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

Despite Moratorium, Hundreds of New State Regulations Imposed in 2012

January 31, 2013 in Blog

Despite Executive Order 11-03 from Governor Christine Gregoire implementing a moratorium on “non-critical” agency rulemaking in 2012, state agencies still imposed more regulations than the previous year.  Under the Executive Order, agencies weren’t supposed to adopt new regulations unless they, “protect Washingtonians from significant risks to public health, safety or welfare, or by request of local governments, businesses or entities the state regulates.”

It does not appear agencies paid much heed to Gregoire’s directive.

Survey of Washington small business owners released at press conference today

January 30, 2013 in Blog

At a press conference at the state capitol today, Washington Policy Center offered policy recommendations showing how lawmakers can improve Washington’s small business climate, help working families and spur economic recovery in our state.

Single-Payer Health Care: Paid for One Job at a Time

January 22, 2013 in Blog

Throughout his campaign and even in the days leading up to his inauguration, Governor Inslee has repeatedly said he is, “focused like a laser beam on jobs.” 

She Said What?

January 16, 2013 in Blog

In yesterday’s final State of the State speech, Governor Gregoire spent 44 minutes summarizing her struggles and accomplishments leading the state of Washington for during the last tumultuous eight years.

When she finally got to the state’s business climate, Gregoire bragged that, “…over the past eight years, we had little or no increases in workers’ comp premiums.” 

This simply isn't true.  

A Tax Hike By Any Other Name…is Still a Tax Hike

December 17, 2012 in Blog

Last week the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESC) issued a press release announcing unemployment tax rates will be unchanged for most employers in 2013.

Seattle City Council Wants to Ban Employers' Access to Criminal Records

November 7, 2012 in Blog

Seattle is often the incubator for bad business policy. Last year the city became one of the few in the nation to mandate paid sick leave for all workers.  Now the City Council is considering an ordinance that would make Seattle one of the few to limit employers’ ability to access public records and conduct background checks on potential employees. 

Election results and recent polling show Vancouver does not support light rail

November 7, 2012 in Blog

Voters in the Clark County area are soundly rejecting (56.3%) a proposal to fund light rail across a new Columbia River Crossing (CRC) on I-5. The measure, Proposition 1, was placed on the ballot by the Clark County Area Transit Authority, C-TRAN. Yet, even though this is the second time voters have rejected light rail in Clark County, local officials have made it clear they want to move ahead with extending light rail from Portland to Vancouver.

Surprise…government regulations influence hiring decisions

October 4, 2012 in Blog

Demonstrating that government rules and regulations play a significant role in small business owners’ staffing decisions, two reports show small businesses across the nation cut back on hiring this summer and have lowered their staffing plans for the future.

More Bad News for Small Businesses

September 28, 2012 in Blog

The state Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) announced today the state’s minimum wage will increase in 2013 from the current $9.04 to $9.19 per hour. 

Washington State already has the highest minimum wage in the nation.  The new increase ensures the state will hold on to that dubious honor.