Biweekly meetings are planned
By Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs
Washington Retail’s executive team and lobbyists met last week with the state Senate leadership to review priority session issues facing the business community.
I brought up Governor Inslee’s proposal to adopt a 9 percent capital gains tax and a proposed 67 percent increase in the service business and occupation tax. I explained that a capital gains tax would hurt our small retailers who have worked all their lives building up their businesses in hopes of selling them one day and retiring. Also impacting smaller retailers would be a service Business and Occupation tax increase. Small businesses all contract for services such as payroll, accounting and legal advice. The Senators told us they would consider all these issues.
Joining me this meeting were WRA President/CEO Renée Sunde and WRA Contract Lobbyist Bruce Beckett. We met with Senator Andy Billig (D-Spokane) Majority Leader; Senator Mark Mullet, (D-Issaquah) Whip and Chairman of Financial Institutions, Economic Development and Trade Committee; Senator Guy Palumbo (D-Maltby) Chairman of the Higher Education Committee; Senator Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines) President Pro-Tem and Chairwoman of the Labor and Commerce Committee; and Senator Reuven Carlyle (D-Seattle) Chairman of the Environment, Energy and Technology Committee.
We also brought up other important issues to retailers: possible employee scheduling mandates, data security, privacy, independent contractors, retail theft, non-compete agreements and possible bans on plastic bags and packaging, to name a few.
Overall the meeting was very productive. WRA plans to meet every other week with the Senate leadership to discuss mutual issues of concerns and how we can work together to find solutions.
Key outcomes will be reported in this newsletter and on our websites as they develop.