Posted by: wadahp | February 16, 2010

MAIN STREET BILL PASSES HOUSE, SENATE NEXT

News Release February 16, 2010
For More Information Contact:
Ellensburg Downtown Association
509-962-6246 info@ellensburgdowntown.org

Bill to Save Washington State Main Street Program Passes the House 91 to 7 and Heads to Senate

Grassroots efforts to save the Washington State Main Street Program are generating bipartisan support among legislators during the 2010 legislative session. House Bill 2704, co-sponsored by Representative Dean Takko (D) from the 19th district, and Representative Bill Hinkle (R) from the 13th district, passed out of the House on Monday with overwhelming support by a vote of 91 to 7, and is now headed to the Senate.

Representative Takko introduced House Bill 2704, on the opening day of the legislative session. Representative Dave Quall, (D) from the 40th District, a co-sponsor of the Main Street bill in the House is also enthusiastic about the program. In a January 21 interview with the Skagit Valley Herald, Representative Quall noted, “In all the cities I’ve been in that have this program, when I reflect on what these towns look like, I’ve seen the good work this program has done.”

The Washington Main Street Program, since 1991 has helped local communities create 11,810 jobs in 3,721 new and expanded businesses, and leveraged private investment of $413 million. Every $1 invested in the program by the State of Washington has leveraged an average of $96 in private investment. Every $370 invested in the Washington Main Street Program by the State has leverage one new job in a local downtown.

Now that it’s passed the House, HB2704 will still need to be approved by the Senate. Supporters are cautiously optimistic according to Timothy Bishop, the Executive Director for the Ellensburg Downtown Association, “With more than a quarter of the Senate signed on as sponsors for the Senate Companion Bill, we’re optimistic. Downtown and community members from across the state have done a tremendous job of reaching out to their legislators about the importance of this economic development program, but we also know that time is the enemy in a short sixty day session.”

“In this current economic environment, it is more important than ever that we prioritize public spending and support for programs that have a proven record of attracting private sector support and job creation,” said Janйa Holmquist, R-Moses Lake and the lead Republican on the Senate Labor, Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee. “The Washington State Main Street Program is a proven program drawing almost $100 in private investment for every $1 spent by the state.”

In an effort to balance the state’s budget in the face of mounting deficits, Governor Chris Gregoire’s proposed budget would eliminate the Washington State Main Street Program (WSMSP), which serves more than 90 organizations representing communities throughout the state. The Main Street program’s budget was already cut by 75% as part of the 2009 budgeting process leaving just one staff person and a state general fund budget of about $120,000 to serve all of the communities participating in the state’s Main Street network.

Downtown and community leaders from downtown’s and communities around the state have rallied to save the program. The Facebook fan page titled “Supporting Main Street in Washington State” has attracted nearly 800 supporters since it was created in early January. Main Street program advocates from around the state are using the Facebook page to keep up to date on the latest progress of the two Bills and keep supporters engaged as the legislation now moves to the Senate.

More information on the Washington State Main Street Program can be found by contacting any of the 11 certified Main Street® programs either online or by phone.

Bainbridge Island Downtown Association http://www.bainbridgedowntown.org
Historic Downtown Chelan Association http://www.historicchelan.org
Ellensburg Downtown Association http://www.ellensburgdowntown.org
Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership http://www.historickennewick.org
Port Angeles Downtown Association http://www.portangelesdowntown.com
Mount Vernon Downtown Association http://www.mountvernondowntown.org
Olympia Downtown Association http://www.downtownolympia.com
Port Townsend Main Street Program http://www.ptmainstreet.org
Puyallup Main Street Association http://www.puyallupmainstreet.com
Downtown Walla Walla Foundation http://www.downtownwallawalla.com
Wenatchee Downtown Association http://www.wendowntown.org

For more information about the Washington Main Street program, including a list of the 90 organizations participating in the program, please visit www.downtown.wa.gov.

For more information about the National Trust Main Street Center, please visit http://www.mainstreet.org.

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