015)
- High Technology Sales & Use Tax Deferral/Waiver (expires January 1, 2015)
- B&O Tax Exemption for Manufacturers of Fresh Fruit & Vegetables; Seafood Products; Dairy Products (all three incentives are set to expire July 1, 2015)
- High Unemployment County Sales & Use Tax Deferral/Waiver for Manufacturing Facilities (expires June 30, 2016)
EDUCATION & WORKFORCE POLICY
Southwest Washington requires a full set of educational opportunities to support a well-prepared workforce. Collaboration between the public and private sectors is essential in developing a workforce that will match the needs of a growing economy.
- Reduce operating costs for businesses through measured reforms in the state L&I and employment security programs.
- Provide school districts greater flexibility to determine how state funds are used to implement new programs.
- Support initiatives that connect business and education, including efforts to support student career exploration and to provide work-based learning experiences to middle and high school students as mandated by State Legislature.
- Allow school districts time and resources to fully implement newly mandated programs before approving additional reform efforts.
- Increase state funding to maintain affordability and access for Washington State University and Clark students. Fund over-enrolled FTE students at Clark College and Washington State University Vancouver.
- Support enhancement of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs and Career Technical Education (CTE) programs in middle schools and high schools, as well as student internships and youth employment opportunities.
2016 Legislative request:
- Ensure timely funding for basic education as required by the Washington State Supreme Court in its McCleary decision.
- Support the establishment of a medical school at Washington State University to bolster training opportunities in Southwest Washington, increase access for in-state students and help produce more primary care doctors for underserved Washington.
Southwest Washington will remain strong environmental stewards by supporting sound environmental policy that can coexist with economic development and by recognizing that a growing economy places stress on the local environment. We seek a balanced approach to growth while resisting initiatives that will impair the local economy without clear and demonstrable benefits to the community.
- Monitor pending legislation for adverse impacts on business.