O’Ban property tax-exemption bill would help create jobs, stimulate growth

Property-TaxIn keeping with the three priorities of the Majority Coalition Caucus – jobs, education and a common-sense budget – the Senate Trade and Economic Development Committee heard public testimony on Senate Bill 6000 early this morning. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-University Place, would grant property-tax exemptions to nonprofit organizations that provide job training and placement services.

“When the MCC formed in 2012, it centered on those three priorities as guiding principles,” O’Ban explained. “In 2013, we put a billion new dollars into K-12 education. We froze tuition at our state’s colleges and universities for the first time in 26 years. We passed a balanced, sustainable budget that had more bipartisan support than any in state history. Now we are focused on helping private businesses create jobs through economic stimulation and incentives, and my bill is a great example of that.

To qualify for the tax exemption SB 6000 would provide, property must be leased by a nonprofit organization or leased from that organization by someone else. The nonprofit organization must also be exempt from federal income tax by IRS standards and the lease, sublease or lease purchase agreement must expressly require the organization to pay any property taxes for the leased or subleased property.

In addition, a person claiming an exemption must annually provide information to the Department of Revenue detailing the number of individuals receiving job training and assistance.

“When a nonprofit organization that is already in the job-providing business can save some of its limited funding resources by not having to pay property tax, it would potentially be free to grow by adding more staff or expanding its physical footprint, requiring the employment of contractors and construction workers,” O’Ban added. “And when it has more employees or more office space, it can provide more resources and services to those individuals who are seeking gainful employment. This really is a win-win scenario.”

SB 6000 could be approved by the trade and economic development committee in the coming weeks.