Senate acts to keep aerospace jobs in Washington

Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-9The Senate today passed two bills aimed at addressing the needs of the state’s aerospace-industry, increasing the likelihood of bringing tens of thousands of family-wage jobs to Washington.

Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom and Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler said today’s legislative action is all about securing the future of aerospace in Washington, and creating the jobs and skilled labor force necessary for the state to be competitive and economically successful for generations to come.

“It’s the equivalent of winning the lottery,” said Tom, D-Bellevue. “Winning the Boeing 777X deal and composite-wing manufacturing, which this legislation makes more likely, is a huge win for our state.

“Once this package is signed into law and the machinists union ratifies the contract, an estimated 38,000 machinists in Washington will receive a 10,000-dollar bonus come December 12. That’s a 380 million-dollar stimulus for our state, paid for by the private sector – not your state or federal government. And that is just the beginning of the potential value of this project.”

Schoesler noted that encouraging job creation in aerospace will be good for families across the state.

“Addressing the concerns of our aerospace community during this special session will have a ripple effect throughout the state, affecting many employers who depend on a strong aerospace sector – both directly and indirectly,” said Schoesler, R-Ritzville. “In addition to expanding economic incentives we are also increasing enrollment opportunities and investing in improved training facilities that will ensure Washington students can have the option of staying in their home state, competing for good-paying local jobs and becoming part of a strong local economy.”

The two Senate leaders pointed out that the opportunities provided by a growing aerospace industry will have long-term benefits for the state.

“This goes far beyond any specific company or even the aerospace industry,” Tom explained. “This package could position Washington as the leader in new carbon-fiber composite technology and make us the center of excellence for research, design and manufacturing of composite materials – for potentially decades to come.”

Tom and Schoesler also addressed the possibility of approving a package of transportation projects beyond those funded in the budget lawmakers passed in April.

“Clearly, the aerospace industry would like to see an additional state investment in infrastructure – roads and transit – and it’s not alone,” said Tom. “But all sides recognize that addressing our transportation needs is a complex process, and it’s more important to get it done right than to just get it done right now.”

Both leaders said majority-coalition members will continue to work on building a transportation package capable of receiving broad support from legislators and the public. Schoesler expressed optimism regarding the progress on transportation.

“Our coalition just spent weeks listening to thousands of people around the state about what they want in a transportation system,” Schoesler said. “It’ll take time to agree on transportation reforms and a proper mix of projects, but I am confident that a reasoned approach will pay off in a more balanced and effective plan for the entire state going forward.”

Schoesler also noted that transportation is not the only issue needing continued legislative attention to improve conditions for Washington employers and create new jobs.

“We should use the measures passed today as a wake-up call to make changes for the entire employer community, not just a single sector,” said Schoesler. “For example, we must address our permitting process to ensure that environmental permit requests can be reviewed within thirty days. Our coalition is committed to advancing this and other critical job-creating reforms during the regular session.”