2020 Challenges in the Washington State Legislature

Date: May 22, 2019

Another run at independent contractors, restrictive work schedules, and raid on payroll taxes expected

The 66th Washington State Legislature reconvenes January 13, 2020, for the second half of its session

Fighting Restrictions on Independent Contractors
While NFIB helped defeat several bills that would have made it more difficult for independent contractors and other sole proprietors to remain in business, we expect the Legislature will again take up these bills during the 2020 session. The various proposals could require sole proprietors to pay workers’ compensation, unemployment, and paid family and medical leave taxes; treat many independent contractors as employees of their own customers; or eliminate the ability of individual sole proprietors in the same or similar fields from co-locating in office or retail spaces, or sharing reception, scheduling or other services (ending booth rental arrangements, for instance).

Defeating Restrictive Scheduling Requirements
NFIB joined other business groups in successfully opposing bills that would have required certain employers to post and distribute work schedules at least two weeks in advance, in multiple languages, and limiting their ability to make changes without incurring penalties or being forced to provide workers additional pay for changes in anticipated hours or shifts. These bills will be considered again in 2020.

Enacting a Payroll Tax “Lockbox”
NFIB supported a proposed constitutional amendment to protect payroll taxes funding recently approved programs like paid family and medical leave, and the long-term services and support trust, from being used for other purposes by future legislatures. There is no such protection in place for the state-run workers’ compensation system, allowing the legislature to divert roughly $100 million each year from workers’ compensation accounts to pay for other activities, some of which have questionable, if any, relation to workplace safety. The bills did not pass in 2019, but NFIB will advocate for their approval in 2020.

Preventing New and Increased Taxes
While the 2019 Legislature imposed B&O surcharges on certain service activities, several other tax proposals failed. NFIB expects the Legislature to again consider enacting a capital gains tax and carbon tax, as well as a gas tax increase, in 2020. We will continue to oppose these or other tax increase proposals.

Click here to see the small-business victories from the first half of the session.


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