The first bill to pass the Washington House this year is an $861 million general obligation bond measure, and Treasurer Jim McIntire immediately came out against it, saying it would hurt the state’s credit rating.
The JOBS Act of 2010, approved Wednesday, would ask voters to authorize the bonds, which would be used to fund energy-efficiency repairs and improvements to schools and universities around the state.
The sponsor, Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, said the measure would effectively pay for itself because it would eventually save taxpayers $190 million annually on energy costs. In the meantime, it would create 38,000 construction jobs.
Voters would have to approve the measure because it would take the state above its constitutional and statutory debt limits.
That’s why McIntire is opposed to the bill his fellow Democrats shepherded through the House. He said the bill would threaten the state’s ratings, currently AA from Fitch Ratings, Aa1 from Moody’s Investors Service, and AA-plus from Standard & Poor’s.
“I commend Rep. Dunshee for his innovative thinking around these important issues,” McIntire said in a statement. “I believe that we can achieve the same objectives within existing capital resources — and create more jobs this year and next — without going to the voters to approve bonds that are beyond the debt limit.”
The bill now moves to the Senate.