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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Washington Lawmakers Hear Pitch For Corporate Tax Disclosure

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File photo of the Washington State Capitol Building

The issue of tax transparency in Washington is getting fresh attention on the heels of a major tax deal for Boeing.

Earlier this month, Washington lawmakers extended $8.7 billion worth of tax incentives to aerospace – that is if Boeing builds its next generation 777 in Washington.The website Good Jobs First calls the deal the largest economic subsidy package ever awarded by a state.

Michael Mazerov, from the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, DC, urges Washington lawmakers to change state law so anyone can find out how much a company like Boeing pays in state taxes.

“Particularly in a situation like this where you have one company making claims about its own need for an incentive, you can’t really evaluate the legitimacy of that claim without really knowing what the bottom line tax obligation of the company is,” says Mazerov.

The message at a Friday legislative hearing was the public deserves to know how much publicly-traded companies pay in state taxes. But the ranking Republican on the House Finance Committee cautions disclosure could backfire and harm Washington’s business climate.