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.


Citizens' Guide to Initiative 1033

September 6, 2009 in Publications

In November the people of Washington will vote on Initiative 1033. The measure is sponsored by Tim Eyman and would create a new revenue limit for the state, counties and cities with the goal of annually reducing property taxes. Eyman calls Initiative 1033 the “Lower Property Tax Act of 2009.” Initiative 1033 is the latest in a series of initiatives considered by voters which seek to control the growth of state government, though it is the first to include local governments under its requirements, and it is the first to focus primarily on providing ongoing tax rebates to property owners.

The President's "Public Option" and Small Businesses

July 17, 2009 in Publications

This op-ed was published in the Puget Sound Business Journal on July 17th, 2009.

Digital Goods Taxation in Washington State

July 6, 2009 in Publications

During the 2009 Session the Legislature passed Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2075, which clarifies the definition of a “digital personal good” and sets some basic rules for taxation of intangible electronic products. An intangible electronic product means a digital good or service such as a digital book, digital audio and video files, ringtones, etc.

Payday Lending Proposal Would Limit Access to Short-term Credit

April 7, 2009 in Publications

Lawmakers are considering legislation which would place new restrictions on the payday lending market. The proposal would impose further limits on citizens’ ability to access short-term credit, in addition to existing state regulations. Policy research and the depressed state of the economy, however, indicate that lawmakers should be cautious about adding new restrictions to this already highly regulated form of credit. Payday lending is one of the few areas of the financial services sector that is functioning well and where easily-available credit is flowing to individuals and small businesses.

Gauging the Economic Impact of Home Construction in Washington State

April 2, 2009 in Publications

Washington state’s housing construction industry has been hit disproportionately hard by the economic downturn. For the past 24 months, one problem after another has led to the state’s housing construction dropping off, which in turn has caused a massive detrimental economic impact. Everything from jobs, new homes, existing homes, employers, tax revenue and all the industries that rely on a robust construction environment have been affected.

State-Mandated Warranty Would Slow Housing Market Recovery

March 17, 2009 in Publications

This op-ed appeared in The Olympian on March 30, 2009.

Lawmakers in Olympia are debating a bill that would hurt the recovery of the housing market, and would hit small homebuilders particularly hard.

Economic Stimulus Starts with Private Sector Job Growth

March 17, 2009 in Publications

Suddenly everything old is new again. This saying usually applies to the fashion industry, but today we are digging up old economic theories, dusting them off, and re-applying them.

The Effect of Tax Preferences on B&O Taxes Paid by Washington Businesses

March 7, 2009 in Publications

In late January the Senate Ways and Means Committee and House Finance Committee held a joint hearing to receive testimony from JLARC staff and Commission members on the Citizen Commission for Performance Measurement of Tax Preferences’ latest report.

Expanded “Family Security Act” Will Expand Government Benefits and Raise Payroll Taxes

March 7, 2009 in Publications

Legislators are proposing to expand and fund the Paid Family Leave Act, which was passed into law in 2007. As originally passed, the program would send qualified recipients a check for $250 per week for up to five weeks—$1,250 total. Beneficiaries of the new entitlement would be eligible if their family had recently given birth to, or adopted, a baby.

Procurement Policies and the Differences among Open Source Software, Open Standards, and Open Government

March 2, 2009 in Publications

Most computer software is sold like any other commercial product and is protected by U.S. intellectual property laws (primarily copyright and patent protection). Such software products are sold under defined legal controls. Customers, without prior permission or a license agreement, cannot see or change the software program’s basic source code.