Legislative Update – Feb. 11, 2014

Sen. Braun

Sen. Braun speaking at the Jobs Now! press conference

Growth Management Act: A Burden on Our Communities

I have cosponsored legislation recently that addresses some serious concerns I have regarding the state’s Growth Management Act (GMA). The fact is that our communities know what is best for planning and managing growth. The GMA is overly burdensome and this proposed legislation allows for counties to have flexibility in adopting their own planning rules that makes sense for them. See this article in the Longview Daily News for more information about the issue.

Jobs Now!: Getting Washington back on Track

On Wednesday, the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus held a press conference announcing a new initiative focused on getting Washington back to work. The initiative is being call Jobs Now! and started with the passage of the Worker Recovery Act out in the Senate. I am proud to support this effort that would reduce barriers to injured workers of all ages and provide for options and flexibility to meet their needs.

As part of this initiative, my Senate colleagues I and hope to continue supporting sustainable reforms and bills that focus on our state’s economy. I want Washington to be the best place in the country to do business. As a legislator I want to build a better business climate by reducing bureaucratic red tape, supporting reforms to our workers’ compensation system, tax code and education system. This initiative seeks to assist employers in their efforts to create jobs, hire more workers and grow the economy. Click on the photo above to watch the press conference.

Sponsored Legislation

Here are some of the priorities I am working on this session. I am committed to making our state an attractive place to live and work. With the Majority Coalition Caucus, I continue to advance reforms that will make our state’s economy strong, create accountability in government and reduce the burden on our tax payers and job creators.

Senate Bill 5656 would create a one stop shop for businesses to renew business licenses for all jurisdictions.

Senate Bill 5697 reduces the frequency of local sales and use tax changes. Currently local sales and use tax changes may be implemented four times year. This bill allows changes three times annually. Current sales and use tax system is too complex for small businesses and is continuing to grow. This legislation would cut in half the burden for employers when changing their systems to reflect new sales and use tax rates.

Senate Bill 6182 would establish an annual B&O tax credit for employers that establish new apprenticeship positions where skills gaps exist.

Senate Bill 5727 exempts prevailing wage requirements for public works projects located in distressed counties. Projects would be exempt if at least 50 percent of the project funding comes from private sources. Distressed counties are defined as counties with an unemployment rate 20 percent above the state average for the previous three years.

Senate Bills 6175 & 6176 creates a tax tribunal to balance the relationship between tax payers and tax collectors to ensure fairness and efficiency.

Senate Bill 5647 establishes a stakeholder process for the Department of Revenue in publishing tax rulings and determinations. This bill seeks to balance tax payer confidentiality with open and transparent government and efficiency.