Sen. Sharon Brown, the state Senate’s leading advocate for jobs and economic development, voiced outrage today at Gov. Jay Inslee’s veto of a tax incentive aimed at spurring economic growth and increasing manufacturing jobs.
“Since I came to the Senate, attracting employers to Washington and helping them create jobs has been one of my top priorities,” said Brown, R-Kennewick. “This provision would have brought the business-tax rates for all of our state’s manufacturers in line with that enjoyed by Boeing; it would have brought Boeing into compliance with the World Trade Organization; and it was a crucial component of the Legislature’s new hard-fought budget deal.
“For the governor to veto this effort is ‘morally repugnant.’ It is unconscionable that he would put special interests and petty politics ahead of men and women all over this state, who are looking to Olympia to help create good, family-wage jobs.”
Substitute Senate Bill 5977, which passed the Senate 33 to 16 and the House 83 to 10 as part of the final budget agreement lawmakers adopted June 30, provides $15.7 million in tax relief ($97 million over four years). The measure includes new or expanded tax preferences that are mostly directed toward job creation in rural communities. The provision vetoed by Inslee would have given all Washington manufacturers the lower business-and-occupation tax rate paid by Boeing and other manufacturers in the aerospace industry. The 40-percent rate reduction aimed to shore up non-aerospace manufacturing and also settle a World Trade Organization complaint that Boeing has an unfair advantage over European manufacturers.
Brown sponsored the successful Invest in Washington Jobs Act, which is also aimed at spurring job growth in the manufacturing sector. She called today’s veto “reckless” and warned that the governor’s affinity for taxes on capital, small business and energy would damage the reputation of the state, deter businesses from coming to Washington and further tarnish Inslee’s legacy.
“If he wants to go down as the most anti-jobs governor in Washington state history, he’s making one heck of a case with what he did today,” said Brown of Inslee. “Not only is he hurting families in rural Washington who need these manufacturing jobs, he is also poisoning the well for future negotiations.”
Brown, who as a vice chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee was one of the chief budget negotiators, pointed out how vital trust is to reaching agreement on many of the issues facing the Legislature.
“A lack of trust is part of why reaching agreement on tough issues is so difficult,” said Brown. “The governor’s people were in the room while the budget deal was being negotiating. No one ever pointed to this tax relief as unacceptable, as shown by the broad bipartisan vote the bill received in both the House and the Senate.
“To take a deal where both sides made concessions and blow it up, without warning, only makes it more difficult to reach a compromise in the future.”
She added, “It’s Exhibit A of why a fix to the Hirst ruling denying families access to water and use of their property must be addressed first, before moving on to other legislative priorities.
“After today, everyone can see why ‘trust me’ will not cut it.”