Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Week five of the legislative session is coming to a close and I wanted to touch base before I head back to spend time with my family in Spokane.
My number one priority is our economy. We must create a business climate that fosters economic growth. This year, businesses in our state were facing an average of a 36 percent increase in unemployment insurance taxes — a $366 million increase. This is on top of an average 42 percent increase in 2010. I'm happy to report relief is on the way for our employers, through reduced unemployment insurance taxes, with the passage of Senate Bill 5135.
This bipartisan solution is good for our employers and workers. It offers employers certainty, which should lead to economic growth. More work must be done in the Legislature, but this is an important first step for job growth.
I am sponsoring House Bill 1663, which would effectively remove the requirement that our institutions of higher education have to purchase furniture from correctional industries. This legislation is the result of collaboration between business owners in Spokane and around the state, colleges and universities, and correctional industries. It would save 550 private-sector jobs, save the state money, and give our institutions of higher education more flexibility with their purchases. This bill will advance out of the Higher Education Committee on Monday and will likely hit the House floor soon. I will keep you posted.
Please contact me if I can ever be of assistance. We will talk again soon. Have a great weekend.
421 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
360-786-7922 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000