Greater Spokane Incorporated has joined a statewide coalition to boost economic development funding to rural and border counties via a bill that will have a hearing before the House Finance Committee next week.
House Bill 2494, if approved, would expand a state law that rebates 0.09% of sales and use tax to rural counties for economic development. It would broaden the law to include border counties, such as Spokane and Clark.
The measure could generate $11 million annually for economic development in Spokane County and allow communities to invest in job growth and support expansion of existing businesses.
Economic development in Spokane County is currently funded by the private sector, said Cara Coon, spokeswoman for Greater Spokane Incorporated.
“If we have a company on the hooks to move here or expand here, oftentimes we have to go and fundraise for assistance from our private companies here,” she said.
The rural-distressed-county tax credit program, established in 1997, provides rural counties with funding to expand and retain businesses. The statute was amended in 1999 to raise the rate from 0.04% to 0.08% and, again, in 2007 to allow counties to levy 0.09% of sales and use tax for economic development activities.
Under HB 2494, the sales and use tax funding would be phased in in increments over a four-year period. An advisory board would be created to allocate funding in counties.
Members of the House Finance Committee will take public comment on the measure during a public hearing at 8 a.m. Monday.
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