AGC is pursuing a capital projects proposal of up to $2 billion that if enacted could generate 30000 jobs and jumpstart scores of public projects such as sewers community college classes and labs and a variety of vertical and horizontal projects.
The idea is to issue bonds backed by some of the revenues that are currently coming into the states capital budget (not the general fund). For example $200 million currently in the capital budget could be leveraged into $2 billion immediately with the bond paid off from revenues in future capital budgets.
No taxes would be raised; its a matter of fast-tracking projects that likely would have been built anyway in later years. Plus the states debt limit would not be affected because the proposal would rely on funds that already exist.
This is a springboard investment” says AGCs Government Affairs Director Rick Slunaker. “Our catch phrase is ‘investing in tomorrow going to work today’.”
The exact dollar amount of the proposal and the slate of specific projects to be built will be determined through the legislative process. Right now discussions are being held among the Governors office key legislators AGC and Labor allies including the Washington State Labor Council and the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council. AGC and the union groups are the initial members of a coalition that will grow as the proposal takes final shape.
Because it involves revenue bonds the proposal could be passed by the Legislature but AGC and coalition members are willing to work to pass it via a ballot initiative in the spring if need be.
The following are excerpts from a letter about the proposal to Governor Gregoire and leaders of all four legislative caucuses from Slunaker; Dave Myers of the WSB&CTC; and Jeff Johnson President of WSLC.
Our ask to you is to pass a $2 billion infrastructure bond-backed investment package addressing a variety of known state and local government needs. Passage of an infrastructure package of this magnitude would create up to 30000 construction jobs lowering the absolute number of unemployed in our state by about 10% and lowering our unemployment rate by 1%. It is not often that we get the opportunity to have such a significant impact on both employment and revenue growth through creating a significant growth in consumer demand and retail sales tax growth. Active consideration of various approaches to finance such a proposal is currently underway. Our coalition has committed to each other to work together to secure Legislative approval of the proposal as well as to actively campaign to persuade the voters of its value should it be necessary to send it to the ballot. We do not believe that this needed public investment and boost to our economy jeopardizes other infrastructure or budget proposals.
This is an historic opportunity to strengthen our public assets and the private economy by repairing and building storm water clean-up systems energy retrofits on public buildings repairing and building college campus buildings where needed repairing bridges improving state parks and repairing water and irrigation systems. All of these are positive real investments that will have long term benefits to our economy which can be sized for geographical distribution and type of work.
For more information about the proposal contact Rick Slunaker at 360-352-5000.