Last night, NBC Nightly News aired a short segment on how hard the recession is hitting Seattle. It’s quite depressing, especially amid the ever-gray skies …

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Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) is not unaware of this fact and, as I’ve mentioned previously, is trying to boost the state’s economy by putting monies toward major building projects and other job-creating ventures.

Yesterday, she announced a legislation package that focuses more concretely on the creation of “green jobs” — as well as lowering the state’s carbon footprint.

The legislation contains House Bill 1819 and its equivalent Senate Bill 5735. Both bills would implement a cap and trade system in partnership with six states and four Canadian provinces, which are part of a coalition called the Western Climate Initiative.

In addition to the cap and trade bill, a proposed $455 million will be invested for projects that emphasize energy efficiency and clean-energy technology. These investments would help support 2,900 jobs for the next two years, according to the Office of Financial Management.

There will be public hearings on both bills next Tuesday, and if passed, the cap-and trade-program would go into effect in 2012.

“This is an opportunity for us to kick-start our economy with transportation projects that are shovel-ready and with green jobs that are shovel-ready,” Gregoire said of the legislation. “You can’t wait to come out of a deep recession. It’s time for us to ready ourselves.”

She also noted that Congress is looking at similar legislation, but said Washington state could be a leader by moving forward now.

Always the optimist, Washington state Rep. Shelly Short, the ranking Republican on the Ecology and Parks Committee, had this to say about the proposed legislation: “I support green jobs, but how many of those blue collar jobs will we lose for green collar jobs?”