Water-rights decision could have disastrous consequences for Washington families, workers
OLYMPIA…The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus shared the following statement in response to a report released today by the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) detailing the statewide economic impact of the Hirst water-rights decision.
Some of the details revealed in the study include:
- $6.9 billion lost in economic activity each year in Washington, predominantly in rural communities
- $452.3 million in lost employee wages due to the impacts of Hirst, annually
- Nearly 9,300 lost jobs (FTEs) in rural Washington, annually
- $392.7 million in lost taxes to state and local governments, annually
- $4.59 billion in losses to the construction industry, annually
- $37 billion in lost property values in areas impacted by Hirst
- $346 million in property taxes shifted to other properties in Washington
Sen. Mark Schoesler, majority leader, R-Ritzville, had this to say:
“The Democrats can no longer ignore the Hirst decision. They like to pretend a Hirst fix doesn’t matter as much as the capital budget, but this study shows clearly that the annual negative economic impact far exceeds the cost of a temporary delay in state building projects.
“The $6.9 billion in economic activity that would be lost every year that Hirst remains in effect is absolutely unacceptable. Every district would suffer.”
“The details in this study are staggering and I hope Democrats and their special interest groups read it and accept that it underscores the need for an immediate and permanent solution to this unnecessary dilemma.
“The people of Washington feel the pain of not having a capital budget right now, but it pales in comparison to the pain of postponing the Hirst solution we already negotiated with the House. They had six demands and we agreed to five. That’s compromise. Time for some compromise on their part.”
The MCC has argued since January that a solution to Hirst is crucial to the economic growth of rural Washington and has promised that a capital budget will not pass the Senate until Democrats agree to a Hirst fix.
Alternatively, the governor and the House have succumbed to the pressure of special interest groups who are bargaining for veto power over water-rights permit applications. Democrats only agreed to negotiate a solution in May and have refused to compromise on this singular demand that would mean relinquishing the sovereignty over water decisions statewide.