Press Releases

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he is requesting additional funding for transportation improvements in the City of Yelm.

“Yelm is a growing and thriving community in the Puget Sound region,” said Smith. “We need to continue to fund road improvements and transit improvements to help alleviate traffic and congestion in the area.”

Smith has requested funds for two specific projects: the City of Yelm 510/507 Loop and funding Intercity Transit.

The first project will include preliminary engineering and right-of-way acquisition for the northern portion of the 510|507 Loop. The Loop would provide an alternative route to the two existing State Highways that bisect Yelm and meet in the center of town. Traffic volumes are such that the intersection of SR 510 and 507 is presently at level of service F, with an anticipated increase of 91% by the year 2020. As the existing routes run through the center of town, it is not possible to expand these roads or to increase speeds in order to add capacity.

The second project will help Intercity Transit with their wish to purchase nine (9) buses to restore service lost as a result of a state-wide elimination of the motor vehicle excise tax in 1999.  This tax represented 42 percent of the organization’s annual operating revenue.  An equal amount of fixed route and ADA para-transit service was eliminated by 2000.  Local voters restored most of the lost tax in 2003 by increasing the local sales tax for transit.  If granted, the buses will be purchased and delivered within 18 months of federal budget adoption.

Smith requested funding through the 2005 Transportation, Treasury and Independent Organizations Appropriations bill. It is expected that this bill and its funding will be finalized before Congress adjourns this year.

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he is requesting funding for the New Futures Children and Family Advocacy Program in King County.

“The New Futures Children and Family Advocacy Program is a public-private partnership with a record of success,” said Smith. “Investments in our children, such as after-school programs and early childhood education, are important to the success of our community.”

New Futures serves King County, Washington’s poorest, most isolated children with child and family centers in three of the region’s toughest neighborhoods. The heart of their work is children and family programs with after-school programs serving children who are at the greatest risk of failing in school. Pre-K programs offer children and family literacy and parenting skills, and youth programs provide a supportive environment where teens develop a positive support network with peers, and build relationships with adults.  The program is funded in part by the Cities of Burien and SeaTac, King County, and The State of Washington Readiness-to-Learn funds. Private funding partners include the Bill & Melinda Gates, Paul G. Allen, Medina, Marguerite Casey, Barry and Ginger Ackerley and Stuart foundations.

Smith requested funding through the 2005 Labor, Health and Human Service, Education and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. It is expected that this bill will be finalized before Congress adjourns this year.

 

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he is requesting funding for Washington State’s Methamphetamine Initiative.

“The federal funds provided to the Washington State Methamphetamine Initiative in the past have enabled the program to have an immediate impact on our state’s fight against meth,” said Smith. “Additional funds will help us in our fight to treat addicts and fight the downward spiral of methamphetamine addictions.”

This program was funded at $3 million in fiscal year 2003 and at $2 million in fiscal year 2004 under the Methamphetamine Enforcement and Clean-up account. Washington state has spent $56 million this year addressing meth offenders, treating addicts, and dealing with the after effects of methamphetamine use and production.

Almost every county in Washington has developed a meth action team, collaboratively developing and implementing local community-based strategies. Last year, representatives from local action teams attended regional training sessions on prevention strategies, youth development, and ways to deal with contaminated properties.

Our request for FY 2004 enabled the Initiative to reach additional affected regions in the state. This $4 million trained and equipped additional law enforcement personnel and increased regional response capabilities and enabled them to perform proactive investigations statewide. It also allowed for an expanded implementation of the meth strategy to additional counties and tribal jurisdictions.

Smith requested funding through the 2005 Commerce, Justice, State, Judiciary and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. It is expected that this bill will be finalized before Congress adjourns this year.

 

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) announced today that he has requested funding for transit and road improvements in the Southcenter Region.

“The Southcenter area has seen enormous growth over the past few years,” Smith said. “It’s important that we fund transit and road improvements to continue fostering economic growth and job creation in the area.”

This first project addresses necessary improvements to Southcenter Parkway, between Tukwila Parkway/61st Avenue S and S 168th Street.  Especially problematic is how traffic from Klickitat Drive and the two off-ramps from northbound I-5 mix with Southcenter Parkway traffic headed south toward Strander Boulevard.  This area is the primary entry/exit point – of only six access points – into this major regional retail and warehousing area that suffers from extreme congestion throughout the day.

The second project involves King County’s Transit Oriented Development (TOD) program was created to bring potential riders closer to transit facilities rather than building away from population centers and making people more dependent on roads and automobiles.  The goals of these developments are to increase rider-ship, mixed-use developments, urban center development, increased jobs, and greater affordability of housing.  .

Smith requested funding through the 2005 Transportation, Treasury and Independent Organizations Appropriations bill. It is expected that this bill will be finalized before Congress adjourns this year.

 

Today, members of the House New Democratic Coalition (NDC) expressed concern with a controversial proposal for expensing employee stock options released by the Federal Accounting Standards Board (FASB).   The proposal will likely lead to the gross overvaluation of employee stock options and corresponding investor confusion, having a chilling effect on broad-based employee stock option plans.  

“Stock options make possible extraordinary awards for ordinary Americans,” stated NDC co-chair Ron Kind (D-WI).   “They provide rank and file employees with a stake in ownership of a company, driving productivity and innovation.  The FASB proposal will hurt many small businesses, especially high-tech firms, that offer stock options to their employees and will likely destroy the partnership culture of distributing stock options to workers.”

“Stock options are an important part of the strategy for many innovative companies - both start-ups and mature firms - seeking to compete, grow and hire workers," said NDC Co-Chair Adam Smith. "At a time when economic growth is paramount for the public and policymakers alike, FASB's proposal has the potential to harm both companies and workers.”

The absence of a reliable valuation model, one that takes into account the unique qualities of employee stock option plans, under the FASB proposal will result in the overvaluation of stock options, compromising the accuracy of financial statements and distorting information available to investors and shareholders.  

“It is important to note that since there is no reliable method for measuring the value of stock options, this proposal brings with it no associated benefits in terms of greater visibility or information available to shareholders,” continued Smith.  “This proposal is especially troubling to me since it threatens to reduce the availability of stock options to rank-and-file workers - options have given employees a real stake in their companies and I fear that such opportunities could be a thing of the past.”

“This issue cuts to the heart of job creation, economic growth and competitiveness,” Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) said. “Broad-based stock option plans for rank-and-file employees are a critical tool in helping small start-ups to mature into medium and large-size companies. Yet, if FASB’s proposal is put into effect, it will result in the elimination of most broad-based stock option plans, doing away with a powerful tool for attracting talented workers and promoting employee ownership.”

Legislation introduced in Congress, H.R. 3574, the Stock Option Accounting Reform Act, would require the Securities and Exchange Commission to study the impact of the FASB proposal before it goes into effect.