Leaders steer dollars to economic development projects

May 6, 2011

By Staff

NEW — 6 a.m. May 6, 2011

King County leaders scrapped the outdated Economic Enterprise Corporation and directed funds from the program to economic development programs throughout the region.

The legislation approved Monday by the County Council directs almost all of the $95,000 remaining in the corporation to be disbursed to smaller projects.

“Standing on the cusp of economic recovery from the greatest recession of our lifetimes, we need to invest in solutions that will help us build prosperity and get people back to work,” County Executive Dow Constantine said in a release. “These one-time funds can help lay the foundation for job creation now and in the future.”

The beneficiaries include $10,000 for the Puget Sound Regional Council — the planning authority for King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties — to update a regional economic strategy and $20,000 for the county Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

“These specific funds can be used only for economic development activities,” Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, a cosponsor of the legislation and the Issaquah representative, said in a release. “King County is fortunate to be able to partner with a number of existing private programs that do excellent work improving the local business climate and attracting jobs. This small investment can make a big different for our economy.”

Created in 1984, the Economic Enterprise Corporation issued industrial revenue bonds to economic development in the county. The agency issued bonds totaling more than $48 million and created more than 600 jobs.

State lawmakers created Washington Economic Development Finance Authority in 1990. The statewide agency served the same purpose as the county Economic Enterprise Corporation. Eliminating the county agency eliminates duplication and saves money.

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