March 11, 2019
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As Legislature passes halfway mark, small- and medium-sized businesses would bear heavier burdens

The 2019 legislative session passed the half-way point last week. Another important milestone is coming up Wednesday: the cutoff day when most bills must pass out of their house of origin in order to remain alive.

This has been a challenging session for small businesses, with legislation targeting independent contractors and restrictive employee scheduling, in addition to proposals to raise taxes. One of those tax bills proposes to raise the B&O tax on service-sector employers. Another would implement a capital gains tax.

Last week, the Tax Foundation took at look at the capital gains tax proposal, highlighting the problems that supporters are having in trying to categorize the tax as something other than a constitutionally prohibited income tax. Analyst Jared Walczak said that recent comparisons to a real estate excise tax are not helping the case.

The Washington Research Council's Emily Makings took a broad look at the budget last week, balancing out higher tax receipts with projected higher spending through collective bargaining agreements and a new system for school employee benefits. She said the March 20 revenue forecast will be one key to budgetary decisions.

And, she noted that hanging over any taxation, spending and budget plan is an important fact: Sooner or later, a recession is coming.

For more information, contact Clay Hill, AWB government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy.

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Workforce Summit
Inspiring Action

Hair stylists embody democracy in action

By AWB President Kris Johnson

It was an impressive display of grassroots organizing. Arranged solely through a quick online effort, the state Senate Labor and Commerce Committee hearing was jam-packed with hair stylists, salon owners and cosmetologists on Jan. 28.

Thousands of people signed in to testify and a line of professionals stretched from the Senate hearing room outside to the domed building on the Capitol campus nearly a football field away.

Those small-business owners and independent contractors converged on Olympia on short notice from every part of the state to testify against bills that would severely restrict who can and cannot be classified as an "independent contractor" in Washington state.

It was a powerful sight and an inspiring illustration of democracy in action.

That bill, and others like it introduced this session, would severely hamper those entrepreneurs' ability to continue to operate as their own boss...

Read the full column in South Sound Business
Carbon Costs

Time to stall climate bills that would raise gas prices

By Yakima Herald-Republic Editorial Board

Recycling is all well and good, but not when it comes to the Legislature's latest attempt to combat climate change by proposing solutions that result in higher gas prices, thus putting the pocketbook hurt on all Washingtonians, especially those in the Yakima Valley.

Didn't voters just reject a plan, Initiative 1631, that would place a fee on carbon polluters (that's you, large, multi-national oil companies) while virtually assuring that residents would see a significant price rise at the pump and higher electricity bills?

... Washington's regressive tax system already disproportionately affects those with the least wiggle room in their household budgets. Lower-income residents seemingly are just as concerned with combating climate change as those of more means, but they will be unfairly called upon to bear the bulk of the burden.

Read the full editorial in The Yakima Herald-Republic
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