OLYMPIA – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter continues to “court” Washington businesses, sending personal letters to their owners that suggest they should move to the Gem State.
That’s fair, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said Thursday, because the Evergreen State makes similar overtures to businesses in other states, including Idaho. She called foul last month when Otter sent out a blanket “love letter” to businesses in the Washington and Oregon that derided the neighboring states for tax increases.
“It is not normal for governors to send a so-called love letter. Governors absolutely do contact businesses in other states,” Gregoire said.
Hitting Washington for tax increases was “a little premature”, she added, because the Legislature hasn’t settled on any yet.
But it’s about to, warned Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla…
Democrats who are discussing which taxes to raise should instead use
the special session to find ways to make Washington more business
friendly, he said: “Employers should be viewed as economic partners and
job creators, not as piggy banks to fund new government spending.”
One business receiving a direct letter from Otter is Key Technology
Inc. in Hewitt’s district. David Camp, the company’s president and
chief executive officer, said it’s not the first time another state has
contacted the 62-year-old company about relocating.
“This is the first one that directly staked to what’s going on here in Washington, though,” Camp said.
The company makes hardware and software for food processing operations,
has customers across the country, in Europe and Asia, and currently has
about 400 employees. Camp said he is troubled by government regulations
and some rising costs in Washington, but the company isn’t considering
moving – that would be difficult, expensive and hard on its workers.
But if it was considering a major expansion, he said, it might look
Key Technology had to make a series of difficult decisions to cut
costs, reduce pay and benefits and save as many jobs as possible when
the recession hit, Camp said: “It seems government hasn’t made the
hard calls yet.”