Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Thank you for taking the time to read this brief legislative update. This week, I want to focus on job creation and the state economy. As you may have heard, the governor proposed increasing taxes again this year as a way to grow spending in the state budget. I believe we must grow jobs and opportunities in our state so that people working and contributing to the economy increase tax collections naturally.
This week, the House Republican and the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (SMCC) jobs and economy leaders, along with business owners from around Washington, hosted a press conference to discuss jobs. You can watch the press conference here.
House Republicans have focused squarely on policies that would free up capital businesses are holding onto, give employers more tax certainty and incentivize state-of-the-art high-tech research and development in rural counties to lure jobs, such as the production of the Boeing 777X carbon fiber wing.
I supported an economic package of bills last year focusing on reforming our workers' compensation system, streamlining government operations and permitting, placing a moratorium on rulemaking, identifying the specified economic impact of the many proposed state agency rules, and improving customer service for employers. Here are a few bills I think would go a long way to creating opportunities for our out-of-work friends and neighbors:
- Senate Bill 6045/ House Bill 2192 (Sen. Sharon Brown/Rep. Norma Smith) – Promoting economic development through enhancing transparency and predictability of state agency permitting and review processes. The bill reflects the state auditor's recommendations, published in December, on improving the timeliness and predictability of project permitting by state agencies. We want state agencies to serve businesses in a way that is helpful and timely. The sooner projects are started, the sooner people are put back to work.
- House Bill 2204 (Rep. Manweller) – Reestablishing the rural county sales and use tax exemption program. Manufacturers in counties with a population density of fewer than 100 residents per square mile (plus Island County), or 31 of 39 Washington counties, would be eligible to take advantage of this tax relief. The objective is to encourage private-sector investment, diversify state employment opportunities and create jobs in rural counties by reinstating the program for 10 years. This bill alone could encourage Boeing to locate some of its carbon fiber wing work in a rural part of the state – which would be a blessing to those struggling under high unemployment.
- House Bill 2693 (Rep. Ed Orcutt) – Amending the definition of “commercial airplane” for specific tax preferences to include other types of commercial aircraft to encourage the migration of good-wage jobs in the state. The bill expands aerospace tax preferences to include engineering, manufacturing, and repairing of commercial rotorcraft as well as research and design pertaining to them. It's clear tax incentives work – that's why we held a special session last November to address certain tax preferences for our aerospace industry.
For a one-page brief on all of the economic solutions of Washington House Republicans, visit: https://houserepublicans.wa.gov/files/uploads/HouseRepublicanEconomicSolutions.pdf
Far too many people in our state are unemployed or underemployed. New and higher taxes stifle job creation, but job creation is what will lift up our economy so that we can provide the necessary funds for K-12 education and programs and services relied upon by the most vulnerable.
As always, please feel free to contact me with question and comments.