On the final day of a hastily-called special session, members of the Washington State Legislature passed several bills designed to attract and retain large aerospace companies through economic incentives and workforce-training measures. Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, says while she’s concerned about the urgency with which Gov. Jay Inslee called the special session – the third of 2013 – she’s pleased that the outcome is expected to create tens of thousands of new jobs.
“The governor called us back to Olympia so that we could create a better business environment for companies like Boeing and others,” Bailey said. “That company – one of the largest private employers in the state – has indicated that it will site a new 777X-assembly facility and wing-development facility here in Washington once the Machinists union ratifies its new contract. Governor Inslee wanted to sweeten the pot even further by providing some additional economic incentives. He can’t do that without legislative approval; however, it’s hard to argue with the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs.”
Bailey, who represents the 10th District, says Senate Bill 5952, which passed the Senate 42-2, and Senate Bill 5953, which passed the Senate unanimously, will extend tax exemptions for aerospace companies through 2040. In addition, the measures would set aside funds for 1,000 new enrollments in high-demand aerospace programs.
“Boeing already employs about 85,000 Washington workers full-time, and that number grows exponentially when you start including the jobs provided by third-party subcontractors and other supplemental employers around the state,” Bailey added. “With the number of veterans returning to Washington looking for work, it’s a great opportunity to help them and their families – and particularly appropriate that we’re doing it on Veterans Day weekend.
“When we come back to Olympia in January, we’ll need to start looking at ways to expand these kinds of tax incentives to other industries outside of aerospace,” Bailey continued. “Today’s votes are an endorsement of the underlying policy, and now we need to provide other kinds of tax certainty to other businesses so they can grow and create jobs as well.”
If approved by the House, SB 5952 and SB 5953 could be signed by the governor as early as today.