Addressing important issues with policymakers to ensure the success of Washington’s technology industry
Research & Development Tax Credits
Washington State offers two significant tax credits for
research and development (R&D) One is a B&O tax credit for R&D
expenditures and the other is a sales tax deferral/waiver for
building R&D facilities. Both of these apply to a wide range of
technologies. Additional information about these tax incentives can
be found on the Department of Revenue website.
Both of these tax incentives have helped all types and sizes of
technology companies thrive in Washington. They allow companies to
hire the best and brightest and pursue innovation that makes
Washington a leader in technology.
No action should be taken to reduce or
limit the application or amount of tax credits under these
programs. No additional reporting requirements should be added.
Both of these tax credits should be made permanent (both expire
January 1, 2015).
Washington is the home to two top-notch research
universities, the University of
Washington and Washington State University, along with four
comprehensive colleges and universities (Central Washington
University, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington
University, and Evergreen State College). Washington also has a
vast statewide community and technical college system.
In today's competitive, global economy, driven by knowledge,
information, and technology, the need for higher education is
undeniable. Today's business owners and workers of all kinds in
every sector need advanced training and education to succeed, both
economically and as informed citizens. Attaining higher education
can benefit both individuals and society through higher incomes,
healthier living, and reduced reliance on government services.
The technology industry is driven by those holding science,
technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees. Technology
businesses in Washington must seek these types of degree holders
from other states and nations to fill industry needs. Washington's
universities simply do not produce enough bachelor's or master's
degree holders in STEM degrees. In addition, more students, and
those entering the workforce, need business skills that require
problem-solving, teamwork, and leadership abilities. Advanced
degrees, particularly PhDs in STEM fields are also needed by the
technology industry to research and develop innovative new
technology-based goods and services.
While progress has been made on increasing the capacity to
grant bachelor's degrees at four-year institutions, we still have
work to do. The legislature needs to
fund, at cost, additional STEM degrees, both bachelor's and
master's, above the current levels in the 2007-09 operating budget.
WTIA agrees with the Higher Education Coordinating Board's
recommendations for degree production as found in their 2008 report
"Moving the Blue Arrow", which calls for a
bachelor's degree target of 42,400 per year and advanced degree
target of 19,800 by 2018.
An excellent K-12 education system is one of the
foundations of a stable and democratic society. Young people must learn the basic skills of
reading, writing, math, science, geography, and history to function
as informed citizens who make intelligent decisions as adults. The
K-12 system must also impart knowledge to students in areas such as
technology, economics, finance, art, and music. A high school
diploma must be meaningful and give both employers and higher
education institutions confidence that the high school graduate has
learned a certain body of knowledge and skills. No student
graduating from high school should need remediation at the college
Since higher education is a de facto necessity today, the K-12
system must be geared primarily toward preparing students to
succeed in college or some type of additional training, such as an
apprenticeship in a skilled trade. The keys to an excellent K-12
system are: high standards, curriculum that matches those
standards, and testing and assessments that map to the standards
Teachers must be well prepared, both in pedagogy and in the
effective use of technology as a teaching tool in their specific
subject area. If certain subjects, such as math and science, lack
qualified teachers, incentives, including differential pay or
bonuses, should be offered to help fill the gap. Ineffective
teachers must be weaned out of the K-12 system. Increased teacher
pay must be tied to student performance. Class sizes ought to be
reduced in lower grades where it has shown to help increase student
While additional financial resources need to be infused
into the K-12 system, they must come with additional accountability
for their use. WTIA supports the
efforts of the State Board of Education to adopt a third year
of math as a high school graduation requirement as a step towards
requiring four years of math. WTIA also supports Algebra II as that
third year requirement.
WTIA opposes any legislation, either policy or budget, to
reduce, modify, or end testing or assessment in any subject, unless
and until a proven system of testing is found to replace the
reading and writing WASL and the end-of-course math tests.
WTIA supports legislation to recruit more qualified math and
science teachers and the use of financial incentives to do so, if
Association Health Plans (AHPs)
WTIA sponsors and markets a health insurance plan for our
members. The vast majority of our
members are companies that employ fewer than 50 workers. These
companies look to trade associations to provide services that are
difficult to find on their own or if they do not have a full-time
human resources person.
AHPs have been very successful in providing comprehensive and
affordable health coverage for small businesses and their
employees. Many, if not most, WTIA members that opt for coverage
through WTIA have never offered insurance before.
WTIA opposes any legislation or policy that would
undermine or fundamentally change how AHPs are designed and
marketed and provide benefits to both small businesses and trade
associations. WTIA does not oppose
efforts by state government or other entities to use alternative
mechanisms to provide health insurance to small businesses and
their employees, as long as these mechanisms provide more choice
and competition to the health insurance market. However, if these
mechanisms are designed to unfairly compete with AHPs, WTIA will
oppose such efforts.
WTIA supports legislation or policy that would allow for health
insurance policies to be sold that do not include every mandate
currently required under state law to attract those who do not
currently participate in the health insurance market due to cost
WTIA opposes any law or policy that would force individuals or
employers to buy health insurance.