|Representative Cindy Ryu|
OLYMPIA—Communities in Washington could soon have new opportunities to invest in cutting-edge economic development and job-creation strategies.
The state Senate voted unanimously Monday for a proposal by Rep. Cindy Ryu (D-Shoreline) to allow communities to invest in local research laboratories, training centers, and other key facilities that are built in Innovation Partnership Zones (IPZs).
“Innovation Partnership Zones are already responsible for creating and keeping thousands of cutting-edge jobs in Washington, but I know communities can achieve even more if they are given the opportunity to invest in job growth in local IPZs,” said Ryu.
The state created Innovation Partnership Zones in 2007 to spur public-private partnerships that are tailored to local educational and economic opportunities. The Walla Walla IPZ, for example, focuses on viticulture and winemaking, while Snohomish County has retained an estimated 1,000 aerospace jobs with itsAerospace Convergence Zone.
There are currently 12 IPZs operating in the state of Washington.
State budget woes have sharply curtailed state-level investments in IPZs in recent years. Ryu’s House Bill 1937 gives local communities the opportunity to make their own investments through Local Improvement Districts.
“Sen. Maralyn Chase and I looked for ways to encourage the job-creating potential of IPZs without imposing mandates on citizens or communities,” said Ryu. “We decided that expanding the ability of communities to use Local Improvement Districts was the best solution.”
Ryu’s measure adds to the possible uses of Local Improvement Districts without changing the laws governing how these districts are created or financed by citizens.
A companion bill sponsored by Chase (D-Edmonds) passed the Senate earlier in the session.
Ryu’s measure passed the House on March 3. The unanimous Apr. 4 vote for Ryu’s bill in the Senate sends her measure to the Governor.
For more information:
State Rep. Cindy Ryu: (360) 786-7880.