Gov. Jay Inslee laid out a $122 million jobs plan Wednesday, outlining several pieces of his 2012 campaigns 75-point jobs plan meant to spur job creation in the Evergreen State.
The Democrat held a news conference at the Capitol to outline the proposals, which are heavy on tax breaks, streamlining permitting for businesses, and major capital investments in clean energy, including a research center for biofuels at Washington State University.
He also is pitching a slew of small-size education programs meant to train more skilled workers needed by the aerospace industry, part of a plan to align education with the needs of new or growing industries.
Inslee said the single best state investment for jobs and industrial development is development of human intellectual capital. He added that what we have to sell in Washington is not always beneath our feet, but its between our ears and above our shoulders. And that is brain power.
The proposals, which a few lawmakers had heard about in a high-level briefing that lacked details, got a response from the Legislature that was more warm than cold. Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom, who leads a Republican-dominated Senate majority coalition, said that his caucus is very much in agreement with a lot of the things hes trying to do in education.
But while Tom saw no real areas of disagreement with Inslees plan, he favors an approach that helps all businesses rather than the clean energy, biotech, aerospace and software sectors favored by the governor.
House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt of Chehalis said Inslee needs to hurry given there is a Feb. 22 deadline for passing policy bills out of committees. If hes going to run out a 75-point plan, Id like to see it soon, DeBolt said.
But Senate Democratic Sen. Kevin Ranker of Orcas Island said Democrats enthusiastically applaud Gov. Inslees efforts to set a course towards a cleaner energy future and the expanding jobs his initiatives will generate. We look forward to working with him closely to make sure the policies he laid out today become a reality.
Other lawmakers said they also saw a few things they can work with Inslee on over the next 10ß weeks of the session including a streamlining of permits for business and a one-stop portal for business licenses.
One of the biggest pieces in Inslees plan is $20 million for tax breaks rewarding businesses that hire veterans, with up to $3,000 or 20 percent of wages covered.
As he outlined in his campaign, Inslee also wants a tradable tax credit for high-tech start-ups, new investments in the energy grid and electrical car-charging stations on more state highways from the Pacific Ocean to Spokane.
Inslees jobs plan would require new money $49 million from the states general fund and another $73 million from the capital or construction budget. Of the capital investments, the largest is $50 million to improve the energy sectors electricity grid and establish the alternative energy research center at WSU.
Inslee did not spell out where hes going to find the new money. He also did not put a figure on the number of jobs he hopes to create. Asked how soon his proposals could generate jobs, he pointed to the health care piece of his plan. Inslee said the simple act of expanding Medicaid under federal health reform could add 10,200 health care jobs.