OLYMPIA – As one of her first official acts since being sworn in as Senator for the 26th Legislative District, Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton) testified Thursday on behalf of her legislation to establish military benefit zones.
Randall’s bipartisan bill, SB 5571, would stimulate economic activity around military bases by authorizing cities and counties near bases to establish military benefit zones. This designation would allow for tax incentives to fund investment in public infrastructure, including amenities such as streets, parks, and broadband access.
Under this plan, local revenues could be supplemented with competitive awards from the state Department of Commerce. In past cases, the state has often supplied the lion’s share of the funds.
“My grandparents on both sides moved to Kitsap to work at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Keyport, and my dad worked at PSNS for more than 25 years,” said Randall. “The Navy presence is a big and important part of why Bremerton’s such a rich, diverse community.”
Similar programs have proven to provide a substantial return on investment for the state. The Local Revitalization Financing Program (LRF), established by the Legislature in 2009, received $6.6 million from the state and returned a state benefit of $199.7 million by 2014.
“I have met and talked to a lot of veterans in our community who would like to see investment that’s good for them, for their families, for their grandkids, and for our economy,” Randall added.