The Washington Policy Center (a non-profit, non-partisan think tank) recently did a study of the obstacles business owners face in the Evergreen State.

The Everett Herald recently ran an op-ed piece detailing some of the burdens facing business owners, or as they coined it: "ten-pound rocks placed in the backpack they must carry to success." These are some of the burdens faced:

  • Workers compensation expenses have increased 66 percent in the last decade and are set to rise another 40 percent over the next decade.
  • Washington employers pay the fifth highest unemployment tax in the U.S.
  • We have the highest minimum wage in all 50 states.
  • Adding state and local taxes, businesses have the ninth highest business tax burden.
  • We are one of only seven states that tax "gross receipts" from a business instead of taxing the bottom line after expenses. That means if a growing business breaks even they still have the joy of paying taxes.

And now there's a possible new burden on the horizon, as reported by the Herald:

The Legislature is considering a bill that would require employers to pay for up to 24 weeks of family and medical leave per year... The worker could collect up to $1,000 per week of paid leave... The paid leave entitlement would be financed by a new payroll tax...."

This new plan would amount to an estimated $825-million tax increase on employers and workers in the first five years.

The Herald notes:

Washington has one of the nation's highest business failure rates. The Department of Revenue reports that 'taxes and the costs of complying with government regulations' play a significant role in those failures. Adding yet another tax and regulation will certainly not improve our standing."

We couldn't agree more. What can we as business owners, workers, and citizens do?  Write, call and email legislators incessantly (and respectfully) demanding they find ways to curtail taxes, spending and the "ten-pound rocks" that keep being added to the backs of businesses.