May 6, 2019
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Updated #BuildWA report highlights the needs and opportunities with investing in Washington's infrastructure

Washington state contributes more than $300 billion to the U.S. economy, making the state’s infrastructure vital to the national interests, and yet the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state’s infrastructure an overall grade of “C.”

Saying that needs to change, last week AWB joined the state's counties, cities and ports in releasing an updated report on Washington state's infrastructure needs. Looking at roads, bridges, telecom, ports, water, sewer, airports, energy, freight rail and more, the report finds that Washington needs $222 billion worth of infrastructure investment. That level of investment will create 706,000 to 777,000 jobs.

"Building the Economy" is an update of a report that AWB, the Association of Washington Cities, the Washington Public Ports Association, and the Washington State Association of Counties first produced two years ago.

“We know that federal officials understand the importance of rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure and we remain optimistic they will take action soon,” said AWB President Kris Johnson. “This report and the unprecedented partnership between our four organizations demonstrates that Washington state has laid the groundwork to act quickly and make smart use of resources when the opportunity arises.”

The report was released Tuesday, the same day congressional leaders announced that they were working with the administration on a $2 trillion federal infrastructure plan.

The full infrastructure report is available to download online. A short two-page executive summary is also available.

Contact Mike Ennis, AWB government affairs director for infrastructure, to learn more.

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Spring Meeting
Last-Minute Legislating

Spin Control: Doing the budget the way it's always done doesn't make it the best way

By Jim Camden

Legislators are apt to defend their budget process as "this is the way it's always done." If that was a good reason, one might think we would still be hanging horse thieves, placing miscreants in the stocks and throwing debtors into prison for not paying bills, or doing any number of imperfect things we've stopped doing.

In truth, the "always done" defense is only applied by people who do it that way because it suits them.

It suits legislative leaders to hold on to the budget until the very end of the session to have some leverage over hard-to-handle lawmakers. It suits budget writers from each chamber to sequester themselves somewhere away from the madding crowd of colleagues and lobbyists to avoid being pestered for everyone's favorite six-, seven-, or eight-figure project. And then there's always that familiar refrain that negotiators can't speak freely if discussions are in the open, because they might be criticized for suggesting something that doesn't sit well with the folks back home, even if it does break a logjam that leads to the deal.

This process keeps the people and businesses who will pay for all the programs and salaries out of the loop for most of the key decision points...

Read the full column in The Spokesman-Review
Talent and Capital

The Seattle-area economy punches above its weight -- and that's a huge strength

By Jon Talton, The Seattle Times

Newcomers -- and there are many -- might think that the Puget Sound region's economy is so hot because of two Big Tech headquarters, along with the "legacy" power of Boeing.

It's understandable. Amazon and Microsoft are two of the five giants that make up America's technology royalty (Apple, Facebook and Google are in the Bay Area). We're on the cutting edge of software, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and so much more.

Boeing's operations, especially commercial airliners, anchor one of the world's top aerospace clusters (the other being Airbus in Toulouse, France). The company is not only the nation's largest manufacturing exporter, but also, especially with its defense divisions, a strategic asset.

Together, the three employ about 166,000 here in well-paid, high-skilled jobs. Boeing is Washington's largest private employer, with a workforce of 69,830 as of February.

It's hard to think of another similar-sized metropolitan area in the United States with anything close.

But this is only a start in explaining why Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue enjoys one of the strongest economies in the nation. How strong? Per capita gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, was nearly $81,000 in 2017. That compares with $61,000 in San Diego and $63,000 in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Larger Phoenix lagged in at $45,000...

Read the full column in The Seattle Times
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