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MICHELLE DUPLER; Tri-City Herald |
OLYMPIA - Jobs were the talk of the Legislature earlier this week, but Democrats and Republicans again differed on the best strategies for getting people back to work.
On Wednesday, Majority Democrats in the House of Representatives passed a jobs bill introduced by Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, by a 57-41 vote that supporters claim will put 38,000 people to work making school buildings energy-efficient.
House Bill 2561 is a scaled-down version of a proposal Dunshee introduced during the 2009 legislative session that, with voter approval, would have had the state issuing $3 billion in bonds and putting an estimated 90,000 people to work modernizing public buildings.
That bill never made it to the House floor for a vote, and the 2010 version reduces the bond amount to $861 million and asks the Secretary of State to put a referendum on the next general election ballot so voters can say whether they agree to the plan.
Dunshee and fellow Democrats said during debate on the House floor that the bill would bring hope to the state’s unemployed workers and their families.
Republicans on the House floor questioned whether the bill could create as many jobs as Dunshee claimed, and if it did, whether they were the kind of sustainable jobs Washingtonians need.
The bill next goes to the Senate for consideration.
An hour after Dunshee’s bill passed the House on Wednesday, the House and Senate Republican caucuses unveiled their own set of bills they say would help private businesses put people back to work in stable, long-term jobs.
Republicans want to reform the worker-compensation system and save costs by getting injured workers back on the job sooner, smooth out a projected spike in unemployment insurance taxes without cutting worker benefits, and attract start-ups by giving a tax break to new businesses.
Michelle Dupler: 360-753-0862