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Working for Economic Development Funding with SB 5899

Posted on by Greater Spokane

Spokane County is unique in many ways, which makes it a great place to live, learn, work and play. Did you know, too, Spokane is the only County in Washington State that does not have a dedicated fund for economic development? All other counties in our State have a port district (or several) or are designated as rural and qualify for a .09% “rebate” of the sales and use tax. This rural-county rebate is tapped for economic development pursuits, which means that Spokane County is left out of this economic development funding source. Adding to Spokane County’s economic development disadvantage is our border with Idaho, which has a significantly lower minimum wage, no B&O tax, low property taxes and other business climate issues that can sway businesses to expand or relocate in Idaho instead of Spokane County.

SB 5899– the statute that contains this allowance for funding– was part of a broader effort to unlock a source of dedicated funding for Spokane County, and, if passed, would have extended the rural designation to 32 counties across the state and benefitted us and three other counties in its border designation. It would have been an investment into future tax collections to the state. It could have been – but it wasn’t. The bill missed being voted out of the Senate Ways & Means Committee in the 2019 session.

But, the story doesn’t end there. GSI, along with the vast array of sponsors and supporters of this effort, will work off session to broaden our coalition of support to bring some of our own tax dollars back to our County– so that we can continue to grow and expand business opportunity in our region. Our County – and its citizens and businesses within it – deserve to be invested in.

The Spokane Journal of Business wrote an article on SB 5899 in last week’s edition, read it here

 

If you have any questions about this, contact Cara Coon, Public Affairs Director, at ccoon@greaterspokane.org or 321-3636.

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