Taxes, carbon regulations and minimum wage are on Washington owners' minds.
As the legislative session gets underway Jan. 12, small business owners will be watching a few issues carefully. Here are three that could affect them the most:
1. Tax increases. The state expects a shortfall of more than $2 billion in the 2015-2017 budget cycle. To close that gap, Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to announce a budget with more than $1 billion in new taxes and revenue, while other lawmakers have suggested getting rid of some business tax breaks or instituting a capital gains tax, the Seattle Times reported. Washington is one of only a handful of states without a state capital gains tax.
2. Carbon regulations. Inslee has proposed a new carbon charge on industry that he says will raise about $4.8 billion over 12 years. Also being suggested is a low-carbon fuel standard, despite polls conducted by NFIB and GMA Research Corporation that found 78 percent of small business owners think the state should wait to see the effects of a similar proposal in California.
3. Minimum wage and paid leave mandates. Protesters have urged an increase to the state minimum wage, which was $9.32 an hour in 2014, one of the highest in the nation, to as much as $15 an hour. SeaTac and Seattle have already passed $15 minimum wage laws. Paid parental leave has been suggested in Seattle for city employees who give birth or adopt a child. In addition, the state has paid family leave law on the books, but its implementation has repeatedly been postponed.