Rolf Boone of The Olympian reports from last Wednesday’s meeting,:
“Addressing today’s annual meeting of Thurston County Chamber [May 11], Gov. Chris Gregoire said there is no reason legislators cannot come to a budget agreement and adjourn well before the 30th day of the current special session. Nonetheless, she did admit frustration for ‘every time we get a couple steps ahead, seems like we do fall back at least one step.’
The chief executive of state government notes that higher gas prices have impacted consumers’ confidence and the disasters in Japan Washington’s third largest trading partner also have dampened our economic recovery.
‘Washington state won’t look the same when we pull out’ of the recession, she said. And state and local governments’ recovery will lag the private sector.
‘International trade is our state’s ticket out of this recession,’ said the governor, and the U.S. will be heavily involved in the rebuilding of Japanese infrastructure. But that country’s prime minister said this week that work, once it begins, will take three to five years to complete.
China, on the other hand, recently bumped Canada and Japan to take the top spot as a trading partner with Washington. And Gregoire noted there is an increasing level of exports heading out of American ports, which means more work for South Sound ports.”