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Boeing, Microsoft, Association of Washington Business don’t reject sales tax hike plan (but don’t endorse it either)

Post by Peter Callaghan / The News Tribune on Nov. 21, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
November 21, 2011 4:09 pm

The state’s primary business organization – essentially the state’s chamber of commerce – and one of its biggest employers have issued statements saying  they are open to hearing details of Gov. Chris Gregoire‘s tax plan.

 

The Associated of Washington Business through its president Don Brunell says it is open to a budget solution that includes both cuts and new revenue. It also wants to hear more details on how Gregoire plans to reduce the size of state government and reform its performance.

 

“The governor has reached out to us to help solve this challenge, and we’ve told her we want to be a part of the solution,” Brunell said. ” That means everything must be on the table —meaning reforms and revenue. Just as voters want to know every savings, every efficiency has been realized by state government, so do our members.”

 

And Boeing issued a statement saying they appreciate Gregoire’s focus on education.

 

“We look forward to working with the governor and legislative leaders during the special session and 2012 regular legislative session, and are committed to being a partner in keeping Washington healthy and vibrant.”

 

Here is Brunell’s statement:

 

 

“Today’s announcement seeking a temporary half-cent increase in the state sales tax is not surprising given the difficult situation we find ourselves in. We don’t envy the governor or the Legislature; this is not easy, and it will require tough, bipartisan action when legislators convene next week, and again in January,” said Don Brunell, president of the Association of Washington Business.

 

“The governor has reached out to us [AWB] to help solve this challenge, and we’ve told her we want to be a part of the solution. That means everything must be on the table —meaning reforms and revenue. Just as voters want to know every savings, every efficiency has been realized by state government, so do our members,” he added.

 

“We’re anxious to see what other proposals will be coming out of Olympia in the coming days and weeks, and will be meeting with Gov. Gregoire and members of the Legislature to help craft solutions.”

 

Here is the statement from Boeing::

As the largest employer in the nation’s most trade-dependent state, we are pleased that the budget proposal Washington state Gov. Chris Gregoire announced today places education reform at the top of the agenda for the upcoming special legislative session.

High-quality education systems at all levels are crucial to the state’s long-term competitiveness and economic health.Washington businesses of all sectors and sizes, including Boeing, depend on an educated and highly skilled workforce to meet the challenges of increasing global competition and keep pace in an ever-evolving innovation economy.

We commend the governor for her leadership, vision and insistence on creative and collaborative solutions to the state’s most pressing problems. Recent education reforms, aerospace initiatives and investments are encouraging signs that further progress is possible. In spite of a significant budget shortfall, we are confident that continuing this vital dialog can yield sustainable funding for education, lasting reform, and access to educational opportunities for all students.

‘A strong education system here in Washington state and throughout the U.S., is imperative to sustained competitiveness and technology leadership,’ said Jim Albaugh, Boeing Commercial Airplanes president & CEO, and a vocal advocate for education reform. ‘We see exciting opportunities for our industry and Boeing. Education reform and continued investment in our young people can’t wait for a more favorable economic climate. Steps must be taken now to ensure we have a pipeline of talent to fill the high-quality aerospace jobs that will be created.’

“We look forward to working with the governor and legislative leaders during the special session and 2012 regular legislative session, and are committed to being a partner in keeping Washington healthy and vibrant.”

 

 

And this from Brad Smith, executive vice president at Microsoft:

 

“We’re pleased that Governor Gregoire has prioritized education in her budget recommendations, given the difficult choices she faced among the many programs funded by the state. As we at Microsoft experience first-hand, education is the foundation for the state’s future economic growth and the ability of companies to create and fill jobs here. It’s important for the state to avoid further reductions in higher education funding, as these inevitably would lead either to a decline in quality or yet more tuition increases for students. It’s similarly important to maintain investments in K-12 education across the state, since additional cuts to the classroom and the school year would have a dramatic and damaging effect on student readiness for the 21st century economy.

“While the importance of education makes this the right time to discuss funding options, it’s vital that the discussion focus not only on how much money should be spent, but on spending it as effectively as possible. This is a time when the state should be making strategic improvements to education policy to strengthen our K-12 system. We believe it is important for the special session to adopt outcome-based reforms that will help ensure that all Washington students receive a quality education. These steps will best ensure that any proposed increase in the sales tax will lead to real improvements in education and thereby deserve the public’s support in a referendum.”

 

 

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