Sunnyside Senator to push for expanding tax breaks for businesses statewide

Senator Jim HoneyfordAfter approving two tax-preference bills designed to bolster the state’s aerospace industry, longtime state Sen. Jim Honeyford, R-Yakima, said he’s looking forward to continuing the trend of growing the state’s business community by offering tax incentives.

“The governor called us into a special session in order to pass two bills to keep Boeing in Washington, in exchange for retaining up to 56,000 jobs and creating tens of thousands of new jobs across the state,” said Honeyford, who represents the state’s 15th Legislative District. “That’s not an opportunity that we can just sit on, but I’m concerned about the appearance of the state playing favorites. Now that it’s been widely accepted that certain tax incentives can grow businesses in Washington and in turn provide jobs, I’m going to pursue expanding that policy to other areas beyond aerospace, such as agriculture and small businesses, and I already have a commitment from Boeing that it will help us work to expand these policies.”

The two bills passed Saturday – the third day of a short special session – were Senate Bills 5952 and 5953. SB 5952, which passed 42-2, would extend aerospace tax incentives industry-wide from 2024 to 2040. SB 5953, which passed unanimously, would set aside millions of dollars for 1,000 new enrollments in high-demand aerospace programs.

“Regardless of the haste with which Governor Inslee brought us all back to Olympia, the bottom line is that these bills send a clear message to what is arguably our state’s largest, most highly-coveted private employer: we want it to stay in business here in Washington and keep its workforce here as well,” Honeyford continued. “I can’t think of another opportunity like this since I started in public service more than 30 years ago.”

Honeyford noted that Yakima County has four aerospace businesses with combined employee payroll of over $24 million annually. Between the four establishments, 409 people are employed and 32 additional businesses are subcontracted.

If approved by the House of Representatives, SB 5952 and SB 5953 could be signed by the governor as early as today.