Governor rejects statewide manufacturing jobs

Sen. John Braun shared great disappointment that Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed legislation that supports middle-class families by improving job opportunities in the manufacturing sector throughout the state. The Legislature overwhelmingly approved a new state budget that included a uniform statewide business and occupation tax rate for manufacturing businesses, the only sector that has seen employment decline since 2000.

“While many areas of our economy have been successful in recent years, Washington has lost more than 50,000 manufacturing jobs since the turn of the century,” said Braun, R-Centralia, who serves as chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and lead Senate budget negotiator. “Not only are these jobs critical to rural and suburban economies, but they provide high wages for working families. Failure to invest in the success of our state’s middle-class families would be a major disappointment and rejection of a statewide economy that works for everyone.”

The current business and occupation tax rate for manufacturing businesses is 0.484%, which under the plan was reduced to .2904%, the rate currently provided to Boeing and other aerospace companies. The change was part of the overall compromise on a new state operating budget, which included closure of some existing tax incentives and added other incentives aimed at protecting or creating new jobs.

“It’s unbelievable that the governor would go back on a complex budget agreement that received strong bipartisan support,” said Braun. “The governor’s staff was involved in every step of the negotiation and at no point prior to the bill’s passage did they suggest the governor would veto part of the agreement. Negotiating a budget is already an enormously difficult process that requires working in good faith. Vetoing part of the agreement will seriously undermine our ability to govern.”

Manufacturing employment has declined by 51,600 since 2000, with 47,700 of those jobs outside the aerospace sector.

The legislation was approved by a margin of 33-16 in the Senate and 83-10 in the House of Representatives, a margin high enough for lawmakers to override the governor’s veto.