The 2020 legislative session is off to a fast start; most of my time so far this session has been spent attending meetings of the three Senate committees I have the honor of being assigned to – Early Learning and K-12 Education, Ways and Means, and the Behavioral Health Subcommittee (where I am the Ranking Republican member). We have spent many hours listening to testimony on bills that come before us and I especially appreciate seeing constituents from home making their way to Olympia to testify on pending legislature.
Unfortunately, there have been many detrimental bills introduced this session. Last week, we talked about anti-gun bills that would infringe upon your 2nd Amendment Right. This week, I want to inform you of economic bills and policies that are a threat to our economy, our businesses, our jobs, and your household budget.
Ironically, in the midst of the best economy in our country’s history, small businesses in our rural legislative district are struggling. Cumulative year-after-year minimum wage and tax increases are inflicting an inevitable effect. Initiative 1433, passed in 2016, mandated a nearly 45% minimum wage increase over a three-year period; with more to come. Larger businesses and corporations have been able to compensate through automation and frankly, firing employees. You now see ordering kiosks and self-checkout where employees used to stand. But smaller restaurants, rural grocery and retail stores, and other small businesses never had the fiscal depth to trade employees for automation. They are simply fading away and so is the economic vibrancy that they provided.