Chapman: Lawmakers making quick progress on rural jobs
February 12, 2018 | By Rep. Mike Chapman
Rural manufacturing tax break gets hearing on Feb. 16
OLYMPIA—Legislation to help create jobs and boost development in timber and farm country is moving forward in the House and Senate, said Rep. Mike Chapman (D-Port Angeles), leader of the rural development effort in the House.
“We’re working with lawmakers from both parties in the House and Senate on new ideas and new partnership to help small towns and rural Washington,” Chapman said. “Families and small businesses in every corner of our state are working hard and deserve a chance to thrive.”
Helping small businesses is a major focus of this effort, Chapman said. Two key tax reforms are moving in the House:
- House Bill 2947 helps rural manufacturers by cutting their state Business and Occupation taxes and that legislation will receive a public hearing in the House Finance Committee at 8 a.m. on Feb. 16.
- House Bill 2940 would have small businesses pay no state Business & Occupation taxes and that legislation already passed the Finance Committee.
Other parts of the rural agenda have already passed the House, the Senate or both.
- High skills, high wages— House Bill 2177 offers scholarships at rural community colleges for high-demand, high-pay fields. This legislation passed House 98-0.
- Tourism and outdoor recreation—Farm counties, coastal fishing communities and logging towns are all increasingly relying on tourism and outdoor recreation. Senate Bill 5251 creates and funds a state tourism board. It passed the Senate 47-0 and is now being considered by the House, which had an identical companion bill.
- Affordable child care–The high price of child care is holding back many rural communities, with working moms and dads finding it increasingly hard to find high-quality care they can afford. To tackle this, House Democrats proposing a child care collaborative task force (House Bill 2367) to create a public-private partnership that brings everyone to the table—parents, businesses, non-profits, child care workers and other stakeholders—to work on innovative solutions. It passed the House 69-29. The House also passed House Bill 2396 on a 84-13 vote to tackle the issue of affordable childcare.
- Water—Senate Bill 6091 protects waterways and fish while allowing property owners to build in a responsible way. It passed the House and Senate and was signed by Gov. Jay Inslee.
“I’m encouraged by the progress we’re making,” Chapman said. “What gives me more hope is how lawmakers, businesses and constituents back home are working together to share ideas and come up with solutions for families and businesses in every corner of the great state of Washington.”