WASHINGTON STATE

HOUSE DEMOCRATS

Chapman introduces major bills to boost Washington’s rural economy

OLYMPIA—Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) introduced five pieces of legislation the first week of the 2019 session, including two key bills to boost the economies of small towns and rural Washington.

“This is about creating opportunity and hope in timber and farm country,” Chapman said. “And it’s not a partisan issue. I make a point of never introducing a big bill unless there’s support from a Republican colleague in the House of Representatives, and I’m proud to say all of these bills have Republican co-sponsors.”

Here are a few details about the three bills aimed at boosting jobs in rural Washington:

  • Economic development and enterprise zones (House Bill 1324) — Under this legislation, the state would complement new federal laws offering a tax break in designated zones. The state portion of this idea would be tax credits to offset Business and Occupation taxes and insurance premium taxes to encourage new economic activity in rural development and opportunity zones.
  • Rural manufacturing (House Bill 1348) — This measure modifies the Business and Occupation tax structure for manufacturers to encourage economic growth and lower the unemployment rate across the state, especially in rural Washington.
  • Timber and manufacturing tax breaks (House Bill 1249) — This legislation is aimed at reducing the Business and Occupation tax for manufacturers and extending an existing tax break for the timber industry that is set to expire.

Chapman also introduced measures to help rural counties handle the costs of public defenders (House Bill 1086) and aid first informer broadcasters (House Bill 1147).

Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles) takes the oath of office with other lawmakers on the first day of the 2019 session. Photo courtesy of LSS.Chapman was also elected to House leadership, picked by his colleague to serve as Deputy Whip.

“It’s an honor to serve my colleagues in a leadership role in my second term as a member of the House,” Chapman said. “Serving others is a foundational value to me, whether it’s fellow lawmakers, the constituents I represent or my neighbors back home. I hope this new role can help us come together, as Democrats and Republicans from every corner of the state, to find common solutions to our common problems.”