Governor praises Rep. Habib for jobs-catalyst proposal

Gov. Jay Inslee pointed to a fresh proposal by first-term Rep. Cyrus Habib (48th District) as the kind of creative thinking the state needs to rebuild its economy.

In his recent speech at a news conference on boosting employment in the state, Inslee cited House Bill 1693, introduced by Habib in the current legislative session, as the kind of approach Washington needs. The measure would grant a $2 million annual business-tax deduction to certain start-up ventures in their first two years of operation. The proposal is targeted at the high-tech and manufacturing industries.

“I share Gov. Inslee’s recognition that opportunity is critical for job growth,” Habib said. “My bill is a smart and focused tool to boost new businesses and create jobs.

“If we combine the talent we have in our state with opportunity, we can make Washington No. 1 for entrepreneurs, and No. 1 for start-ups.”

Habib, a Kirkland Democrat, appeared with Inslee at the news conference, as did Rep. Marcie Maxwell, D-Renton, whom Inslee recognized for her advocacy for education.

Inslee also has embraced Habib’s bill in the economic policy blueprint on the governor’s official state website.

The bill grants relief from the state’s business tax — which falls especially heavily on new and smaller companies — to innovative businesses in their first two years. It is designed to give start-ups a chance to build up their strength in competition with other companies in other states and countries.

“Let’s not kill the bird in the nest,” Habib said. “Let’s help it spread its wings so it can soar.”

The measure incorporates accountability in the program, requiring the state Dept. of Commerce to report on the effectiveness of the tax break in stimulating employment. The bill has been referred to the House Finance Committee for a hearing.


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