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Published on Thursday, November 14, 2013

Legislators in and out of Olympia – back again November 21 and 22

When Governor Inslee called legislators back to Olympia for a Special Session starting November 7, he and several others hoped they would address both a package to secure a commitment from Boeing to assemble its 777x jetliner in Washington, as well as adopt a $10 billion+ transportation package. In uncharacteristic lightning speed, the Boeing package was passed and they adjourned November 9 without adopting a transportation package.

Boeing machinists voted on November 13 by a margin of 2-1 to reject a contract modification that would have secured Boeing's commitment to build the 777x in Washington. Absent that contract, Boeing, state, union and local officials will consider next steps, possible options and whether or not a commitment is now possible. For more on this evolving story, click here.

Now attention turns to continued consideration of a transportation package. After months of discussions, legislative negotiations and a series of 10 listening sessions around the state, it appears progress is being made after leaders of the Senate Majority Coalition released their version of a package (see more details here). We appreciate that both the House and Senate have put forward proposals that seek to address cities’ needs and priorities. It’s not yet clear whether agreement can be reached by the time legislators return next week for their annual Assembly Days on November 21 and 22, or if negotiations will need to continue.

As shared previously, AWC believes all cities have the potential to benefit from a new transportation package that includes revenue for projects and maintenance, as well as additional local revenue and options to generate more for local projects or transit services. Adoption as soon as possible of a balanced package is one of the four AWC Priorities for the upcoming 2014 legislative session. AWC sent out an Action Alert earlier this month asking interested city officials to connect with your legislators to again share your views. The timing continues to be ideal in light of the Senate Majority’s new proposal! Please contact your legislators now.

Ask legislators to stop raiding revenue shared with cities

We hope legislators and the Governor will help cities this upcoming session by doing more than adopting a balanced transportation investment package – one of the keys to helping cities meet the needs of current and future citizens and businesses. We also need your help talking to legislators and others in your communities about our other priorities to fully restore shared liquor revenues, cease raids on things like the Public Works Trust Fund and start restoring it, and the need to share new marijuana revenue with cities to help enforce complex laws on recreational and medical canabis.

Now, while legislators are home for the Holidays before gearing up for the start of the 2014 legislative session, is the time to meet with them and work with others in your community to help promote the needs of your city. Cities have gotten short-changed in the past few legislative sessions as legislators in Olympia grappled with state budget problems and a court mandate for greater funding for education. They increasingly looked to available pots of money to address funding needs and ended up reducing revenue sharing with cities and eliminated public works funding that is critical to city operations. Moreover, there has been little movement in changing mandates that would help cities reduce our costs and provide more flexibility in meeting requirements.

We’ve developed some suggestions on ways you can effectively work with legislators and others in your community to help them understand your needs. Check them out here and look for more information from us in the coming weeks with ideas and information to help convey these needs.