Goal: Incentivize job creation in counties with highest unemployment to ‘spread the wealth’ of Puget Sound prosperity
OLYMPIA…Sen. Steve O’Ban’s bill that would incentivize job growth in Washington counties with the highest unemployment by providing a $275-per-employee ‘job tax credit’ on new jobs will be heard during the meeting of the Senate Financial Institutions, Economic Development and Trade Committee at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, in Senate Hearing Room 2.
The idea for Senate Bill 5215 came out of the battle in Seattle over what was known as the ‘head tax.’ Seattle City Council imposed a new, unpopular tax on businesses based on the number of jobs they created. Protests by small-business owners, steelworkers and even Amazon itself provided proof that the tax would cost the area much-needed jobs.
Many of Washington’s counties gladly would have welcomed any of the jobs driven out of Seattle by the head tax. O’Ban, R-University Place, recognized that if a tax on jobs discouraged job creation, offering a credit would likely create jobs.
“Some of our counties are really struggling economically and we need to take action to motivate employers to locate closer to the rural workforce,” said O’Ban. “It’s fantastic that the Puget Sound has had so much growth, but we should spread opportunity and offer hope to every corner of Washington.
“In addition to an eager workforce, these counties have lower taxes, lower costs of living and far less traffic and crime than the bigger cities,” added O’Ban. “We have nothing to lose by offering this incentive. It only applies to new jobs – not existing ones.”
To be eligible for the credit, a job must be a new position created after July 1, 2019, and it must be in a county where the unemployment rate is at least 25 percent higher than the statewide unemployment rate. Also to qualify, a job must pay at least the average annual wage for that county.