February 14, 2019

Independent salon owners, stylists lauded for speaking up

By: Andrew Lenderman   Comments: 0
Senate Republican Caucus Chair Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, speaks at the AWB Lobby Lunch on Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019, in Olympia. With her, from left: Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville; Lobbyist Brad Tower; House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm; and Minority Floor Leader Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn. (Photo: Brian Mittge/AWB)

The salon owners and independent stylists who recently spoke out against big changes to independent contractor law received praise from Republican legislative leaders Thursday at AWB’s Lobby Lunch.

House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox said the group, which recently came out in force to protest Senate Bill 5326, was an inspiration.

“I would say to all of you, let’s be more like the hair dressers,” Wilcox said Thursday. “They were not afraid of a fight. And boy are they learning what side they need to be on.”

Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler joined Wilcox in crediting the salon owners and stylists for their work to oppose the independent contractor bill, which could force many small businesses to convert their contractors to employees, which would drive up costs and limit flexible schedules.

“But the fight’s really not over,” Schoesler said. “We know that deep down...it’s still alive and well, it goes into healthcare, it goes into technology, construction, on and on and on.”

Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, described the current legislative session as “a terrible attack on small business.” Becker, who has experience as a Realtor and administrator of medical clinics, highlighted one of several proposed tax increases that have been floated this year.

“The B&O tax increase is going to kill a lot of small businesses,” she said. “I hope that you all are out there, fighting this,” she said to business leaders in AWB’s conference room.

Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, speaks to AWB members during Lobby Lunch.
In December, Gov. Jay Inslee proposed a 67 percent increase in the B&O tax on service businesses, from 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent.

Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn, addressed debate over the state’s tax system, which collects about $50 billion today, and the overall size of state government. Those are legitimate discussions, he said, but they should be separated.

“Every extra dollar that we spend on the spending side gives them an excuse, a pretext to come to you all for an extra dollar on the tax and revenue side,” he said.

AWB’s Lobby Lunch features elected officials and other state government leaders who address a variety of subjects throughout this 2019 legislative session. The next lunch is scheduled for Feb. 21 and features State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal.