Important Updates and Takeaways from AWB
From the Association of Washington Business:
1) Paused reopening: Gov. Inslee announced a pause in the phased reopening plan this week, saying the state was making good progress in knocking down the Covid-19 infection rate. During the pause, no regions will be rolled back from Phase 2. This is good news, but as noted in a press release, we’re disappointed the state still has not outlined a roadmap for reopening that goes beyond the current phase. Employers need to see the roadmap ahead for how we reopen the economy and begin to rebuild. Unfortunately, it appears we’ve reached a stop sign on the road to recovery.
2) Session update: The House of Representatives may be voting soon on a bill that would create a low-carbon fuel standard. We opposed similar legislation last year and remain opposed this year. Washington employers are leading on the environment and are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but House Bill 1091 will raise the cost of fuel dramatically while doing little to reducing emissions — and nothing to improve the state’s transportation system. If you want to send your House members an email asking them to vote no, you can click on this link.
Another issue we’re watching closely is a capital gains proposal. It’s not popular with the public (see below) and legislation currently before lawmakers has drawn strong opposition, including this bruising editorial from The Seattle Times and op-eds from AWB board members Tim Schauer (Vancouver Business Journal) and Tyler Crow (Peninsula Daily News).
3) Do no harm: We shared the results of a public opinion poll this week confirming the public is not supportive of higher taxes right now. The poll of 800 Washington voters found only 19% of voters support raising taxes to pay for additional government services during the pandemic. Two-thirds of voters say this is a better time to reduce taxes to help struggling businesses survive. A majority of voters (56%) oppose a capital gains tax and 41% strongly oppose the idea. You can see more details from the poll here. You can also check out Capitol Focus for an interview with the polling firm. This is consistent with a separate poll from Crosscut that found 54% oppose the capital gains tax. We continue to call on lawmakers to focus on economic recovery, job creation and the pandemic. Don’t put additional hurdles in front of employers while so many are struggling and so many Washingtonians remain out of work.