Budget deal gives tax break to Darigold

SEATTLE — The budget deal approved last week in Olympia includes a new half-million dollar tax break for Washington state’s largest private company, Darigold.

The dairy-production company, which brought in nearly $2.5 billion in revenue last year, says it is considering building an infant-formula plant but can’t go forward if formula exported from the state is subject to the state business-and-occupation tax, The Seattle Times reported in Saturday’s newspaper, (http://is.gd/FCddXK ).

One prominent Seattle lawmaker highlighted the break this week as an example of the unscrutinized items that get into budget deals at the last minute.

Rep. Reuven Carlyle, who chairs the House Finance Committee, mentioned on his Facebook page the Darigold tax-break and several others as part of the “give and take” of final budget negotiations.

Carlyle wrote that he wishes the Legislature had vetted tax breaks more fully.

Lawmakers approved 16 tax breaks worth roughly $13?million over the budget’s two years, benefiting beekeepers, dance clubs, nonprofit gun clubs, international investment firms and others, as part of an operating budget that put an additional $1 billion into K-12 education.

Carlyle and others say those tax breaks were the price the Republican-led Senate demanded to end a break for residential phone service that’s expected to net about $85 million over the two years.

Top Senate GOP budget negotiator Andy Hill said “the final deal was made up of a lot of moving parts.”

Hill, of Redmond, noted negotiators were contending with a June 30 deadline to reach an agreement on an operating budget to avoid a government shutdown that would have started Monday absent a deal.

But he said that the tax breaks had already been introduced — and in many cases, were sponsored by Democrats.

Hill said the Darigold break was meant as an incentive to get a new plant built in Washington, thus creating jobs.

Steven Rowe, a senior vice president at Darigold, said the break was critical to the company’s hope of expanding its formula business by partnering with another firm on a new plant.

“Without the B&O tax component, there’s no way they’d do it. They’d just go to Idaho or Oregon,” said Rowe, although he emphasized no agreement for a new plant is in place.

Helping business helps the state, he said.

“This very small economic impact to the budget line is ridiculous — ridiculous compared to the value that will return to the state over the long term,” he said. “Bottom line, this was a very wise move for the Legislature and for the state.”

Carlyle said that might be the case. But, he said, it’s hard to know because the bill was not fully examined before being put into the budget as part of last-minute negotiations.

“In the dark hours of the end of the session, the Senate demanded new tax exemptions that were just put into the budget. They were not vetted,” he said. “I think the taxpayers deserve better.”

More in Local News

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Agency didn’t expect such big demand for needle clean-up kits

The Snohomish Health District ran out of supplies quickly, but more are arriving daily.

EvCC teachers take their contract concerns to the board

Their union says negotiations have been disappointingly slow. The community college isn’t commenting.

Here’s what to do if you want to vote and aren’t registered

Oct. 30 is the deadline for new-voter registration in time for the November election.

Two teens struck by truck in Lynnwood

The teens, between the ages of 14 and 16, were taken to the hospital as a precaution.

Luring attempt reported in Mountlake Terrace

The driver allegedly instructed a boy to get in the truck and help grab a scooter he was giving away.

Injured hiker rescued near Granite Falls

Woman fell and hit her head on a rock Saturday, and her condition worsened overnight.

Council passes six-month moratorium on safe injection sites

Proposal by County Councilman Nate Nehring passed unanimously.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

Most Read