Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Before I get to some of the bills I've introduced this session, I first wanted to recognize the incredible small business owners who stormed the Capitol last Monday to defend their livelihoods.
In case you missed it, hair stylists and cosmetologists came by the hundreds to protest two Democrat-sponsored bills, House Bill 1515 and Senate Bill 5326. Each of these bills could potentially eliminate the ability for them to remain self-employed by making it harder for them to be classified as independent contractors.
The backlash was so intense, the sponsor of Senate Bill 5326 ended up withdrawing her bill at the end of the week. However, House Bill 1515 is still alive, as are many other bills that would hurt small business owners in a wide range of industries. Unfortunately, this may be the most anti-business Legislature I've ever seen. When politicians who've never run a business start proposing legislation that affects small business owners, that's often a recipe for disaster.
Focusing on common-sense tax reform
Last week, I introduced the fifth bill of a tax reform package designed to help you save more of your money, keep our state competitive, and spur economic growth. Although the five bills may not advance this year due to the political makeup of the House, I still believe it's important to put these ideas on the table for consideration. Below is a brief overview of each bill.
House Bill 1677 would exempt a business's first $1 million in gross sales from the state's business and occupation (B&O) tax. This would give businesses the flexibility—and time—to grow. The other B&O tax reform bill I've introduced this year is House Bill 1420, which would lower the manufacturing B&O tax rate for all manufacturers by 40 percent.
Small businesses and manufacturers are the lifeblood of our economy, so we should be doing everything in our power to incentivize them to stay here in Washington state, hire more people, and expand their operations. Both of these bills would help achieve that goal.
Another bill I've introduced is House Bill 1090, which would offer stability and predictability for Washington homeowners ages 65 years and older by capping the property tax rate on the first $250,000 of their homes' value. As I said in my last update, I want to make sure more of our seniors can stay in their homes and have peace of mind about their finances as they enjoy retirement.
As a parent, I know how quickly costs can add up when you're helping prepare your child for the upcoming school year. House Bill 1559 would create a three-day sales tax holiday for the purchase of back-to-school clothing and supplies. Passing this bill would not only help parents financially, but it would also show that we're serious about helping set our students up for success.
Finally, House Bill 1122 would require a portion of the sales tax from the sale of a motor vehicle to be deposited into the state's motor vehicle fund for transportation improvements, as opposed to being put into the general fund. We know many of Washington's roads and bridges need significant repairs. This bill would simply increase our available resources to properly maintain infrastructure and keep you safe on the road.
Other bills I've introduced this session
Most great ideas come from constituents, and that is certainly the case with House Bill 1088. Under this bill, individuals who receive a second citation for littering after having already been cited would be required to complete 40 hours of litter removal on either public or private lands. The requirement would also apply for each subsequent offense. There is far too much litter on our highways and in private forest lands. This bill would hopefully act as a deterrent to those who have little regard for our environment and simply expect others to clean up after them.
House Bills 1430, 1557 and 1676 are all designed to transform the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board into a more business-friendly agency that's focused on excellent customer service. The tweaks in each of these bills would be a good first step in that effort.
Finally, House Bill 1419 would allow the comprehensive, all-hazard emergency plan for the state to include the necessary planning and preparation for a nuclear attack. Currently, the state's Military Department is prohibited from including such materials in its plans. We live in a dangerous world where terrorists and hostile regimes can acquire nuclear weapons. I certainly hope the day never comes when one of these weapons is used against us, but we must be as prepared as possible if it does.
Weekly interviews on iFIBEROne News Radio
As I mentioned in my last update, I'll be doing weekly radio interviews on iFIBEROne News Radio throughout session. You can listen to those interviews on my SoundCloud page, which you can navigate to by clicking on the image below.
In the interest of full transparency, I will be providing you with a list of my weekly meetings during the 2019 session.
Please continue contacting me with your comments, questions and concerns. Your feedback helps me to better serve you. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and my phone number is (360) 786-7902.