The state Legislature gave final approval to Senate Bill 6068, sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, and co-sponsored by her seatmates, Reps. Alex Ybarra, R-Quincy, and Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake. The bill keeps proven tax incentives for large airplanes undergoing modification work in Washington.
Hundreds of family-wage jobs will continue thanks to the tax policy. The nonpartisan Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee tested the original 2013 tax preference, showing it had attracted an entire industry to the state.
“Our community is the perfect place for this kind of work,” Warnick said. “People may not know that the Grant County airport has one of the biggest airfields in the world. We have a highly-skilled workforce, inexpensive and abundant energy and lots of space to meet the needs of this global industry that is calling Washington home. I’m hopeful that this policy will continue to attract talent and economic opportunity to the district and state.”
Public testimony to support the legislation noted that only a handful of companies in the world do the repair, maintenance and modification work now being performed in the 13th District. Failing to extend this slate of tax preferences would prompt an exodus of hundreds of jobs.
“What people once thought of as a desert community is quickly becoming a thriving aviation and aerospace oasis,” said Ybarra. “This bill will give a much-needed boost to this sector of our economy—bringing more jobs and higher wages to our region. I’m glad to have been a part of making this happen.”
Under the legislation, large aircraft owned by nonresidents that are undergoing work in Washington would be exempt from registration fees and sales and use tax; an aircraft excise tax would be paid in lieu of a property tax.
“This is a huge deal for Grant County and Washington state as we continue to become a global hub for aviation and aerospace. This legislation will help us continue down that path and make these sectors even stronger in our region,” said Dent. “This will assist us in growing our economic development as we increase employment in aviation-related industries in this region.”
The bill was approved with a near-unanimous vote in the Legislature. It awaits the governor’s signature.