Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On Thursday Gov. Inslee called the Legislature to a special session. We are in Olympia to vote on a package of bills that are part of a broad bid to persuade Boeing to build the advanced composite wings and fuselage of its new 777x in Washington state.
Boeing and the entire aerospace industry are crucial to our economy. Boeing is the largest private employer in Washington. The 777x project will, according to the governor’s office, “support more than 56,000 jobs and generate an estimated $21.3 billion…over 16 years.” Many of those jobs and much of that economic stimulus will be felt in the 5th District.
So, what is it we’re voting on?
First, we’re extending commercial airplane tax incentives until 2040, and expanding tax exemptions for constructing the buildings necessary to manufacture the 777x.
Second, we’re reducing red tape for plant expansion and new development – for Boeing itself and for its manufacturing suppliers.
Third, we’re expanding training for aerospace jobs. Of particular interest to us in the 5th District is the $5 million slated to complete the Central Sound Aerospace Training Facility in Renton, which will equip workers with the skills they need in the aerospace industry.
I intend to vote in favor of these measures because of the huge benefit we’ll see in jobs and economic activity. But I have to tell you, it troubles me that our state’s business climate has become so uncompetitive that it takes extraordinary measures to convince Boeing to build an airplane here. The truth is that we pay more attention to customers who can take their business elsewhere, and so Boeing now has our undivided attention. But what of those who are less mobile? Are they any less important? You are all the customers of state government. You pay the taxes, and you create the jobs. The government should be much more aware of – and responsive to – the needs of the people responsible for economic growth.
Finally, the governor says he’d like to get a transportation funding plan done in this special session, even though it’s not considered an essential component of the Boeing deal. It remains to be seen if that can happen. I’m all for improving our transportation system and relieving traffic congestion, but I’d like to see our priorities reflected in the right set of projects and some meaningful reforms to make sure your tax dollars are used more efficiently. Frankly, that won’t happen without a bipartisan negotiation, and that negotiation will likely take more than the 48 hours he’s left us.
As always, I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com. Thank you and have a great weekend!
427 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7876 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000