Business Climate

WPC's Center for Small Business focuses on improving Washington's small business climate by working closely with business owners and policymakers. The Center provides accurate information and analysis on the state's regulatory climate, tax structure, health insurance systems, and more.

Business Climate Blog

Fewer workers impacted by Seattle's $15 wage than predicted in UW study, as UW refuses to pay new wage

March 26, 2015 in Blog

In the midst of last year’s raging debate over whether Seattle should increase the minimum wage to $15, a study by the University of Washington (UW) weighed in, finding 24% of Seattle workers would benefit from the wage hike.  Add in predictions of wage compression, whereby employers increase the wages of workers already making more than $15 in order to maintain the pay-scale hierarchy, and the UW study said one third of the city’s workers would benefit.

Seattle-style labor regulations aimed at Spokane

March 24, 2015 in Blog

Envision Spokane, a labor and enviro backed group, has filed an initiative to amend the City of Spokane’s charter to include a “Worker Bill of Rights.”  If approved by voters in November, the measure would impose a sweeping set of new labor mandates on Spokane employers.

Another great editorial calling for labor reform measures

March 24, 2015 in Blog

Recently The Columbian published an outstanding editorial in favor of making Washington a right-to-work state, equating such a law with freedom.

80 plus years is long enough for a "temporary/emergency" tax

March 23, 2015 in Blog

On March 13 the House Finance Committee held a public hearing on HB 2150: Reforming the business and occupation tax to provide fairness and administrative simplicity. This proposal is a variation of the Single Business Tax reform that Washington Policy Center first proposed in a 2010 study.

The universal language of unintended consequences

March 17, 2015 in Blog

Research consistently shows that when the government forces employers to pay a higher minimum wage, employers rarely absorb the extra costs.  Employers simply cannot pay a worker more than the value of their output.  So forcing employers to pay workers an artificially high wage creates perverse incentives to find other ways to cut labor costs.  Usually it is in the form of charging higher prices for the goods and services they provide, reducing the size of their work force, reducing employee hours or eliminating non-mandated benefits.

Senator Nelson calls for “WPC Rule” for Senate hearings

March 17, 2015 in Blog

Yesterday Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson said she plans to ask for a Senate rule to require “fair and balanced” hearings.  She specifically cited the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, chaired by Senator Michael Baumgartner, as a primary offender.

When pressed for an example of why such a rule is needed, Senator Nelson said:

When you have a hearing it should be fair and balanced and both sides should be heard, versus having the WPC present on a bill and not have someone from the other side presenting on the same bill.”

More Evidence of the Unintended Consequences of Mandated Paid Sick Leave

March 16, 2015 in Blog

A recent article in The News Tribune (Tacoma) featured a headline declaring, “Businesses elsewhere report few problems with sick leave laws.”  The crux of the article is that business owners in Tacoma should not panic about that city’s impending paid sick leave law because some business owners in other cities with paid sick leave mandates say the regulat

Tri-City Herald Editorial Hits the Nail on the Minimum Wage Head

March 10, 2015 in Blog

Today the Tri-City Herald published an excellent editorial warning against legislation (HB 1355) that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $12 an hour.

In the opening salvo, the editorial notes that Washington state has some “drawbacks,” with “one big problem” being that “we are not business friendly.”

Senate Committee Passes Out Most Significant Labor Reform in Decades

March 9, 2015 in Blog

During the first two months of this legislative session, the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee passed out a series of bills that represent the most significant labor reform in decades. 

Enough Never Is for the Minimum Wage Movement

March 9, 2015 in Blog

It has been one week since the state House passed legislation (HB 1355) to increase the state’s minimum wage to $12 over four years (with an exemption for unions, of course) and still there is grumbling that workers need more.