House Republicans attempt to bring bipartisan jobs legislation straight to House floor for a vote

In an unusual move in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, House Republicans tried a rarely used procedural motion to bring bipartisan jobs legislation straight to the House floor.

Led by Assistant Floor leader Matt Manweller, Republicans tried to bring four bills up for a vote — most of them sponsored by Democratic members or requested by Gov. Jay Inslee. All four were tax incentive bills designed to create jobs. In a surprising turn of events, Democrats blocked the move by voting against their own bills and blocking the governor’s bill.

Manweller requested House Bill 2011, which would extend the sales and use tax preference for data center construction, be brought to the floor, but the procedure failed on a 50-47 party-line vote.

“This tells me the House majority party is not serious about retaining and creating high tech jobs in Eastern Washington. Those of us in districts with high unemployment, especially in comparison to King County, were extremely disappointed,” said Manweller, R-Ellensburg. “The governor of Oregon just signed legislation that will entice data centers to be constructed in Oregon and likely take away some good family-wage jobs in Washington. I wanted to respond and protect our jobs. The Democrats were simply not with me.”

Manweller led the debate by requesting the House move to the Eighth Order of Business, allowing bills to be brought straight to the floor for a vote.

All four motions failed. Along with the data center legislation, Republicans also requested to bring up:

  • House Bill 1823 would have extended the expiration date of tax preferences for food processors; (request legislation by Gov. Inslee);
  • House Bill 1381 would have extended the B&O tax rate for aluminum smelters, and the B&O tax credit for property taxes paid on aluminum smelters; and
  • House Bill 1769 would have reinstated the tax preference for high technology and research development.

“We have businesses such as ConAgra, National Frozen Foods, Twin City Foods and others that rely on these tax preferences to stay competitive since Washington is not a good place to do business,” said Manweller. “I am baffled as to why Democrats would vote against their own bills, especially the one bill the governor put forth to support jobs in rural communities. I hope they change their minds soon or those jobs are going to Oregon too.”

The regular legislative session is scheduled to adjourn on April 26.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
461 John L. O’Brien Building
P.O. Box 40600
Olympia, WA 98504-0600
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Washington State House Republican Communications