Dear Friends and Neighbors,
On Tuesday, Nov. 5, Gov. Jay Inslee held a press conference to call the Legislature into a special session to address issues impacting our state's aerospace industry. The special session began on Thursday, Nov. 7, and two days later the Legislature passed two bills:
- House Bill 2088 – addressing additional investment in workforce development, training and speeding up project permitting; specifically for the efficiency for expansion of the Boeing 777X production facility; and
- Senate Bill 5952 – providing a tax incentive for Boeing in Washington.
While these measures were rushed through the process, I voted in favor of both bills because:
- The aerospace industry is an important sector of our state's economy – today and in the future.
- This isn't just about Boeing – it's also about the advanced manufacturing and production sectors of our economy.
- We know other states are recruiting our employers and we must make sure our state is competitive when major business decisions are made.
- If this special session results in making our state's business climate more favorable for years to come, it can be held up as a significant bipartisan accomplishment.
- Job creation has always been a priority of mine and the House Republican Caucus. We hope this will lead to a broader discussion of tax incentives and streamlined permitting that should be looked at for other industries, in addition to the aerospace industry.
The bottom line and main reason I supported these measures is: jobs are about you, your neighbor and others in our communities. It's about people. If Boeing leaves, not only are those jobs lost, but the trickle down will impact each and every one of us. Some more than others, but it will affect the overall health of our state's economy.
Jobs are more than numbers counted by our state agencies. It means a husband or wife is going to work every day – not having to worry about putting food on the table, clothes on the backs of their children, or making house payments to ensure there is a roof over their family's head. My “yes” vote was to help ensure families in our state will continue to meet the needs of their households.
While I supported the two measures, it wasn't without reservations. I think it is important to point out some serious concerns about the bills and the special session process. First the special session began on Thursday; committees held public hearings and voted on the bills Friday, the full House and Senate voted on Saturday and the governor signed the bills Monday. The public deserves more time to understand and weigh in on the proposed legislation. Our legislative process should be inclusive, not exclusive; deliberative, not rushed. This legislation should have been taken as an opportunity to help all employers across our state and improve our overall job market and economy. Unfortunately, it was written so tightly we could not even have an amendment considered that would have allowed a rotary wing company to take advantage of the tax incentive, which could have meant increased jobs to economically depressed regions in Washington.
I am hopeful those who have opposed our jobs and economy measures in the past will now be more receptive to our proposals since they are similar to those the Legislature passed in order to help keep Boeing and other companies in Washington. I am sure other businesses in Washington state would find them equally helpful.
Transportation tax revenue package
The governor had also hoped to pass a transportation tax package (gas tax and other transportation fees) for current and new projects around the state. Rumors continue to circulate about whether a fourth special session will be called.
Machinist vote 'no' on Boeing contract
On the Wednesday after the special session, the machinists union voted against the proposed Boeing contract so it is difficult to say what will happen with Boeing and the 777X at this point, but this is certainly not over. Boeing has indicated they do not expect to make a decision on the 777X for approximately three months. That said, I believe it goes to show we need to improve our business climate in Washington more than ever. I am hopeful and willing to do all I can to ensure something will be worked out. We cannot afford businesses leaving this great state. We need jobs, good family-wage jobs, in all parts of Washington state.
Thank you all for your time and attention to all of these matters. I appreciate you all so much!