Topic: tax breaks
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November 9, 2013 at 12:05 PM
Update| 3:12 p.m.
OLYMPIA — It’s a wrap. The Legislature on Saturday afternoon approved extending tax incentives worth more than $8 billion for Boeing until 2040.
Along with the tax package, lawmakers voted to spend millions of dollars on worker-training programs and an effort to ease permitting for large aerospace-manufacturing sites.
The bills now go to Gov. Jay Inslee.
Lawmakers will adjourn Saturday afternoon without taking up a transportation package, another issue Boeing had wanted to be handled quickly.
“This is a generational opportunity,” said Senate Ways and Means Chairman Andy Hill, R-Redmond. “This is about our aerospace economy.”
The training measure, SB 5953, passed unanimously and the tax-incentive bill, SB 5952, was approved 42-2.
Democratic Sens. Bob Hasegawa, of Renton, and Adam Kline, of Seattle voted no. Hasegawa was the only senator to raise significant objections during the floor debate.
“I have a philosophical issue with putting this economic development strategy on the backs of the Machinists,” he said. “We’re asking them to sacrifice the future of the next generation of Boeing workers. That is not a sustainable economic development strategy for the state.”
Boeing wants the Machinists union to accept a new eight-year contract with big cuts in future pension and health-care benefits to secure the 777X for Washington state. That union approval could prove troublesome, given the early reviews of the Boeing proposal.
In addition, the company wants the Legislature to boost training for aerospace workers and approve tax incentives worth more than $8 billion.
The company has also stressed that it wants lawmakers to approve a multi-billion dollar transportation package.
Inslee called the special session, which started Thursday, to fulfill the state’s side of the bargain.
There’s companion legislation to the Senate bills in the state House. Legislative leaders said they hope to have final passage of both measures by early afternoon.
The aerospace-training bill, among other things, would spend $8 million to increase high-demand aerospace enrollments by the equivalent of 1,000 additional full-time students for the 2014-15 academic year.
“It is the intent of the Legislature that this funding be ongoing or until there is no longer a demonstrated need,” according to a bill report.
The tax-incentives measure extends commercial-airplane tax breaks — due to expire in 2024 — until 2040 and expands a sales-and-use tax exemption for construction of buildings used to manufacture airplanes.
Legislative leaders in both chambers said there’s no prospect of an agreement on a transportation package Saturday, however it wasn’t immediately clear if the Legislature plans to adjourn Saturday or remain in session while transportation negotiators work to reach agreement.
April 15, 2013 at 5:27 PM
A new Stuart Elway poll found that a slight majority of voters surveyed, 51 percent, don’t consider eliminating tax breaks to be a “tax increase.”
However, 56 percent of the people polled felt that continuing an existing tax due to expire is the same thing as a tax increase.
Both Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee and House Democrats have proposed a combination of extending existing taxes and closing tax breaks to put more than $1 billion into education to meet a state Supreme Court mandate.
Elway , in his report, said that “A plausible explanation for these distinctions is that the question about closing tax breaks specifically mentioned industry tax breaks, whereas the question about extending temporary taxes did not specify who was paying the tax.”
The poll surveyed 409 registered voters earlier this month and has margin of error of plus or minus 5 percent.
March 13, 2013 at 11:23 AM
OLYMPIA — The governor’s office has indicated for awhile it’s leaning toward closing certain tax breaks to meet a state Supreme Court demand to pump more money into education.
But Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee made his strongest case yet this session on TVW Wednesday morning.
“We clearly need to make significant investments that have been ordered by the state Supreme Court. We will make a proposal on how to make a downpayment on that this year. We’ll be proposing closing some tax loopholes to make a downpayment in that regard instead of general tax increases on people,” Inslee said. “We think it’s better to have fairness in our tax system.”
When the TVW interviewer suggested that wasn’t what he said when he ran for office, Inslee strongly disagreed.
“It’s exactly what I said during the election on about 100 occasions from day one,” he said. “I was very clear that the way we should move forward to fund our schools and improve our education is rather than from general new taxes we ought to in fact close some of these illicit, unwarranted, obsolete, unfair corporate loopholes that are putting the burden on regular consumers and people going to work rather than corporations that ought to be picking up their fair share.”
Inslee did talk repeatedly during the campaign about scrutinizing special business tax breaks but was vague about which exemptions he might target. He did not mention specifics on Wednesday.
The governor’s office is expected to come out with a budget proposal later this month, around the time that the GOP-led Senate comes out with its plan for closing a roughly $1 billion — and possibly larger – shortfall, as well as meet Supreme Court demands for education funding.
State lawmakers have often talked about getting rid of tax breaks to raise money, but have never succeeded.
I wrote last year about a tax break the Legislature approved more than 70 years ago that provided a property-tax exemption for out-of state-municipalities that own airports in neighboring Washington. No such thing exists anymore.
A state review panel in 2009 recommended it be eliminated. Yet that tax exemption still exists, along with several others the panel suggested ending, including millions of dollars in tax breaks on certain interstate-commerce activities, and a special property-tax exemption for nonprofit orphanages.
Theoretically, eliminating tax breaks should be easier this year because it no longer takes a two-thirds vote in the state House and Senate to increase taxes, or eliminate tax breaks. The state Supreme Court earlier this month overturned a law requiring supermajority votes to increase taxes, ruling it unconstitutional.
Even so, anybody who benefits from current tax breaks can be expected to show up in force if the lawmakers try to get rid of them. That’s why those efforts have stalled in the past.
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