On Tuesday afternoon this week, legislators learned that we were being called back to Olympia for a special session to pass a package of aerospace bills, primarily to secure the production of the Boeing 777X in Washington State. The special session began on Thursday.
We are considering legislation that would extend tax incentives for the aerospace industry, provide education and workforce development for aerospace workers, streamline permitting, and possibly consider a transportation package.
The plan is to vote on two bills on Saturday. The first, House Bill 2088, concerns the training and permitting issues. The second, House Bill 2089, provides the aerospace tax incentives. The governor wants legislative action completed on the bills before the machinists’ union votes on a contract with Boeing next week.
Frankly, I am disappointed by the lack of transparency and deliberation in this process. There should be ample time for legislators and the public to discuss, amend, and challenge prospective laws and spending decisions. In this case, the special session came as a total surprise, and it feels all too rushed.
Even so, we should do what we can to keep the aerospace industry and other advanced manufacturing in Washington state. Our aerospace industry goes beyond Boeing. It is a huge part of our state’s economy. Our own local economy depends on aerospace jobs at companies like Boeing and Toray Composites in Fredrickson. We should continue to build our local aerospace industry training programs at Clover Park Technical College’s South Hill Campus at Thun Field and the Pierce County Skills Center in Fredrickson. The photo above shows a recent groundbreaking for the next phase of construction on the Skills Center.
Just as importantly, we need to improve the business climate for all employers in Washington. During the 2014 legislative session, we need to include our job creators, large and small, in a bold legislative effort to make Washington more business-friendly.
State Representative Hans Zeiger
25th Legislative District
Olympia Office (January-April)
468 John L. O’Brien Building – P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7968 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000