Tax incentive’s wage requirement will cost good jobs

Regarding the editorial regarding a business tax break (“Update tax break for Cascade Industrial Center jobs,” The Herald, Feb. 19):

Here’s a hypothetical: I am a manufacturer located in another state. State taxes and regulations have crippled my companies ability to make a profit, pay my 50 employees, and continue to invest in product innovations so my company can remain competitive. My employee positions range from college degree electronic design engineers to marginally educated warehouse workers.

Our company manufacturers high-precision digital widgets. We have two competitors making similar products in China and India. By all accounts, our company makes the highest quality digital widgets, with features the competitive products can’t yet match. My company is looking for a new location where both our company and our 50 employees can thrive. We came to the conclusion that the tax incentives offered with a relocation to the Arlington-Marysville business park would allow us to move into the future and remain competitive.

We now learn that greedy politicians want to move the goal post. We determined that we could meet the $18-an-hour minimum wage and still offer health coverage. Now we learn the new goal will be $23 an hour. The $23 requirement, with health care, causes me to rethink a proposed move to Arlington. We simply can’t pay our warehouse workers, facility maintenance staff and janitorial staff $23 an hour. In the aggregate, those workers comprise 16 percent of our total payroll. Sixteen percent of my payroll, earning $23 an hour, cuts my profit margin by 31 percent. At that rate, I can no longer invest in future product development and my competitors will continue to innovate and I will soon be out of business.

I must now consider the states of Texas or Nevada. Many of the very best high-tech companies are already relocating to these business-friendly locations. Snohomish County job seekers, the cities of Arlington, Merysville and the state of Washington will be the losers.

John Branthoover


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