2013/2014 Session Wins For Small Business
The 63rd Washington State Legislature adjourned on March 13, 2014. Below are some big victories for small business during the two-year session.
Ensured the 2010 “temporary” taxes expired as promised
NFIB helped defeat proposals to make the 20 percent Business and Occupation tax surcharge permanent. The tax affected 144,000 businesses and resulted in an average annual savings of $2,100 per small business.
Worked to streamline health-care insurance prior-authorization process
Some insurance carriers force doctors to sift through nearly 100 forms to get a prescription or treatment authorized. Small-business owners and the families they cover should not have treatment delayed or denied due to excessive paperwork hurdles. NFIB and its allies won unanimous passage of a bill to streamline this process in 2013. When the insurers ran out the clock on that workgroup, NFIB came back and helped pass another bill in 2014. We will keep fighting the carriers until a standardized processes is implemented that allows electronic authorization in hours rather than days or weeks as is current practice.
Made progress towards real regulatory reform
The state operates three separate business web portals, and many of the 26 state agencies with jurisdiction over the 1,377 various licenses, permits and inspections required of small business also post some – but not all – of these documents on their own individual websites. NFIB supported several bills on the regulatory reform front, including requiring more state agencies to participate in the Business Licensing System, directing the departments of Ecology, Health and Labor & Industries to formally review existing rules every five years to improve licensing, permitting, and inspection processes to reduce the regulatory burden on businesses without compromising public health and safety, and making the state’s chief information officer responsible for coordinating a true one-stop online portal for businesses.
Once again defeated numerous workplace mandates
NFIB also assisted with the defeat of several bills that would have made it more difficult and costly to operate a small business in our state, including:
- a statewide sick-and-safe leave mandate, modeled on Seattle’s ordinance
- a new payroll tax to fund an expanded paid-family-leave mandate
- excessive restrictions that would nearly outlaw the use of independent contractors
- and severe new penalties, including jail time, on small business owners for their workers’ on-the-job injuries and workplace safety violations.
Closed a strong 2014 legislative session protecting small business
This year’s session actually adjourned on time, for a change. During those 60 days, NFIB tracked 46 bills that passed out of committee, supporting 65 percent, opposing 26 percent and winning changes that allowed us to be neutral on the others. NFIB staff and members appeared before the state legislature more than 65 times to testify on bills affecting your operations and bottom line – and we had a 100 percent success rate defeating bills bad for small business.
to see what's ahead for small business in 2015.