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Carl Gipson

Governor Gregoire announced some changes to both the state’s Unemployment Insurance and Workers’ Compensation systems in order to pass up to $1 billion in savings on to the business and employee community.

This announcement comes in the wake of the Department of Labor and Industries (which runs workers’ compensation) and the Employment Security Department (runs unemployment insurance) announcing substantial tax increases for 2011.

Late last fall the Employment Security Department announced an average UI rate increase of about 40 percent. read more »

 

State and federal regulators exercise tight control over the workplace practices of Washington employers. Today, Washington small businesses and major industries face a costly and expanding array of regulations at all levels of government.

Washington Policy Center applauds the Governor’s Executive Order (No. 10-06) instructing state agencies to suspend “non-critical” rule development and adoption for 2011. [1] However, the Executive Order (EO) is a temporary band-aid and not a long-term, sustainable solution to the problem of agency rule proliferation. read more »

 

Small businesses have historically led Washington’s economy out of recessions. This latest recession is proving to be an exception. For a variety of reasons, small businesses are lagging behind their larger competitors when it comes to economic recovery and job growth. While full economic recovery relies on important national factors, there are policies that state policymakers can adopt that will help spur the economic growth that the state needs. read more »

 

Citing nefarious, and completely imaginative, examples of “Big Mobile” and “Big Cable” shutting down access to the Internet, the FCC voted to move towards greater regulatory oversight of Broadband Internet through Net Neutrality principles. (Indeed, even the HuffPo is saying in the most hyperbolic way that this is “The Most Important Free Speech Issue of Our Time”)

For a primer of Net Neutrality, visit Washington Policy Center blog here or here.

The public is still waiting for the specific language of the regulatory order, so I cannot comment on the language that lawyers are sure to argue over for years to come. However, based on the comments of the FCC Commissioners, both pro and con, on the order I have come to some preliminary conclusions: read more »

 

In 1998 voters of Washington passed Initiative 688, enacting a substantial increase in the state minimum wage. A lesser-known provision of Initiative 688 provided that all future increases in the minimum wage would occur automatically each year and that the amount of increase would be linked to the rate of inflation. Since then the minimum wage has increased 11 times, without discussion or debate, and without consideration of employment conditions or job opportunities for young people entering the workforce. read more »

 

In 1998, Washington voters passed Initiative 688, enacting a substantial increase in the state minimum wage. A lesser-known provision of I-688 provided that all future increases in the minimum wage would occur automatically each year and that the amount of increase would be linked to the rate of inflation.

Since then, the minimum wage has increased 11 times, without discussion or debate, and without consideration of employment conditions or job opportunities for young people entering the work force. read more »

 

Two new reports from the D.C.-based Tax Foundation should cause some concern in the ranks of economic development officials in this state. Washington fell out of the top ten for “Best Business Tax States.” Washington ranked 9th and for 2011 we slipped two places to 11th. It’s not a huge drop-off compared to a few other poorly-performing states, but it does raise concerns as we head into a budget-writing legislative session with a projected $4.5 billion budget shortfall. read more »

 

In late June, a fantastic case study in unintended consequences vis-à-vis tax policy in The Wall Street Journal emerged. As a part of the massive health care overhaul, the Obama Administration and Congress passed earlier this year, officials levied a special tax on the tanning industry to help pay for the expansion in coverage. Someone wants to take a turn in the tanning bed? Fine, they just have to pay a little more, right?

If only it were that simple.

According to the story in the Journal, the tax depends not only on the type of tanning bed, but also where the fake ‘n bake takes place. read more »

 

In late June, a fantastic case study in unintended consequences vis-à-vis tax policy in The Wall Street Journal emerged. As a part of the massive health care overhaul, the Obama Administration and Congress passed earlier this year, officials levied a special tax on the tanning industry to help pay for the expansion in coverage. Someone wants to take a turn in the tanning bed? Fine, they just have to pay a little more, right?

If only it were that simple.

According to the story in the Journal, the tax depends not only on the type of tanning bed, but also where the fake ‘n bake takes place. read more »

 
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