State’s rhetoric doesn’t align with actions

The Daily News | Editorial Board | April 7, 2018

On Monday, State Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz announced a new effort to boost Washington’s rural economies. Her “Rural Communities Partnership Initiative” is kicking off with the announcement of four initiatives that include a $1 million boat recycling facility and a $1 million research project into the problem of burrowing shrimp on the oyster industry.

It is with welcome appreciation that an administrator finally admits that state government has neglected rural communities, as Commissioner Franz told The Daily News during her recent two-day tour of rural Washington. Commissioner Franz elaborated in a statement announcing the new initiative, saying “communities know best what they need, but often lack the resources for economic initiative.”

While it is great for the state government to finally acknowledge its dereliction of rural citizens, it’s difficult to take these recent statements or initiatives seriously after considering its recent actions.

A case in point is the proposed Millennium Bulk Terminals project in Longview. The project promises to generate 2,950 total jobs and $5.9 million in county tax revenue. That would be a massive economic impact for Cowlitz County, part of the forgotten Washington that Commissioner Franz describes. The project enjoys robust local support and, powered by private investment, sufficient resources for construction.

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