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Legislative Advocacy

View of Olympia Washington's domed capitol building during dusk.

Recent Legislative Wins

✅ Tax increment Financing, a priority for nearly half a decade, is a development tool for local governments building out infrastructure to attract additional commercial development was approved in the 2021 Session

✅ Funding for the I-5 Replacement Bridge Program was approved first in the 2020 legislature and additional funding was approved in 2021.

✅ Capital investment in the WSU Vancouver Life Sciences Building to support the expanding life sciences industry locally was approved as was funding to advance the Terminal 1 development on the Columbia by the Port of Vancouver.

Current GVC Legislative Priorities

The Greater Vancouver Chamber's (GVC) Board of Directors approves the following list of Legislative Priorities for the 2021 legislative session:

Transportation and Infrastructure
  • Advocate for a Washington State Transportation Package to include additional funding for replacing the I-5 Bridge.
  • Support an Infrastructure/Transportation package in the US Congress with support for the I-5 Bridge.
  • Support the Clark County Transportation Alliance reflecting the regional consensus on Key policies and “next up” projects to guide state and federal lawmakers.
  • Given new taxes being considered (ie Carbon Tax and Road Usage tax), work to assure the taxes levied relative to fuel or road usage are dedicated to transportation infrastructure.
  • MTCA Funding preservation.
  • Support specifically the re-introduction of the Local Infrastructure Financing Tool (LIFT).
Economic Development and Tax Policy
  • Carbon Tax – work to get any imposition of a carbon tax to work directly for the support of the economy and if tied to fuel that the funds be dedicated to transportation infrastructure.
  • Advocate for legislation to support Child Care and early learning in support of families adversely impacted by the pandemic.
  • Work to limit the addition of and/or relief from the increasing regulation being forced on businesses of all sizes such as, Paid Family Leave, Exempt/Overtime rule changes, the possibility of Predictive Scheduling and others.
  • Protect against implementation of burdensome business taxes and fees given the toll taken by the COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Urge Clark Public Utilities to consider fiber optic broadband a utility and work with the newly established Office of Broadband in the State Department of Commerce to advance the extension of fiber to the rural portions of Clark County.
  • Advocate for the financial support of frontline medical facilities in any State or Federal funding package resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Advocate for Federal and State policy to address liability issues stemming from the pandemic.
  • Oppose the implementation of a Capital Gains Excise Tax, which is broadly seen as a step toward a State Income Tax.
  • Protect the viability of the Columbia - Snake River system as efficient freight avenues protecting jobs and exports from throughout the northwest.
Environmental
  • Support development of a balanced, economically sustainable, and environmentally conscious energy policy for the citizens, employers and farmers of the State, keeping in mind energy sources. The energy policy should protect and grow our nationally competitive power generation and distribution infrastructure.
  • Suggest that the State consider assigning the Policy and its implementation to the Department of Commerce.
  • Advocate for nexus to transportation projects if a Carbon Fuel Tax is introduced which will most certainly result in an increase at the pump of .40 to .50 per gallon.
  • Protect the viability of the Columbia and Snake Rivers system as freight avenues protecting jobs and exports from throughout the northwest.
  • Continue to fund the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA).
  • Advocate for balance among priorities so initiatives like the court ordered replacement of culverts under state roadways to allow for the passage of salmon and other protected species isn’t allowed to divert all the funds.
Education and Workforce Development
  • Support in general legislation to support Child Care and early learning, especially in support of families adversely impacted by the pandemic as well as child care business owners.
  • Advocate to expand the education seats available for health care workers in the state, especially nurses.
  • Support the capital request for WSU Vancouver’s Life Sciences Building construction ($52.6 Million).
  • Support Career Connected Learning funding request for the six (6) counties in the SW Washington region – one of 9 regions in the state.
  • Support for programs to train within the Construction Trades.
    Support review of Licensure Reciprocity.
Social Justice
  • Advocate for legislation to support Child Care and early learning, particularly in support of families adversely impacted by the pandemic.
  • Work with the newly established Office of Broadband in the State Department of Commerce to advance the extension of fiber to the rural portions of Clark County.
  • Additionally, urgent need by some families due to the pandemic and need for remote learning for their children.
  • Support the placement of a facility or facilities in SW Washington to address mental & behavioral health and substance abuse, especially among the homeless.
Ongoing Priorities

These as well as the recurring items, such as continued support for the Bi-State I-5 Replacement Bridge efforts including the local office, are the priorities brought forth by the Public Affairs Committee, and ratified by the GVCC Board of Directors, in representation of all of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce members. If you have any questions or thoughts you would like to add, please connect with us at YourChamber@VancouverUSA.com.

2021-2022 Legislative Session

Our Joint Legislative Priorities

Produced in collaboration with the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) and Identity Clark County (ICC), the Southwest Washington Business Community’s Priorities include:

Top Issues
  • Support the Joint Oregon-Washington Legislative Action Committee, Program Office, and early planning, funding and permitting efforts to replace the I-5 Bridge.
  • Provide greater options for local jobs, economic development and infrastructure investment for border communities, rural areas and opportunity zones with tax-increment financing and related programs (e.g. Local Revitalization Fund (LRF), Local Infrastructure Financing Tool (LIFT)).
  • Ensure COVID-19 relief is distributed quickly and efficiently. Consider stop-gap funding to protect the unemployment insurance system, local governments, schools, businesses and citizens affected by the pandemic. Pursue economic stimulus tools and relief measures to help the state recover.
Key Investments
  • Promote infrastructure projects in the Clark County Transportation Alliance 2021 Policy Statement to support our growing economy and employers, work force and population. Direct proposed carbon fees to transportation and infrastructure.
  • Assure a career-ready local workforce by supporting the WSU Vancouver Life Sciences capital request ($52.6M), Clark College Boschma Farms Campus capital request ($53.3M), Cascadia Tech Academy preconstruction design request ($1.5M), and innovative IT3 Discovery Center by Port of Ridgefield ($5.9M of $50M project).
  • Provide funding for the building deconstruction phase of the Port of Vancouver Terminal 1 waterfront development project ($1.8M) to ensure readiness for dock replacement and further economic development.
Multi-Year Priorities
  • Enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in state policy to address historical inequities.
  • Further position Southwest Washington and the State with robust broadband infrastructure with continued state investment.
  • Ensure energy policy is balanced, diversified and economically sustainable while protecting the hydropower system and navigation corridors on the Columbia and Snake River system.
  • Facilitate local development of critical infrastructure through the Model Toxics Control Act, Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board, Public Works Trust Fund and related programs.

Outlook Breakfast

Become our Presenting Sponsor!

Join us for breakfast on December 10, 2021. We will present the business priorities for the 2022 legislative session to the Clark County delegation and engage them in a pointed conversation about the expectations for the session.

Review Breakfast

Become our Presenting Sponsor!

Tentatively set for May 20, 2022. Hear directly from the delegation about the wins for Clark County Business and the policy areas they will be discussing in the interim before the 2023 session.

Government and Public Affairs Committee

This committee recommends our joint legislative priorities, produced in collaboration with the Columbia River Economic Development Council (CREDC) and Identity Clark County (ICC), to our Board of Directors for adoption and implementation. Our twin legislative breakfasts bookend each legislative session and offer an opportunity to speak with our local representatives. G&PA Committee →

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