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Business Advocate Says Both Parties Have Failed to Create Jobs in Washington

Did legislators succeed in creating jobs?
(Washington state legislative website)

Whether it was Jay Inslee campaigning for Governor, or legislators in Olympia and throughout the state, last fall and winter nearly everyone seemed to be on the “I’m for Jobs” bandwagon.   Nearly a year later,  where are we now?

The Washington Policy Center, a respected non-partisan think tank dedicated to improving business conditions in our state, recently critiqued our leaders on how well they’ve lived up to their pledges.

An Aug. 5 Seattle Times editorial by Erin Shannon, Small Business Center Director for the center, took legislators to task. Shannon deemed both parties performance as disappointing.

The article read in part:

So while the word ‘jobs’ was on the lips of every lawmaker, in reality dozens of bills would have made it easier for businesses to grow, but most of these job-creating ideas went nowhere. At the same time, there were bills proposed that would have been so harmful to our state’s business climate they can only be called job-killers. While these job-killers did not pass, the fact they were even proposed illustrates the real priorities of some lawmakers.”

Shannon reports several job-killing bills that did not pass the legislature included expanding mandatory paid family medical leave, mandating sick paid leave and raising business taxes. However, reform bills that would have spurred job growth also died in the last legislative session. They included repealing paid family leave, simplifying business taxes, lowering workers compensation costs, and allowing for a temporary training wage to be paid to new workers.

Four bills did pass that will somewhat streamline permit and application processes and simplify the way businesses pay taxes and fees. However, Shannon says, they are not enough. The center argues the way to create jobs is to lower the cost of doing business.

CNBC News released a report this month showing Washington has the 6th highest cost of doing business in America.

Shannon summed up the legislators and their jobs bandwagon this way:

Despite the near-universal ‘I’m for jobs’ mantra issued by lawmakers of both parties, the biggest victory for our state’s employers in the 2013 legislative session was the death of job-killer bills rather than passage of job-creator bills.”

That’s hardly a performance our leaders and legislators can be proud of.

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