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Friends Committee on
Washington State
Public Policy


A Quaker Organization

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FCWPP Lobbying Update

January 22, 2004

The Steering Committee for Friends Committee on Washington State Public Policy believes it would be beneficial to inform our activists periodically of highlights from our lobbying work during this 2004 session.  We hope you find this information useful in your support of our lobbying efforts in Olympia as you communicate with your Meeting, your legislators, and others in your community.

Expect to see Action Alerts on issues in these Updates in the future as the bills work through the legislative process.

Alan Mountjoy-Venning  
FCWPP Lobbyist
360-556-2584.

2. Tax Exemption Testimony

Testimony before a joint meeting of the House Finance Committee and the Telecommunications, Technology, and Energy Committee on January 19th, 2004  and before the Senate Ways and Means Committee January 20th, 2004 in regard to extending research and development tax credits

Good evening, and thank you Mr. Chair and members of the committee for the opportunity to address you today. I am Alan Mountjoy-Venning , here on behalf of the Friends Committee on Washington State Public Policy, a Quaker organization.

I will be brief, because you have heard from others who share our concerns, but I want to add our voice to those who object to these proposed tax exemptions for research and development.

It is not the companies we object to, but the exemptions. We think much of the work done by these companies is valuable, and we recognize the need to sustain a climate conducive to businesses that thrive in communities with an educated, healthy workforce and an efficient and economical transportation system, among other amenities.

Our basic objections to these exemptions fall into four main areas

        They represent an inappropriate priority of government considering the extensive cuts to human services made in the budget last year. While many prosperous investors can help these business survive, recent budget initiatives and decisions have tattered the safety net the least among us depend on the state to provide, and it is time to get to mending it.

        Piecemeal adjustments to the stateís taxes belie the ills of a system that is unfair, inadequate, and unstable.

        Few of the requirements for transparency that we ask of those providing services to Washington citizens or the requirements asked of those receiving those services are asked of the corporations receiving these tax benefits. No report of how what amounts to an expenditure of tax revenue is spent is disclosed.

        Linkages demonstrating the anecdotal claims and hopes supporters of these exemptions have seem tenuous, and donít appear to offset the negative aspects that clearly can be ascribed to the loss of revenue.

We might support this type of effort to create jobs and wealth in our communities as part of a comprehensive restructuring of the tax system if cogent linkages to achieving public purposes were available, and if company need were established, and if the opportunity costs of the loss of revenue were part of an equation that came down on the side of the exemptions.

But as it is, this bill does not sit well with us. What details exist are even more disconcerting. We would prefer not to see this billís provision move forward in any fashion. At the very least, there is much room for improvement.

Thank you.

More Information:

Find more information on these bills at http://www.leg.wa.gov/wsladm/billinfo/dspBillSummary.cfm?billnumber=2546

Listen to the audio of the hearing using Real Audio at http://198.239.32.162/ramgen/200401/2004010100.ra

Listen to the audio of the hearing using Windows Media at http://198.239.32.162/asxgen/200401/2004010100.wma

How to Contact Your Legislators:

 

Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 or

Write your Senator and representatives at:

 

Senator _______________

PO Box 4048

Olympia , WA 98504-0482

 

Representative ___________

PO Box 40600

Olympia , WA 98504-0600

 

On the web at: http://www.leg.wa.gov/ follow the link to the Senate or House, and click on your member's name to get their e-mail address.

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