(360) 786-7640|Marko.Liias@leg.wa.gov

Monthly Archives: January 2014

Sen. Marko Liias votes in favor of Washington Dream Act

January 31st, 2014|

Today the Senate voted to pass the Washington Dream Act off of the floor. Sen. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo, was proud to vote in support of the bill.

“I came to the Senate to help break the gridlock and get things done for the people of Washington,” said Liias. “I’m glad to see the Senate put politics aside today and act on behalf of the students this will help.”


The Washington Dream Act would allow students with Washington high school degrees who as children were brought to this country by their parents without documentation to apply on an equal basis for the State Need Grant, the state’s financial aid program for public colleges and universities.


The Dream Act was already passed out of the House on January 13 of this year, the first day of the legislative session, on a strong and bipartisan 71-23 vote. The two bills must now be reconciled between the two Chambers.


“Over 40 years ago, my grandparents brought our family to this country to seek a better life,” said Liias. “I’ve been blessed to follow my dreams in this country and honored to extend that opportunity to the next generation of dreamers today.”

Washington White Board 1/28/14 – Time for a COLA

January 30th, 2014|

Liias, Fain, Pettigrew and Manweller introduce bipartisan technology R&D incentives renewal

January 27th, 2014|

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo, Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle, and Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, introduced legislation in their respective chambers that would renew and extend research and development (R&D) tax incentives for the high technology and bio-technology industries in Washington until 2040. SB 6430 and HB 2685 are a bipartisan approach to renewal of  the business and occupation tax credit for expenditures on R&D activities and the sales tax deferral on investment in R&D facilities and equipment that otherwise will expire January 1, 2015.

“Today the high-tech and bio-tech industries employ 209,000 people in Washington, and since these incentives have been in place technology companies have accounted for more than 60 percent of the total job growth in our state,” said Liias. “Targeted incentives like these produce good jobs and have helped our state’s technology industry become a global leader.”   

First adopted by the Legislature in 1994 the B&O tax credit allows high technology and bio-tech firms to take up to a $2 million credit for eligible R&D activities. Since 1995 over 2,250 firms have used the B&O incentive, with an average tax credit of $47,500.

Also adopted in 1994, the sales tax deferral for investment in R&D facilities and related equipment has created an incentive for more than 400 companies to invest $8.2 billion in Washington.

A report issued by the Department of Revenue (DOR) in December 2013 found that from 2010 to 2012, high tech firms in Washington that participated in the incentive programs grew at more than double the rate of the national average for high-tech – 12.3 percent growth for Washington participants versus 4.9 percent national growth. 

“I believe that incentives provided by the state must show a return on investment to taxpayers and these have,” said Pettigrew. “Since 1995, technology industries have invested $8.2 billion in new buildings and equipment in return for just over $690 million in state sales tax deferred. That’s better than an 11 to 1 return on our investment.”

According to the Washington Research Council, technology employers generated more than $3.06 billion in state and local taxes in 2012. Extrapolating this figure over the proposed 26-year extension, and assuming the 4.6 percent average annual growth rate DOR has predicted for the sales tax deferral program, extending the incentives would produce $169 billion in fiscal benefits to the state through new economic growth. 

Washington is widely recognized for our strong innovation economy,” said Fain. “While our state features many well-known technology companies, we’re also home to many startups doing great work. Continuing our commitment to this sector supports a strong local economy and good jobs well into the future.”

Patents received are another useful indicator of the impact of R&D incentives. From 1995 to 2012 patents grew from 229 per million Washington residents in 1995 to 868 per million in 2012 expanding the state’s innovation economy. The DOR report found that in over the last 18 years, the number of high tech incentive patents has more than doubled.

“Tax incentives in Washington state are important for advancing technology, increasing business, and diversifying products,” said Manweller, R- Ellensburg. “Technology companies have used incentives to create and retain jobs and attract economic investment in research and development in almost every county of this state. This legislation would allow them to continue to utilize incentives.”

Bills to Reduce Class Size Introduced in Olympia

January 23rd, 2014|

Calling reductions in class size “critical to fulfilling our mandate to provide a quality education to every child,” Washington State Representative Roger Goodman and State Senator Marko Liias today announced legislation at fully implementing the student-teacher ratios recommended by the Bi-Partisan Quality Education Council.


“We know what the right number of students in each classroom should be, and we know we have to make a significant investment in education,” said Rep. Goodman. “Reducing class size is the right thing to do, and now the time to do it.”


Washington currently ranks 47th out of 50 states in class size. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes reducing class size as one of only four education improvements are proven effective through rigorous, randomized experiments. Studies from California, Tennessee and other states show clear correlation between reducing class size and improving student achievement.


“I know from my own experience that smaller classes and one-on-one attention from teachers can make a difference,” Liias said. “Reducing class size is critically important if we are going to meet our obligation to provide every child a quality education.”


The house bill – HB2589 – was introduced Monday with 24 co-sponsors. The Senate bill was filed Thursday.


Goodman and Liias were joined by Class Size Counts Coordinator Mary Howes and Renton Parent Katherine Jones.


Basic Fact Sheet – Class Size Counts

By The Numbers – Class Size Counts

Sen. Liias: “I’m excited to stand up for the 21st District”

January 22nd, 2014|

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo, was sworn in as a member of the Washington State Senate on Wednesday from the 21st Legislative District.  After taking the oath of office he spoke about his new position and his priorities. CLICK TO DOWNLOAD.

Sen. Marko Liias sworn into Senate

January 22nd, 2014|

Sen. Marko Liias, D-Mukilteo, was sworn into office on the Senate floor this morning. He issued the following statement on his being sworn in and beginning his term representing the 21st District in the Senate:

“Sen. Paull Shin left an enormous pair of shoes to fill, and I’m honored to have the opportunity to serve the constituents of the 21st District in the Senate. I look forward to working on the 21st District’s priorities: expanding economic opportunity and creating jobs, investing in the next generation of students by fully funding our education system, protecting our environment and building a transportation system that works for all.”