OLYMPIA…Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia and a member of the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee, offered this following a hearing today on controversial legislation that would affect thousands of hairstylists, barbers and cosmetologists who offer their services as independent contractors at a booth or chair they rent from a shop or salon:
“It’s a shame that so many hard-working independent business operators had to effectively turn away clients to come and testify about Senate Bill 5326 – imagine how much income they gave up this morning just to be here and stand their ground. I was also disappointed that more of them weren’t permitted to speak to our committee and really drive home how they see this proposal as needless government intrusion. My concerns about the bill include how it inexplicably singles out one sector of our economy which seems to offer good opportunities for many people – primarily women and single moms in particular – to make a living and provide for their families.
“Today’s hearing reminded me of the old line about the person from the government who is ‘here to help you.’ It was apparent that booth renters across our state don’t want this kind of ‘help.’ They aren’t buying what this legislation is trying to sell.
“I’m encouraged to see people pushing back against ideas like this, because many here at the Capitol are talking about new taxes and higher taxes at a time when state government is already collecting a record amount of revenue. One of those proposed tax increases is aimed directly at professional services – a 67-percent jump in the B&O tax – and any carbon-related taxes are also going to raise the cost of doing business. The booth renters and other independent business operators should be ready to weigh in about those too.”