House construction budget creates 22,000 jobs
February 21, 2012 | By Washington House Democrats
Jobs Now, Jobs Tomorrow
OLYMPIA – The construction budget unveiled by the House of Representatives would use innovative methods to create an estimated 22,297 jobs.
“This is about putting people back to work in a hurry,” said Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-Snohomish), chair of the Capital Budget Committee. “If we act quickly, people can get back to work during the spring construction season, we can also build the foundation of the economy of tomorrow.”
The budget is built to create the maximum number of jobs possible, Dunshee said, with projects picked that had the highest possible matching funds.
Also funded are labs and equipment at community colleges aimed at training unemployed workers of all stripes so they can get high-skill, high-pay jobs with a future.
“Our budget takes a long view and tries to create not only jobs today, but jobs for years to come,” Dunshee said. “What’s happening in Greece shows that you can’t slash and burn your way to prosperity. You have to build prosperity. This is about building a better Washington for our kids and grandkids.”
Dunshee worked with a broad coalition supporting the basic concept of creating jobs quickly by completely projects already in the pipeline much faster than usual.
“Business is working with labor, the House is working with the Senate and Democrats are working with Republicans,” Dunshee said. “We’ve all been talking and trying to get something done. This is the most proven way to create jobs in a hurry.”
Basic details of the capital budget and jobs package:
• $1.3 billion plus leveraged or matched funds of $800 million
• 22,297 jobs projected in every corner of Washington
• Helps balance the budget, with the operating budget gaining an estimated $240 million in state sales tax and B&O tax from economic activity generated by the construction work
• Local governments predicted to gain $42 million in local sales tax revenues
The budget also has its eye on the operating budget, reducing human service costs by stabilizing people in housing, by reducing energy costs in schools and colleges, and by providing facilities in parks that will generate income.
But the big focus is again on jobs. The need is clear, Dunshee said, with construction workers west of the mountains facing 30 percent unemployment and some construction trades at 60 percent unemployment east of the mountains.
“We took inspiration from how FDR started creating jobs while in his first month in office,” Dunshee said, “and how Republican Gov. Dan Evans did the same during a bad recession in the 1970s. These will be private sector jobs that benefit the taxpayers of our state, and I’m proud of how hard people have worked to get this far. There’s a lot of work still left before Jobs Now gets signed by the governor, but nothing worth doing is easy. And this is worth doing for all the families hurting out there.”
For a list of construction projects by county or legislative district:
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Rep. Hans Dunshee / 360-786-7804 / email@example.com
Staff: Guy Bergstrom / 360-786-7811 / firstname.lastname@example.org