Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent and ranking member on the Senate’s Capital Budget, issued this statement today on the Senate’s capital budget proposal:
“The budget that was proposed today provides a few modest improvements but I think it also represents a missed opportunity.
“First, we’re backing away from $90 million in bonds authorized in last year’s biennial budget. Failing to tap this authorization will cost us nearly 1,000 family wage jobs. I’m frankly at a loss to understand why we would forego the opportunity to create so many valuable jobs during a flat economy that has offered little growth or job creation.
“Second, this budget withdraws the agreed-upon funding for the 1063 project to consolidate our scattered State Patrol offices into a single, cost-efficient headquarters in place of a derelict property along Capital Way. Given that this project was estimated to save $750 million over the 75-year life of the building and create roughly 800 jobs, I consider it penny wise and pound foolish to not make that investment.
“I am happy to cite two positives in the budget and related legislation. The first is a reallocation of $50 million in unspent funds to the school construction assistance program to create a bond program for all-day kindergarten and STEM (science, technology and math) labs. The second is an allocation of $46 million to fund the clean-up of as many as 30 toxic waste sites across the state.
“In the larger scheme of things, however, the architecture of this budget is disappointing. I look forward to negotiations with the House, which I hope will provide opportunities to increase our investments in our state’s future.”