Washington State pumps up tax breaks for chip firms

February 6, 2006 – A Washington State House committee has passed a bill that lowers the investment threshhold for the state’s semiconductor industry to enjoy more than $1 million in tax breaks, in an effort to attract industry suppliers to the region, according to The Columbian.

House Bill 3190 would lower business and occupation tax rate for manufacturers of semiconductor materials to 0.275, nearly half that other manufacturers statewide, and exempt gases and chemicals used in chipmaking from state and local retail sales and use taxes, on the promise of $350 million invested in new production facilities. Washington is home to wafer manufacturer SEH, which is converting facilities from 200mm to 300mm production.

Similar legislation was approved in 2003 requiring fab investments of $1 billion, but the investments never happened, according to Bart Philips, executive director of the Columbia River Economic Development Council. The bill goes to the floor on Feb. 7 to be approved before being passed to the Senate.

“Very real short-term investment opportunities are right around the corner,” stated Mark Brown, lobbyist for the city of Vancouver. “We think this legislation can make that happen in our state and in Clark County,” which is home to 90% of the state’s semiconductor industry sales.


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