Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Interim Report on Leg Agenda

Successes mark the near completion of the 2012 Legislative Session.  The Chamber’s Legislative Agenda looks like a winner.

The state’s transportation budget contains key funding for three Pierce County projects.  The Legislature passed a transportation budget (ESHB 2190)  containing $5.8 million for an Interchange Justification Report, providing the necessary match for committed federal funds and positioning the Berkeley St., Thorne Lane, Martin Way and Marvin Road  Interchanges for the next round of available Federal funding.

Pierce County’s highest impact project – SR-167, received $3.0 million for expected right-of-way acquisition and NEPA EIS reevaluation. And, $2.5 million for the I-5 Federal Way Triangle Improvements was also appropriated.

Another jobs producing accomplishment in the transportation budget is in Sec. 804. This section, gives several firms greater access to a heavy haul corridor.  Beneficiaries include Chamber members Targa Sound Refining and Schnitzer Steel. Said Louise Bray, Govt/Public Affairs Mgr., Schnitzer, "We really appreciate the support the Chamber gave us in working for passage of the bill to expand the heavy haul corridor.  The Chamber is a great asset to the business community and this bill will help us reduce our freight costs, reduce our environment footprint, and direct more cargo through the Port of Tacoma."

Our area will see additional job growth with the passage of several bills addressing regulatory constraints on small business operations.  ESB6155 places local small business Meracord, a financial processor, under the proper state regulatory scheme, freeing the company to expand its business within its hometown state.  Said Linda Remsberg, CEO, “the Chamber walked its talk, faithfully coming alongside Meracord throughout our recent successful effort to change a law to protect jobs. I publicly thank Tom Pierson and Michael Transue for their support in this critical win for our company.”

Also supportive of green energy development is ESB5575, recognizing the use of biomass for a renewable energy resource.  Simpson expects to benefit and expand under the bill’s provisions and other provisions of the bill will allow expanded use of options like clean construction and demolition debris and pulping liquor as fuel for biomass energy facilities.

The community redevelopment efforts of Pacific Lutheran University and  businesses along Garfield Street will take a big step forward thanks to SB6277, an act providing limited property tax exemptions for multi-family housing projects.  Dr. Loren Anderson sent, “It is a brighter day in Parkland! Thanks for your support of SB6277. So appreciate the Chamber’s support.”

Benefitting the entire metropolitan area is HB2326, necessary legislation supporting the local efforts to return our community to a clean air status.  Passage of the legislation retains local implementation of solutions to achieve attainment rather than surrender the authority to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Chamber is still active in the Special Session since key goals are contained in final action on the state’s operating and capital budgets.  Funding for our local universities and colleges as well as for the Pierce County Skills Center depend on final action.

Chamber members have been involved throughout this process, sharing their legislative priorities, ordering the Chamber’s legislative agenda, walking the halls of the legislature and sharing phone calls, emails and letters on behalf of business friendly bills.   Thanks to all who have supported this highly successful effort.  

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