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Monday, January 12, 2009

The legislative session started today. As we’ve discussed, this session carries with it the challenge of overcoming the largest deficit in decades.

But as Brad Shannon pointed out yesterday in The Olympian, lawmakers also face another enormous challenge: how to "leverage spending to increase jobs, avoid layoffs and spur economic growth."

One strategy of the economy-boosting agenda is to coordinate state plans with programs for economic stimulus that will come from the federal government under President-elect Barack Obama. Shannon's article contains detail on the plans of legislative leaders.

The word from D.C. is that aid to the states is likely to come in the form of block grants and possibly through expanding existing programs that funnel money to transportation or wastewater projects, Shannon says. Gregoire’s list to Congress included $132.9 million for transportation projects and $352.7 million in water and sewer projects.

Federal aid may still be a few months away.

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