House Republicans propose economic solutions to help struggling families, communities
Washington House Republicans have proposed a package of bills to create jobs, grow the economy and help incomes rise. They believe majority-party Democrats have failed to make the economy a priority and continue to send the wrong message from Olympia.
“We know a strong economy is the foundation for strong families and communities. But too many people are out of work, underemployed or having to commute long distances because their communities are struggling,” said House Republican Leader Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis. “It is easy to understand why consumers lack confidence and employers face uncertainty. They see lawmakers filing a lawsuit to throw out their taxpayer protection initiative and proposals to raise the gas tax and create a state income tax. This sends the wrong message.”
DeBolt also pointed to excessive rules, permit delays and the Growth Management Act as impediments to an economic recovery and job creation. In 2012, there were 5,511 pages of permanent rule changes to the Washington Administrative Code, with 2,398 pages of emergency rules. House Republicans have proposed bills to address these problems.
“Good jobs offer hope and opportunity to Washingtonians struggling to make ends meet, yet government has created unnecessary obstacles for the job creators,” said Rep. Norma Smith, lead Republican on the House Technology and Economic Development Committee. “It is within this Legislature's control to provide greater certainty and the reforms needed to accelerate our economic recovery. But it takes courage – and we must act.”
Smith, R-Clinton, is the prime sponsor of legislation that would implement a one-stop portal for employers. House Bill 1403andHouse Bill 1757would make it easier for job creators to navigate the state's maze of bureaucracy.
“We need to put money in paychecks not paperwork. We can help employers hire more people and pay higher wages if we can reduce the cost of paperwork, administrative compliance and lawsuits,” said Rep. Matt Manweller, ranking Republican on the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee. “Some simple, non-partisan reforms can make this happen.”
Manweller, R-Ellensburg, is the architect of three workers' compensation bills that would lower costs in a system that is expensive for employers and their employees. The measures would build on bipartisan reforms passed in 2011.
“If we want sustainable budgets and reliable safety nets, we need to focus on economic growth. More economic growth will mean more revenue,” said DeBolt. “Our solutions will work for Washingtonians.”
Below is a list of the House Republican economic solutions.
Workers' compensation reform | House Bill 1463, House Bill 1464and House Bill 1465
- Additional changes to workers' compensation reforms passed in 2011 – addressing final settlement options and other reforms, and protecting earnings for those who suffer work-related injuries and illnesses.
Regulatory Freedom and Accountability Act | House Bill 1163
- Save taxpayer dollars by streamlining government operations, and end duplicative state services and government waste.
Improve customer service for employers | House Bill 1403andHouse Bill 1757
- Require the Office of the Chief Information Officer to provide the Legislature with a plan for establishing performance benchmarks and measuring results of implementing a one-stop portal.
Suspend Growth Management Act requirements in counties with persistent unemployment | House Bill 1619
- Alleviate the cost and encumbrance of controlling growth when none is occurring and when those regulations stand in the way of economic development.
Permit decisions in 90 days | House Bill 1236
- Require state agencies to make permit decisions in 90 days or the permit is granted. This would add certainty and eliminate unnecessary delays, and stimulate economic activity.
Moratorium on rulemaking | House Bill 1478
- Impose a moratorium on formal and informal rule-making by state agencies, except in certain specified instances, to last for three years – or until the state is no longer facing serious budget shortfalls.
Regulatory Fairness Act | House Bill 1162
- Require state agencies to determine whether compliance of a rule would result in a specified economic impact and, if so, the agency must provide notification and may not enforce the rule until the Legislature enacts the law.
Reclassify hydropower as renewable energy | House Joint Resolution 4200
- Amendment to the state constitution to require that hydroelectric generation be recognized as a renewable resource. This would recapture our state's competitive advantage of offering abundant, affordable clean energy to consumers and employers.
Legislative approval of certain agency rules | House Joint Resolution 4204
- Amendment to the state constitution to require certain agency rules to gain legislative approval.
Require 2/3 vote of the Legislature to raise taxes | House Joint Resolution 4206
- Amendment to the state constitution to place a higher legislative threshold to pass tax increases.
###Washington State House Republican Communications