Braun supports incentives for aerospace, insists on transportation reform before revenue

Sen. John Braun supported measures passed by the Legislature today that will encourage growth in the state’s aerospace industry and give Boeing more incentive to produce its new 777X aircraft in Washington.

Although he remains concerned about state government showing favoritism toward certain large employers, Braun is convinced this legislation is in the best interest of everyone in the state. According to the state’s Office of Financial Management, the $8.7 billion tax investment approved for the aerospace industry would produce $21.3 billion in new state revenues over the period of 2024-40.

“Landing the thousands of family-wage jobs associated with Boeing’s 777X project, which is the primary motive behind the legislation we approved today, will positively impact the economy in every corner of our state,” said Braun, R-Centralia. “Employers ranging from subcontractors to small service businesses will benefit.”

Braun is disappointed by Gov. Jay Inslee’s attempt to pressure lawmakers into adopting a transportation-funding package during the three-day special session that concluded today. Legislative leaders are still negotiating about a set of transportation bills, Braun said, and Boeing had not even requested that the Legislature pass a transportation plan as a prerequisite for manufacturing its 777X in Washington.

“It is unacceptable to short-circuit the important work we’re doing on transportation,” said Braun. “The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus traveled to 10 cities around the state, during September and October, gathering ideas and input from the public on what they expect from the state in transportation. We received a lot of input, and are now in the process of developing a plan for transportation, but it takes time to get it right. I’m not going to rush something through the Legislature that is not well thought out.”

Braun expects the Senate will unveil a transportation package during the regular 2014 legislative session that puts reforms before revenue.

“By then, we’ll have a plan that will address inefficiencies within the Department of Transportation, reduce costs and provide greater accountability within the department,” said Braun. “I believe we need significant reforms before asking the public asking for more transportation funding. It’s the right thing to do.”