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Economic development is essential to the health, safety, and welfare of all Washington citizens by broadening and strengthening state and local tax bases, providing meaningful employment opportunities and thereby enhancing the quality of life. Economic development increasingly is dependent upon the ability of small-sized and medium-sized businesses and farms to finance growth and trade activities. Many of these businesses face an unmet need for capital that limits their growth. These unmet capital needs are a problem in both urban and rural areas which cannot be solved by the private sector alone. There presently exist some federal programs, private credit enhancements and other financial tools to complement the private banking industry in providing this needed capital. More research is needed to develop effective strategies to enhance access to capital and thereby stimulate economic development.
It is the purpose of this chapter to establish a state economic development finance authority to act as a financial conduit that, without using state funds or lending the credit of the state or local governments, can issue nonrecourse revenue bonds, and participate in federal, state, and local economic development programs to help facilitate access to needed capital by Washington businesses that cannot otherwise readily obtain needed capital on terms and rates comparable to large corporations, and can help local governments obtain capital more efficiently. It is also a primary purpose of this chapter to encourage the employment and retention of Washington workers at meaningful wages and to develop innovative approaches to the problem of unmet capital needs. This chapter is enacted to accomplish these and related purposes and shall be construed liberally to carry out its purposes and objectives.


FindingsPurpose1994 c 302: "The legislature finds that when public funds are used to support private enterprise, the public may gain through the creation of new jobs, the diversification of the economy, or higher quality jobs for existing workers. The legislature further finds that such returns on public investments are not automatic and that tax-based incentives, in particular, may result in a greater tax burden on businesses and individuals that are not eligible for the public support. It is the purpose of this *chapter to collect information sufficient to allow the legislature and the executive branch to make informed decisions about the merits of existing tax-based incentives and loan programs intended to encourage economic development in the state." [ 1994 c 302 § 1.]
*Reviser's note: 1994 c 302 § 2 was vetoed. 1994 c 302 § 3 is a codification direction and 1994 c 302 § 4 is an emergency clause. The code reviser's office chose not to create a new chapter for the only remaining section, section 1.
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