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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Valley’s ATC Manufacturing moving to Idaho for tax breaks

A Spokane Valley company that makes parts for Boeing and other aerospace companies is moving to Post Falls next year to take advantage of a new Idaho tax break.

Advanced Thermoplastic Composites Manufacturing, also known as ATC, will transfer its 70 jobs from Spokane Valley, and expects to add about 50 more jobs in Idaho over several years.

The company is building a $4.9 million, 65,000-square-foot facility in Post Falls, the state of Idaho recently announced.

Company founder and President Dan Jorgenson started the company in 2006, leaving his previous job at Triumph Composite Systems on Spokane’s West Plains.

ATC is the first Washington company to take advantage of Idaho’s new tax reimbursement incentive program, adopted in the Gem State in July, said Jeff Sayer, the director of Idaho’s Commerce Department.

In exchange for creating more than 50 jobs and paying salaries above Kootenai County’s average wage, ATC gets a 20 percent tax credit for eight years, Sayer said. Idaho officials will ensure ATC verifies that it meets those targets annually to keep reaping the benefit, Sayer added.

The taxes it gets to offset are state income tax, sales tax and payroll tax.

“The good news I have for (Washington government officials) is that we don’t have any other Washington companies taking advantage of the incentive,” Sayer said.

Greater Spokane Incorporated officials have been in touch with Jorgenson for several years, trying to help the manufacturing company expand and take advantage of Washington incentives.

GSI executives Robin Toth and Stan Key met with Jorgenson twice this year after learning that he was looking at taking the company to Idaho. Key said ATC qualifies for reduced business and occupation taxes and waivers of sales and use taxes on construction because Washington has adopted those benefits for aerospace companies.

After one of the meetings this year, Key said he was walking out the door of ATC when Jorgenson told him, “And I just bought some land in Post Falls.”

Key said that convinced him Jorgenson had made up his mind to move to Idaho this past summer.

Toth, who is GSI’s vice president for development, said the ATC relocation is a blow to Spokane County but also a wake-up call for Washington’s legislators. Washington doesn’t offer as many business incentives as other states, including Idaho. Part of that results from restrictions in the state constitution.

Now that Idaho has this bigger tax reimbursement bonus, more ompanies not far from the Idaho border will look at the option of relocating, Toth said.

“One thing we could do is go back to our legislators and tell them, ‘Here’s an example of what can happen if we don’t do something,’ ” she said.

Passed in July, the Idaho tax reimbursement incentive effort is designed to promote growth of in-state companies as well as recruit outside companies.

One of its biggest victories so far was enticing California-based food company Amy’s Kitchen to buy a vacant food production building in Pocatello and invest millions in the facility. It’s expected to add about 1,000 jobs in 10 years, Sayer said.

The state also said the incentive program will provide five years of tax breaks to Sandpoint-based software company Kochava, which will result in about 50 new high-paying jobs there.

City of Spokane Valley Mayor Dean Grafos said he was disappointed but understands companies make such decisions for their own best interest.

“This is a good company, but there was nothing we did to make this happen, or could have done to change it,” he said.

Attempts to reach Jorgenson on Monday were unsuccessful.

When Jorgenson started the company, using some of his retirement funds and taking out a second mortgage, the company began by making extremely durable parts for Boeing’s new jetliner, the 787.

It uses advanced manufacturing systems to make thermoplastic composites, parts that are treated with heat for eventual use in critical aircraft components.