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.

 

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.
 

Congressman Adam Smith (D-Tacoma) is pleased to announce today a law enforcement grant for the city of Lakewood. The U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) announced a grant to the city of Lakewood of $375,000.  These funds would cover the salary and benefits of three new school resource officers (SROs) over the next three years who will be assigned to a school as their community policing area. COPS also provides school safety training for the officers and an administrator from the school where the officers will be assigned.

“This grant is good news not only for the schools but also for the City of Lakewood who will be able to hire three new police officers with these much needed funds,” Smith said. “I have seen first hand the true benefits the local schools receive by having this extra security. 

An SRO’s presence on campus deters crime and violence and provides immediate response to occurrences that cannot be prevented. Many SROs also participate in classroom instruction on state and local laws, substance abuse, and driver education, or become involved in extracurricular activities that enable them to serve as a role model for students who might not otherwise have positive interactions with law enforcement.

 

Today U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09) and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) participated in a classified Strategic Policy Forum, “Masked Dragon,” that brought together 14 Members of Congress, senior military and Executive Branch leaders, and selected state and local officials. The handpicked group examined the complexity and difficulty involved in responding to a series of escalating crises on the Korean Peninsula at a time of ongoing military operations and overseas deployment of U.S. Armed Forces. “Masked Dragon” sought to understand the full range of policy options available to the U.S. and their associated consequences in order to stem proliferation of nuclear weapons and their corresponding delivery methods.

Smith and Larsen represent Washington state congressional districts that made it especially important to participate in a strategy session on North Korea.

“The crisis simulation exercise that I participated in today gave me the opportunity to work with people from a variety of departments and specialties and to seriously discuss the implications of any escalations in a strategically important region of the world,” said Smith. “As a member of the International Relations committee and the sub-committee on Asian/Pacific affairs, it is important for me to have a good understanding of the potential crises that can develop in this region and today’s exercise put into perspective the strategic importance of our military assets in Washington state.”

"I have repeatedly stressed the fact that Washington state’s military assets are critical to our national security,” Larsen said. “Exercise ‘Masked Dragon’ underlined the necessity of having forces that are well placed to meet potential threats like North Korea.”

“Being prepared for a national security crisis means thinking about the unthinkable,” Larsen urged. “In any national security crisis, dozens of agencies have to make quick, coordinated decisions.  Today’s crisis simulation allowed me to better understand that decision-making process and to explore response actions and consequences.”

The Secretary of Defense initiated the Strategic Policy Forum program in March 2002 at the National Defense University located at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C. “Masked Dragon” was the sixth event held with Members of Congress and senior executive branch decision makers. Previous exercises focused on port and transportation security and bioterrorism.

The simulations featured a realistic National Security setting, with participants such as the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, the State Department, the National Intelligence Council, the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Smith and Larsen serve on the House Armed Services Committee. Smith also serves on the House International Relations Committee.