Published June 9, 2016 at bizjournals.com
Staff Writer Puget Sound Business Journal
Almost 300 companies have received state tax breaks totaling $553 million over the last two years as a result of Washington’s aerospace industry tax relief programs.
Most of that sum, or 93 percent, has gone to airplane maker Boeing (NYSE: BA), which got $517 million in aerospace tax breaks in 2014 and 2015.
The rest of the money, $35 million, was divided among 287 companies, most of them small and midsize businesses that typically got only tens of thousands of dollars of tax relief.
These figures come from preliminary numbers that the companies self-reported to the state’s Department of Revenue.
Boeing had disclosed the amount of its tax breaks earlier this year, when it said it had saved $305 million in 2015. In the Department of Revenue’s figures, Boeing’s 2015 tax savings worked out slightly lower, at $300 million.
The airplane maker collected various types of tax relief. In 2015, for example, it got $51 million in an aerospace manufacturing site sales and use tax exemption and $106 million in aerospace preproduction expenditures business and occupation tax credit, among other breaks.
For most of the smaller companies, their only tax relief came from the aerospace manufacturers' reduced business and occupation tax rates. That also applied to Boeing, which saved $106 million last year because of it.
The machinists’ union and others have criticized the tax breaks given to Boeing, complaining they aren’t tied to job retention and creation. For its part, Boeing has said it puts far more money back into the state economy. Last year, it said, it invested more than $13 billion in Washington, including money spent on wages, supplier purchases and capital investments.