Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Weekly News Conference: R&D Tax Incentives Bill Signing
February 19, 2004

Good morning. Thank you all for coming.

It’s exciting to be in this impressive facility at Targeted Genetics Corporation to sign the first bill passed by the Legislature, a bill I requested and that is essential to creating more high-wage jobs in our state. I would like to thank H. Stewart Parker, the president and CEO of Targeted Genetics, for hosting us.

The legislation I am signing today will benefit Targeted Genetics – a successful, Washington-born biotechnology company – and hundreds of other companies like it all across our state.

By extending soon-to-expire tax incentives, Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2546 will enable our state’s high-tech companies to focus more on innovation – and hiring more people to conduct critical research.

Washington has always been a leader in innovation, and the action we’re taking today will help ensure that we continue to break new ground and create more jobs.

Joining me today to witness the signing of this key legislation are:
· The prime sponsor of the legislation in the House, Rep. Jim McIntire
· Other legislators:
o Rep. Ross Hunter
o Rep. Laura Ruderman
o Rep. Jeff Morris
o Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen
o Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen
o Sen. Betti Sheldon
o Sen. Luke Esser

· Topaz Conway, CEO of Cytopeia (cy-TOE’-pee-uh) Incorporated, a Seattle-based bioengineering company
· Members of the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association
· Members of the Washington Competitiveness Council
· Representatives of Association of Washington Business

This was truly a bi-partisan effort. I am pleased that legislators – Democrats and Republicans – recognized the importance of extending these tax incentives for research in specific technology areas and construction of research facilities.

And, for the first time, the legislation grants a sales tax deferral on research facilities built by the universities, and eliminates the B&O tax on federal research grants to small businesses.

We know these tax incentives yield results. A study by the state Department of Revenue shows 76 percent of Washington high-tech companies have expanded their R&D expenditures since 1993, when the incentives were first enacted. There are also accountability tools to measure the long-term effectiveness of the incentives in creating jobs. The program also helps us better compete with other states in such research-intensive fields as biotechnology.

While the tax incentives are important, we must also increase enrollments at our higher education institutions. Why give tax incentives to businesses to create more good-paying jobs without also giving our students the opportunity to land those jobs?

I urge the Legislature to pass key education legislation we’ve requested this session – particularly our 2004 supplemental budget proposal to increase higher education enrollments in high-demand fields.

We must give our children every chance to succeed in this global, high-tech, 21st century economy – and every opportunity to land the good-paying jobs that companies like Targeted Genetics generate.

And there is more work to be done. I am also calling on the Legislature to complete action this session on our other requested economic development legislation.

I am pleased that the House this week passed our requested legislation that would extend the tax exemptions in rural areas for construction of manufacturing and research facilities. I urge the Senate to pass this legislation as well.

We have made great strides in economic development in recent years, and we must build on that momentum. We can continue to create more family-wage jobs in our state, help our existing businesses grow and expand, and attract new businesses. We are on the right track, but we must keep moving forward.

Thank You. Now, it’s time to sign this bill into law.

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