Dear Friends and Neighbors,
The 2019 legislative session has begun. It was at this time of year that my father would pull out his favorite quote and remind anyone within earshot:
“No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”
It seems that mantra still has some truth to it as we listened to Gov. Inslee's State of the State speech last week. He talked about wanting to raise taxes by $3.7 billion despite record revenue collections from taxpayers. While I believe we have some significant issues to address this year – mental health, rural broadband, career-connected learning, the increasing costs of childcare, housing and homelessness – I also believe we can, and should, do it within our means.
We should determine how much we have to spend, determine our priorities, and then write our new two-year state budget. Unfortunately, there are some in Olympia who create their long “wish list” of things they'd like to do, and then go out and try to find ways to tax the citizens. This is not the right approach to sustainable budgeting.
For example, Democrats in the state Senate have introduced Senate Bill 5326. This bill would do away with booth rental agreements, like hair dressers and stylists, who rent space and are their own small business. Small businesses in the service industry don't have to pay a business and occupation (B&O) tax if their annual revenue is less than $56,000/year, and pay a reduced amount if they make between $56,000 and $112,000/year.
The sponsors of this bill want to do an “end run” around our B&O tax exemptions for small business entrepreneurs by forcing them to go to work for larger businesses that don't have the same tax incentives. But many – if not most – of these entrepreneurs are woman, single mothers, second income earners who need the flexibility of setting their own schedules and the ability to maximize every dollar earned that they can!
We have seen a tremendous grass roots effort against this bill. As of today, the portion of this bill that would affect the booth rentals has been stripped from the bill. But people need to stay vigilant and engaged. We are hearing rumors of a potential House bill being sponsored, and the fact is, the original bill can be amended on the Senate floor to put that onerous language back in! So, stay involved, folks!
House Bill 1119 – concerning educator evaluations and professional development. This bill is request legislation by the Superintendent of Public Instruction. It was heard in the House Education Committeeand is scheduled for executive session on Jan. 31.
House Bill 1378 – concerning education equivalencies for licensed childcare providers. This bill is an effort to help reduce costs associated with daycare by giving child care providers more options when it comes to required education standards. We often allow experience to substitute for education, and I think that should apply here. If someone has spent 20 years in the industry and has raised six kids of their own, do they really need a certificate to prove they are capable?
This bill had a public hearing in the House Human Services and Early Learning Committee and is scheduled for executive session on either Jan. 30 or Feb. 1.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read my email update. I appreciate your involvement in your state government. If you ever need anything from my office, or would like to express your thoughts on an issue, please don't hesitate to contact me. I'm here to serve you.