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Rep. Hans Dunshee Says He Has the Votes for His Green Jobs Bill. Accuses Senate Leadership of Blocking It.

By Camden Swita March 19, 2010

Rep. Hans Dunshee (D-44) said the governor, who has been pushing for job creation late in the session, is putting pressure on Senate leadership to make his Jobs Act of 2010 happen.

“It wouldn’t surprise me [that the governor is speaking with Senate leadership],” said Karina Shagren, spokeswoman for the governor’s office. Although she cautioned that the governor still has concerns about the size of the proposal.

As we reported here, the House's first action in special session was to pass Rep. Dunshee's proposal to fund energy retrofits at public schools throughout the state by selling $861 million in bonds. These projects, Dunshee claims, will create 38,000 new jobs. But the proposal stalled in the Senate during regular session and continues to face resistance from Senate leadership who are concerned the proposal would raise Washington's debt limit and potentially harm the state's bond rating.

Rep. Dunshee said the group of companies, unions and universities he has lobbying the Senate—including Obama-campaign-famous McKinstry Industries (candidate Obama famously called them out as leaders in the green collar movement), the University of Washington, the Public School Employees of Washington, and the Washington Environmental Council—tell him there’s enough votes in that chamber to pass the Jobs Act, but “[Senate Majority Leader Lisa] Brown doesn’t want it.”

Sen. Brown (D-3, Spokane) said that’s not true. It’s a widely held Senate position that the Jobs Act needs to change before it will get play, she said.

“The reality is that the Senate has been clear from before session that we want a funding source for the bonds (the general fund), and the treasurer agrees with us.” And Brown has another caveat: The Senate wants the money spent on more projects than just energy retrofitting at public schools and buildings.

Chris McGann, spokesman for the Washington State Treasurer James McIntire, who's in on the conversations between the governor, Rep. Dunshee, the Senate, and Speaker of the House Frank Chopp (D-43) over the bill, says McIntire is concerned about the size of the additional debt and the the lack of a revenue stream to finance that debt.  Striking an optimistic note he says the McIntire does wants to pass a bill that "achieves the laudable goals of jobs creation and energy efficiency but addresses his concerns."

Rep. Dunshee said nothing is happening in the search for an alternative source of revenue to finance the debt. "It’s the Senate’s requirement, they ought to come with the idea.”
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