Dow Constantine Commits To Cooperation With Local Cities

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by Ralph Nichols

King County Executive Dow Constantine re-affirmed in a talk in SeaTac on Friday (Jan. 8th) his commitment to creating a new spirit of cooperation with other local governments.

Constantine, who took office in late November, declared, “We are going to improve our relationship … between King County and the 39 cities in King County.”

This new relationship with the cities “will be one of partnership,” he said.

Constantine added that the county also has an opportunity to work with businesses to prepare and “provide leadership for the economic recovery that is to come.”

He spoke at a membership meeting of the Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce at the Cedarbrook Lodge.

“This region is the economic engine of the state,” he continued, noting that 30 percent of Washington’s population, 40 percent of its non-farm workforce and 50 percent of its economic activity is in King County.

These are primary reasons why “King County needs to reform the way it works with business … needs to reform the way it works with the cities.”

Reforms need to include county staff doing “the leg work” to find those regulations that affect individual businesses, so owners and managers can focus on running their businesses.

“We need to find ways to incubate new local businesses,” and then work to keep them here “rather than seeing them move elsewhere,” he said.

“Permitting in King County now is daunting,” Constantine said, and the county needs to establish “one-stop shopping” for business licenses and building permits, and to work with the state to simplify business tax codes.

County government also needs to be more efficient, he said.

“I’m very hopeful about our future as a region,” Constantine continued. “It’s clear that the economy in fits and starts is starting to come around. We need to make sure that living wage jobs are available to everyone.”

He added that “visitor taxes,” which helped build Safeco Field, Qwest Field and other public facilities, “need to go to help bring more visitors to King County.”

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