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Governor to make ‘special announcement’ in Tacoma today

Post by John Henrikson / The News Tribune on Jan. 15, 2010 at 9:41 am |
January 15, 2010 12:41 pm

UPDATE: reporter Kathleen Cooper, who’s at the event, sent in this dispatch:

The $700,000 of state funds once intended to keep Russell Investments in Tacoma will now go to the cleanup of the Sauro’s dry cleaner site, Gov. Chris Gregoire announced Friday.

The money comes from an economic development accound funded by unclaimed sate lottery winnings.

Gregoire told those attending the City Center luncheon that “what was dedicated to Tacoma stays in Tacoma.”

The fund is intended for use at the governor’s discretion to help recruit jobs or keep them in Washington. After the announcement Gregoire acknowledged the difficulty some might have in seeing the money used this way when the state faces a serious revenue shortfall.

But the only thing that will get us out of the recession is jobs, she said, and an investment of $700,000 will pay off with jobs and subsequent sales tax revenue far beyond that.

The Sauro’s site got the last of the money, she said.

“The account is dry. This is the last of the fund unless the legislature reauthorizes unclaimed money to go there,” she said.

In a sparse, cryptically worded press release the Gov. Chris Gregoire’s office is announcing that the governor will make a “special announcement” at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce’s city center luncheon today.

The downtown Business Improvement Association’s blog has few more details:

Governor Christine Gregoire will attend Friday’s City Center Luncheon to make a special announcement about Tacoma. To accommodate the Governor’s announcement the venue of the luncheon has been changed to the Marriott Hotel Ballroom.

Of course, this kind of secrecy stokes our curiosity and speculation. No one’s talking, but we’re guessing that the announcement has something to do with downtown. Anyway, business reporter Kathleen Cooper will be there and we’ll get a report up asap. (Nothing like a little mystery to make sure the local newspaper sends a reporter to cover your speech.)

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