Jobs Bonds: A recipe for Washington’s economic recovery

March 21, 2012 | Marilyn Watkins

Policy Brief: Jobs Bonds: A Recipe for Economic Recovery

Passing the Jobs Bonds package should be a top priority for Washington’s Legislature during the special session. Rebuilding school facilities, retrofitting for energy efficiency, improving water quality, and cleaning up the environment will immediately create badly needed jobs across the state – and build the foundation for a healthier, more sustainable economy in the future.

Bonds are a commonly used strategy to take advantage of reduced interest rates and low construction costs. Tackling additional infrastructure improvements now will put people back to work not only in construction, but across sectors in all parts of the state. Workers newly employed on funded projects will turn around and spend more – on car repair, eating out, health care, home improvement, and other services. And Washington residents will benefit from improved public services and facility improvements.

Both the Senate and House in Washington’s Legislature have proposed capital budgets that would authorize financing from multiple sources, including bonds backed by general revenues and dedicated funds, to invest up to $1.4 billion in job-creating infrastructure.

According to economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s Economy.com, every $1.00 of public spending on infrastructure contributes $1.44 to the economy. That multiplier means that the nearly $1.4 billion investment proposed by the Washington House and Senate Capital Budget Committees will increase money flowing through Washington state by $2 billion.

Pledging revenues from a few years out when the economy will be fully back in gear allows us to start needed projects earlier, and to get more for our investment dollars. Bonding now creates jobs, takes advantage of lower costs, and provides a boost of energy to a still fragile economy. The larger the construction budget package, the more benefit current and future Washington residents will gain.

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