In this week's update I touch on the Senate's transportation proposal and small business-killing legislation we heard in the House Appropriations Committee, and you can watch my legislative update where I discuss my bill that would change red light camera laws.
Senate unveils transportation proposal
Late last week the Senate introduced a bipartisan transportation plan. Overall, it is a $15 billion tax increase including an 11.7 cent fuel tax increase over three years, 2015-17 and increases numerous fees. It does contain some important reforms such as prevailing wage requirements on transportation projects and streamlining environmental permitting. However, I believe the current proposal is too large of a tax hit for what the 12th District gets back. Our district would get back about one-half of one percent of the $15 billion package. I am also concerned about the number of fee increases. At this point, I do not support this proposal
Business-killing bills heard in Appropriations Committee
This week the House Appropriations Committee heard a number of bills that could devastate an already fragile business climate in Washington state. Democrats are moving legislation that would:
- increase the minimum wage to $12 per hour over the next four years (House Bill 1355).
- require businesses to pay family and medical leave insurance (House Bill 1273).
- require mandatory paid sick and safe leave (House Bill 1356).
- create retaliation provisions in several wage laws (House Bill 1354).
The family and medical leave insurance will be an additional cost to the state and it would also reduce state employee wages. It is another mandate on employers instead of allowing them to provide the benefits or leave that suits their business the best.
What most people miss is the huge increase in cost of government under the bills I have mentioned. This will increase the state budget by billions forcing the state to raise taxes or add additional taxes such as income, capital gains, carbon, etc. No one wins on these bills.
There is also talk circulating around Olympia that large corporations are quietly supporting some of this legislation, particularly the bills mandating some type of leave. It would increase their business at the expense of the small competitors who would have difficulty paying or covering the leave mandates.
I did a number of interviews in the last week on my traffic safety camera legislation, including on KIRO and KOMO radio. Watch my video update from last week to get more details on it and a wrap-up of last week. Click here to watch it.