OLYMPIA -- A bill to help in-state manufacturers is still on track as the legislative session nears a possible conclusion Thursday.
Senate Bill 6515, which would establish a pilot program and give five new manufacturing facilities a tax credit to cover portions of each facility's construction costs, was not voted on by the state House before last Friday's bill cutoff.
Sen. Sharon Brown, R-Kennewick, told the Herald the bill was considered "necessary to implement the budget" and is still alive.
It passed the Senate 45-2 on March 4.
Brown said the bill is a bipartisan attempt to move forward economic development in the state, and credited Kennewick Mayor Steve Young as being "instrumental" in putting it together.
"The state should not be in the business of picking winners and losers," she said. "Industries should self-select."
Brown said the bill would give manufacturers a tax credit only if they've invested or reinvested in the state.
The tax credit would be available to manufacturers constructing at least one new building on a single site used mostly for manufacturing and would be equal to state and local retail sales taxes on construction.
It would max out with a project cost of $10 million.
At least two of the five facilities would have to be in Eastern Washington, and Brown said interest has been shown in the Tri-Cities, although she declined to give specifics.
Young told the Herald last week that he has been contacted by three businesses interested in applying for the pilot program if it is approved. They would either expand or relocate their business to some of the 1,263 acres south of Interstate 82 and west of Highway 395 that Benton County commissioners recently approved adding to Kennewick's urban growth area specifically for industrial development.
-- Tri-City Herald intern Matt Benoit is a Washington State University student: 509-947-9277, firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @Matt_Benoit_