Many benefits for Mid-Columbia in federal spending package
A federal fund that has helped pay for parks and pools in the Tri-Cities would be renewed for three years under the proposed spending deal worked out by bipartisan congressional leaders.
It’s one of several parts of the bill that would benefit Mid-Columbia interests.
The Land and Water Conservation Fund expired at the end of September for the first time after 50 years of bipartisan support. It would be renewed to take a small percentage of the money from the sale of the nation’s offshore oil and gas and reinvest it to preserve natural resources. The fund has paid not only to help preserve Mount Rainier National Park but to help pay for more modest projects like city pools in Richland and Kennewick, Columbia Park in Kennewick, Yakima River access and Sacajawea State Park.
▪ Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., got her provision to permanently extend the state and local sales tax deduction included in the spending proposal. About 900,000 Washington residents used the deduction in 2012 for an average savings of $602.
Most of the Department of Energy programs that support the research at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory would receive funding at the administration’s request or slightly above, according to the Tri-City Development Council.
▪ The nation’s small modular nuclear reactor program is fully funded in the bill, and appropriations were added for advanced reactor development, according to TRIDEC. Several Tri-City engineering firms are working on those projects.
▪ Country of Origin Labeling requirements would be replaced. This would help Mid-Columbia agricultural businesses avoid any retaliation by Canada or Mexico that would harm local agribusiness exports, TRIDEC said.