By Evan Smith
Democratic State Sen. Marko Liias is leading a bipartisan group of legislators, including Democratic State Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, in calling for a task force to encourage research and development in the state.
Liias joined with McAuliffe and 10 other legislators last week to ask Gov. Jay Inslee to form a task force to study and make recommendations to the Legislature on the need for tax incentives to encourage innovation.
“Next January, for the first time in two decades, our state will no longer support research and development through our tax policy,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Inslee. “We believe that this is short-sighted, and we believe that the costs of inaction are too grave to allow this to happen.”
The group cited the example of Texas, which they said, encountered immediate and negative consequences after suspending tax incentives for innovation, but after reinstating incentives, Texas went on to build a successful innovation sector.
Washington’s new task force would be based on a proposal in a Senate bill, which passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support in the recent legislative session.
Another Democrat and a Republican from the Senate and five Democrats and a Republican from the House joined Liias and McAuliffe in signing the letter including legislators from Auburn, Ellensburg, Issaquah, Kirkland, Mercer Island, Seattle and Vancouver.
“Our state’s past investment in innovation and global leadership in health and technology has fired our economy, created new industries, and generated family wage jobs for Washingtonians,” Liias said. “We need to make sure we continue to invest in our future, and the task force can map out the best ways to accomplish that.”
Liias represents the 21st Legislative District, including most of Edmonds, unincorporated areas north of Edmonds and Lynnwood and northeast of Lynnwood, all of Mukilteo and part of south Everett. He is a member of the Senate committee on trade and economic development, a member of the Transportation Committee and ranking minority member of the committee on natural resources and parks.
McAuliffe represents the 1st Legislative District, including most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell, part of Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland. She is ranking minority member of the Senate committee on early learning and K-12 education, and a member of the committee on higher education.