Washington Gets Good Grades

“Governor Gary Locke recently announced that Washington received an A grade in a national report card on economic development and a place on the honor roll of the states with the highest performance.The grade for 1999 came from the Corporation for Enterprise Development and the Center for Economic Development at Carnegie Mellon University in the Development Report Card for the States.Washington was one of 10 states receiving an A, along with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Utah, Vermont, Colorado, Maine, Nebraska and Connecticut. This is the fifth consecutive year that Washington has earned an A in the report card.For 1999, the state received especially high marks for:- Resource efficiency, renewable energy in the form of hydroelectricity. – Entrepreneurial energy, creation of new businesses and new business job growth. – Infrastructure resources, highways, bridges, sewage treatment systems and digital technology. – Innovation assets, private research and development, royalties and licenses, household computer use, and companies that spin out of university-developed technologies.The state’s lowest marks were in the prosperity gap between rural and urban residents, crime rate and business closings. Locke said closing the gap is a top priority.Last year Locke implemented a rural vitality strategy to help rural communities build infrastructure needed to promote economic growth. The package also provided tax incentives for technology-based businesses that locate in rural areas. This year, Locke is promoting initiatives to improve telecommunications infrastructure in rural areas, and to close the skills gap. I’m glad to see Washington listed again as a national leader for maintaining and building the assets that make a state a great place to live and work, Locke said. However, we still have more work to do.The A for economic development was the latest in a series of nationwide report cards giving Washington high grades from a business perspective.In 1999, Governing magazine and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University gave Washington an A minus for financial and capital management, human resources, managing for results and information technology.”