Friends and neighbors,
This week there's good news about the South Park Bridge, a new ranking of our state's business tax climate, a deadline for the Washington Aerospace Scholars program, and a new tool for voters. Don't forget -- you are always welcome to contact my office with questions about these or any other issues so accurate information can be provided to you.
Washington’s business tax climate
This week the conservative Tax Foundation published its annual report ranking the business tax climate in each state and — despite the modest tax package the Legislature included in its budget plan this year — Washington still ranked 11th best. That’s down two notches from last year but still above rankings the state received during the three prior years.
South Dakota was rated as having the country's best business tax climate and New York was rated as having the worst. Oregon was rated 14th, Idaho 18th and California 49th among other Western states. These rankings are open to debate because of their methodologies, but our state is routinely ranked as above average.
South Park Bridge replacement fully funded
The federal government recently announced it’s going to fund the last $34 million to build a replacement for the South Park Bridge. This is terrific news for our district and the rest of the state. This iconic bridge connects a major thoroughfare that moves freight for some of our state’s largest industries. Construction on the new bridge is expected to begin next spring and the project should be complete by May 2013.
Washington Aerospace Scholars
For those with high school juniors in the house—they might be interested in applying for the Washington Aerospace Scholars (WAS). The WAS program emphasizes science, technology, engineering and math, and encourages students to consider careers in these fields. Thanks to the Washington Aerospace Scholars Foundation, the entire program is free—including the educational experience, travel, meals, and lodging expenses. The deadline is November 5th, here’s a link to the application.
The WAS program is divided into two components – the online curriculum and the summer residency. First, students will complete a series of online lessons and a final project focused on the history and future of space exploration. Based on their academic performance in the first phase, students will attend a six-day summer residency hosted by the Museum of Flight. During the residency students are guided by professional engineers and educators as they design a human mission to Mars, tour engineering facilities, receive briefings from experts in the field, and compete in hands-on engineering challenges.
My Vote—personalized voter information
The Secretary of State’s website has a new tool for voters. By putting in your information, you can check your current voter status, access information about candidates in your area, update your address, and find the nearest place to return your ballot. With so many important issues confronting voters this year—it’s very convenient to have all the information in one spot. And this site will eliminate a number of excuses for not filling out your ballot. Be sure to vote!