Fourteen Washington state legislators met with leaders and members of the Eastside Business Community on Jan. 5 to discuss priorities at the East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition Breakfast in Bellevue.
Legislators focused on three priority issue areas for the coalition, which is made up of 10 Chambers of Commerce including Issaquah and Sammamish. Topics included economic development/business taxation, transportation and education.
Legislators representing six Eastside legislative districts participated in panel discussions moderated by King 5’s Robert Mak. Talks ranged from how to close a $1.5 billion budget gap in 60 days, to the most effective way to invest in the region’s transportation infrastructure.
“It was encouraging to hear from our legislators that they are working towards solutions that will balance the state budget while making smart investments in the future growth of our state,” said Kathy Putt, chair of the East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition. “The Eastside is fortunate to have such an engaged business community and we look forward to working with our legislators during the upcoming session to reform our state government and to chart a sustainable course for our state’s economic future.”
This session, legislators are expected to address a transportation funding package, a budget shortfall and at some point will need to adjust to a recent State Supreme Court ruling that said the state is failing to meet its constitutional duty to fully fund basic education.
“Our state is at an important crossroads and the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce is proud to work with the coalition to affect positive change for the Eastside business community in Olympia,” said Matthew Bott, Chief Executive Officer of the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce. “We hope our legislators will incorporate ideas from the legislative agenda we have produced to create jobs in our state and help get our economy back on track in the upcoming session.”
The event also marked the release of the coalition’s 10-part legislative agenda, representing areas of unanimous policy agreement across thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of employees on the Eastside.
The coalition works to obtain a unanimous vote of approval from the Eastside chamber boards, ensuring broad support of the legislative agenda’s position papers. Their full Legislative agenda can be downloaded.