Governor signs bills to assist Hanford clean-up activities, LIGO project

RICHLAND -- Gov. Mike Lowry traveled to Richland today to sign into law bills that will assist clean-up efforts at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation and help secure a major construction project for the Tri-Cities.

Senate Bill 6510 changes to the tax status of contractors working to clean up and dispose of radioactive wastes at the reservation. Under the new law, the tax structure for firms doing subcontracting work will be adjusted to reflect a more consistent tax level with that paid by the primary contractor.

"This law creates a level playing field for both the prime contractor and subcontracting firms," the governor said. "A lower tax rate means these companies can put their dollars to more efficient use and get Hanford cleaned up."

The legislation changes the retail tax rate to 0.471 percent for all clean-up activities at the site, instead of the 2.09 percent service rate paid by some subcontractors.

In other action, the governor today signed Senate Bill 6511, relating to sales and use tax exemptions for materials used in constructing a laser interferometer gravitational wave observatory (LIGO).

The bill exempts from the state's sales and use tax any personal property purchased by contractors if the property is incorporated into, installed in, or attached to a building or other structure integral to the observatory.

"This measure will benefit the Tri-Cities by helping offset job losses in the nuclear industry and by expanding the area's job base," Lowry said. "It also will provide a boost to the local economy through higher demands for goods and services."

The California Institute of Technology is planning to build the observatory on the Hanford Reservation to study gravitational waves. The project, estimated at $100 million, is scheduled to begin this year.

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For more information, contact the Governor's Communications Office at 360-753-6790.