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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
12/14/2009  3:54:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Rob Gala, Conlin Office (206)684-8805 Dana Robinson Slote, (206) 615-0061

Council President Richard Conlin
Councilmember Tim Burgess
Councilmember Sally Clark
Councilmember Jan Drago
Councilmember Jean Godden
Councilmember Bruce Harrell
Councilmember Nick Licata
Councilmember Richard McIver
Councilmember Tom Rasmussen

Seattle City Council Approves 2010 Legislative Priorities
Today’s vote prioritizes education, public safety, water stewardship, and transportation

SEATTLE – Today the Seattle City Council passed resolution 31174 and approved the city’s 2010 legislative agenda by unanimous vote. Council Pres. Richard Conlin signed the resolution that represents critical priorities for the citizens of Seattle.

The Council outlined key issue areas that reflect the values of their constituents. While there were many focus areas discussed, education, public safety, water stewardship, and transportation were identified as the most critical priorities to pursue in the upcoming session.

“The council brings a steadfast commitment to these priorities which honors public feedback about local and regional concerns,” stated Council President Richard Conlin. “Discussions with our constituents was the driving force behind these fundamental issue areas we will pursue with the state legislature in 2010.”

The 2010 legislative agenda outlines the city’s official positions and intentions for the legislative session. The priorities as outlined:

Education and workforce:

During challenging economic times, the Seattle City Council believes it is particularly important to support community colleges, technical colleges, and state universities as they provide access to retraining and workforce development opportunities. Public educational institutions are also a major employer in Seattle and across Washington State and have a considerable impact on our economy.

The council believes it is the State's responsibility to implement programs that serve to close the achievement gap and supports enhanced and stable funding for arts in public education. The council also believes that the provision of state-wide, universal pre-K instruction assures that all children enter elementary school ready to learn.

“There is no greater investment in our future than through a robust education system,” Councilmember Sally Clark stated. “Seattle schools are making great strides and need the state as an all-in partner, whether that’s for pre-K or the University of Washington.”

Public safety:

This session the council will strive to ensure all people feel safe and protected in their homes, businesses, and on our streets. The council would support a statewide ban on military-style assault weapons and the creation of a data collection and reporting system to determine what percentage of violent deaths are caused by these and other weapons. The council also believes that local governments should have the ability to regulate firearms or weapons in public areas to ensure the safety of their communities and local circumstances.

Transportation:

The council believes that a well-maintained and supported transportation system is critical in advancing economic prosperity, meaningfully reducing greenhouse gas levels, and accommodating projected population growth in a sustainable manner. The council supports efforts to reduce vehicle miles traveled and to promote increased use of new and existing tools to move people and goods through cleaner, more efficient choices. The council will pursue the state funding the transportation infrastructure system, particularly when there is an identified safety risk. The state should also play an increased role in funding transit and transportation choices as part of our state system.

The Seattle City Council today affirmed their commitment to the transportation projects in process including the safety and economic viability concerns regarding the viaduct replacement. On October 19, 2009, the Seattle City Council signed the Viaduct Memorandum of Agreement; Seattle Ordinance 123133. This agreement supports the deep-bore tunnel as the preferred alternative for replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct and upholding the responsibilities set forth by the City of Seattle. As the project manager for the deep-bore tunnel, the council expects the state to implement the project on time and on budget. The council will continue to work with the state on design and cost estimation of the tunnel to assist in this effort.

Councilmember Tom Rasmussen stated, “We will work with our state, regional and county partners to fulfill our commitments which have been made and to create the best transportation system possible for Seattle and the region.”

“The future of our great city is the council’s top priority. We now more than ever need to stand true to our promises,” Councilmember Jean Godden added.

Water Stewardship:

The council believes a dedicated state revenue source to fund local stormwater management programs is necessary to ensure full implementation of stormwater management programs and requirements and to achieve water quality standards. The council also supports the responsible use of water and promote environmental stewardship, including funding for salmon recovery and support legislative efforts to address including in-stream flows, protection of municipal water rights, support maintaining current funding for priority environmental programs related to water quality. The Seattle City Council will continue to support the Puget Sound Partnership's efforts to restore and protect the health of Puget Sound.

“Puget Sound is one of the greatest natural resources in our region and its health should remain a priority for economic, cultural and environmental reasons,” stated Council President Conlin. “Water management is an integral tie between man and nature and we ask that legislators pursue water stewardship as a key priority for this session.”

In addition to today’s resolution, the council also approved an amendment supporting a comprehensive reform of the Washington State tax system to provide revenue stability for cities and counties and a more progressive state tax structure, including an income tax. In concert with the Association of Washington Cities, the council also agreed to support a broad city flexibility package that provides greater flexibility with existing revenues and local determination of how these revenues are allocated and agreeing to support maintaining current municipal revenue authority and existing city and state shared revenues. We do not support unfunded mandates. “In tough economic times like these we have to begin to work with other Washington state cities and counties to explore changes in the state’s tax structure to reduce its regressivity,” said Councilmember Nick Licata. “A recent study shows that Washington continues to have the most regressive tax system of any state in the nation. Now more than ever we need to look to our Legislature to help us address this challenge.”

The state legislative short session begins on January 12, 2010.

Seattle City Council meetings are cablecast live on Seattle Channel 21 and Webcast live on the City Council’s website at http://www.seattle.gov/council/. Copies of legislation, archives of previous meetings, and news releases are available on http://www.seattle.gov/council/. Follow the Council on Twitter at twitter.com and on Facebook at Seattle City Council.

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