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Published on Friday, September 28, 2012

What issues do cities care about coming in to the 2013 legislative session?

We are well on our way to figuring that out and hope you agree. If not, please let me know.

Following the development and adoption of AWC’s Statement of Policy at our June Conference in Vancouver, Sammamish Councilmember and AWC President Don Gerend appointed an 80-member legislative committee to sift and sort through issues of interest to cities across the state. Divided into five subject area subcommittees, they each identified preliminary priorities (things AWC would advocate for or against) which were considered by the full committee during a September 19 webinar.

Their recommendations were forwarded to our AWC Board for their consideration on September 28. The Board considered recommendations and adopted the following as our preliminary priorities – allowing staff and member cities to begin sharing these with legislators, potential statewide officeholders, other interests and community members.  Issues and positions will be fine-tuned before being revisited by the full committee on November 15 and finalized by the Board on December 7.

Ensure fiscal sustainability and flexibility

  • Restore diverted liquor revenue and retain existing state-shared city revenues during these fiscally challenging times.
  • Preserve current local revenue authorities like local business licensing and taxes and seek to develop new options.

Foster and invest in infrastructure and economic development

  • Collaborate with the state to increase multi-modal transportation funding and expand sustainable revenue options.
  • Authorize tax increment financing and fine-tune other tools that help foster job creation and retention in cities.
  • Keep funding for critical infrastructure programs like the Public Works Trust Fund and don’t divert capital investment dollars to the general fund.

Enhance service provision

  • Allow cities to be more flexible and responsive to fiscal challenges, such as managing personnel costs.
  • Fund critical mandates like municipal stormwater and refrain from adding any new unfunded or underfunded mandates.
  • Strengthen public records efforts by curbing abusive requests.

In addition, there are numerous other issues that remain of interest to AWC.  While positions haven’t yet been taken on them, you can find the current list here.