Revoking Boeing’s low tax rate would be a revenue windfall

Day 44 of 60 of the 2020 session of the Washington Legislature in Olympia.

Revoking Boeing’s low tax rate would be a revenue windfall

2020 Washington Legislature, Day 44 of 60

Everett Herald political reporter Jerry Cornfield: | @dospueblos

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OLYMPIA, Feb. 25, 2020 — Things are getting real around here — as they should with 16 days remaining in the regular legislative session.

On Monday, House and Senate leaders released their respective blueprints for spending in supplemental operating budgets. Both found ways to spend an additional billion dollars — which is pretty much every new dollar generated through the economy since lawmakers wrapped up the 2019 session.

You can get a sense of the proposals in stories by Jim Camden of The Spokesman-Review, Joseph O’Sullivan of The Seattle Times and Rachel La Corte of The Associated Press. Or, if you like reading budget documents, you can find them all here.

Here’s something unusual: Neither budget is counting on revenue from the elimination of a tax break for the Boeing Co. and the rest of the aerospace industry.

Boeing requested that its preferential tax rate be taken away to help resolve a trade dispute involving the European Union and the World Trade Organization, a conflict that threatens to bring tariffs on all kinds of Washington products as early as summer.

The fiscal note estimates this change could bring in $134 million this budget cycle and $229 million in the next biennium. That’s a lot of dough for Democrats to not book. Maybe this deal isn’t completely cooked yet. We could get a better idea today, at 8 a.m., when House Bill 2945, the legislation repealing the tax break, is considered by the House Finance Committee.

Also on the committee agenda is a hearing on a new version of a ban on high capacity gun magazines. This one, HB 2947, includes a buyback program funded by eliminating a tax break for sales of precious metals and bullion.

What we’re writing and reading

• Guess who won’t be voting in the presidential primary? Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman, writes Jim Brunner of The Seattle Times.

• While we’re on the subject of politics, if it seems like Seattle and the King County metro area are getting bluer, they are. Gene Balk, the FYI Guy of The Seattle Times, explains why.

Redistricting is coming and it is going to be a big deal. Crosscut’s Melissa Santos looks at legislative efforts to make the process in Washington more open to the public and less at risk to gerrymandering.

• Those signing up for the state’s new paid family leave program are waiting longer and longer to receive benefits, reports AP’s Rachel La Corte.

• Environmentalists, farmers, tribal leaders and public utility officials are anxiously awaiting a federal report on Snake River dams due Friday, writes Julia-Grace Sanders of The Herald.

What’s happening

Republican leaders of the House and Senate hold their weekly confab with reporters at 10 a.m. Likely they’ll have a few things to say about the budgets crafted by Democrats.

• Senate Democrats are releasing their supplemental transportation budget. Look for it online in the morning.

• A plastic bag ban bill is up for a vote in the House environment committee at 3:30 p.m.

Here is today’s lineup of committee hearings.

Legislative agendas, schedules and calendars


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Beat reporters: Jerry Cornfield (Herald) | Rachel La Corte (AP) | Joseph O’Sullivan (Times) | Jim Brunner (Times) | Melissa Santos (Crosscut) | Jim Camden (Spokesman-Review) | Austin Jenkins (NW News Network) | James Drew (News Tribune)

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