During a short special session of the Washington State Legislature, lawmakers passed two bills that are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs related to the state’s aerospace industry. Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, who was returned to the position by voters in Washington’s 8th Legislative District on Nov. 5, says she supported the measures because of the positive economic effect they will have on the Tri-Cities and the state as a whole, noting that businesses in Benton County receive almost $6 million each year in support from the Boeing Company.
“I don’t believe it was necessary for the governor to call another special session, especially since legislators are already scheduled to be in Olympia in late November. In addition, it’s important that we extend these kinds of benefits to all businesses in this state,” said Brown. “That’s why I co-sponsored two amendments which would have extended these benefits to all employers. It is extremely important that we support all businesses, not just one or two.”
Senate Bill 5952, which passed the Senate 42-2, and Senate Bill 5953, which passed unanimously, would extend aerospace tax incentives industry-wide from 2024 to 2040. In addition, the state would set aside funds for 1,000 new enrollments in high-demand aerospace programs. Brown said passing these bills now was the right thing to do; however, she’s looking forward to expanding upon the two bills come January.
“When the 2014 session begins, I’ll have proposals that would extend these kinds of tax incentives to other statewide industries beyond just aerospace,” Brown added. “The votes we took during this special session were clearly an endorsement of the concept that when businesses pay less tax, it largely results in an increase in job opportunities and an improvement in economic conditions. We need to extrapolate what we’ve done here with aerospace and take it to the next logical level.”
“Additionally, with the passage of these bills, we’ll be creating a highly-skilled workforce that will be prepared to fill these new opportunities when they graduate from our community and technical colleges,” Brown continued. “More educational opportunities in a high-demand field and more job opportunities for our citizens…who could say no to that kind of investment?”
If approved by the House, SB 5952 and SB 5953 could be signed by the governor as early as today.