Governor-Elect Dino Rossi, Transition Office, State of Washington

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Forward Washington REFORM ONE:

Make it easier for businesses to grow and hire workers in Washington state by creating an administration that seeks to serve, that eliminates duplicative regulations, that reduces its costs and frees monies to invest in areas of need without making matters worse by raising taxes.

Hard Facts:

  • The latest unemployment figures show that while the national economy is recovering, Washington lost about 6,800 jobs in August-- and the unemployment rate inched up to 6.2 percent.
  • Washington business people and their employees have seen a nearly 40 percent increase in the cost of their workers' compensation premiums.
  • Washington's automatic minimum wage hikes cost the state 30,000 jobs between 1998 and 2001-- impacting our economy even before the 9/11 recession hit. Our law has increased unemployment by 22.5 percent and expanded poverty by 32.7 percent.
  • The business climate doesn't just affect large businesses -- it affects the small- and medium-sized businesses that create 80 percent of the jobs in this state.
  • In today's economy, two-thirds of new small businesses are started by women-- and our own state government stands in the way of their dreams of success.

Real people:

  • Darlene Johnson, CEO and owner of Woodland Trucking in Southwest Washington, says "I'd rather work every day with the Internal Revenue Service than with a state agency. The IRS will help you recover from your debt, but state agencies are totally unforgiving and have no compassion for business owners."

"When our warehouse burned down, we received $250,000 to rebuild, but $100,000 of that had to go toward fulfilling state regulations," she says. "We could build a new warehouse with parking right next to a rail line to help our business grow and hire more employees but we simply can't because we don't have the time to complete and wait for the permits."

  • Don Weippert is an orchardist from Yakima, who has faced two years of double-digit workers’ compensation increases. He also has to pay some of the highest unemployment insurance rates in the nation. These high labor costs cut into his profitability and hurt his ability to do business. He's seen dozens of other orchardists forced out of the business due to increased costs and he knows it's time for a change.

Concrete solutions:

  • My first week in office, I'll establish thee Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform to streamline, and reduce, the regulations that hurt businesses and job growth-- without compromising worker health and safety and without harming the environment.
  • I am targeting a minimum 5 percent reduction in regulations in the first year. My office will look for regulations that duplicate and contradict each other, and for ones that are just plain unnecessary. They'll be removed or streamlined.
  • I won't support any increase in general taxes.

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