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Dear Friends,

Washington National Guard Honored

Last Friday we adopted House Resolution 4611, honoring the Washington National Guard on its 375th birthday.

I commend the Guardsmen and women for their service in uniform and in the cause of freedom. I am part of a military family and know personally of the sacrifice these men and women and their families are making for our state and country. They put their civic duty ahead of personal comfort to protect us and provide us freedom. I know you share my pride when those in uniform are here in Olympia and we have the opportunity to honor them on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Unemployment Insurance

We passed two bipartisan unemployment insurance tax relief bills for employers this week. House Bill 1091 provides a more stable and long-term fix by recalculating the unemployment insurance tax rates for employers. It passed unanimously and is being considered by the Senate. Senate Bill 5135 provides employers a much-needed tax reduction this year and prevents a sharp tax increase.

In addition to the businesses that will benefit from this tax relief, it is going to help struggling Washingtonians as employers can focus on retaining existing jobs and transition into economic recovery.

In fact, for us to accelerate our economic recovery we need to be doing three things. We need to be creating certainty; we need to be protecting our competitive advantages; and we need to be improving on our public commitment on issues that have been identified as competitive disadvantages by those who look at us from a national perspective.

This legislation does two of those things. It sends a clear signal that we are serious about the certainty needed for our employers to make decisions to grow their businesses and make it through this difficult time. Even more importantly, it sends a signal across the nation, to employers who may be considering to locate their businesses here or expand existing ones in Washington, we are willing to do something to address one of the most expensive unemployment insurance taxes in the nation. Limiting payroll taxes, while providing stability when it comes to unemployment insurance may be a contributing factor for those considering expansion in our state or moving somewhere else. It shows we are serious about doing good work on what is clearly one of our competitive disadvantages compared to other states.

Without this legislation, employers’ UI taxes were expected to increase about $366 million in 2011. They increased about $360 million in 2010 or an average of 42%.

The governor signed both bills Friday afternoon. I believe this is a positive step in the right direction for our businesses and Washington state families.

Please feel free to forward this to friends, family and neighbors you think might be interested. I look forward to hearing your ideas, and I assure you that while we may not always agree, I truly believe the best solutions often come from the respectful deliberations and collaboration of many differing viewpoints.

As always, thank you for reading my email update. I look forward to your continued input on the issues of importance to you. Have a lovely week.

Warm regards.

Warm Regards,

Norma Smith

State Representative Norma Smith, 10th Legislative District
435 John L. O'Brien Building | P.O. Box 40600 | Olympia, WA 98504-0600
(360) 786-7884 | Toll-free: (800) 562-6000