Op-Ed: Made in Washington – A jobs plan for the 2010 session
Special to the Chambers of Commerce
With more than 320,000 people out of work (including 7,720 within the 39th District), I believe one of the top priorities of the 2010 legislative session should be to address the unemployment issue and pass legislation that helps to stimulate job creation in the private sector.
Putting people back to work will not only help their families, but it is also the responsible way for the Legislature to address our state's budget challenges. A strong economy makes people less reliant on government services and at the same time generates the revenue that helps us carry out the core functions of government. Simply raising taxes to cover the state's $2.6 billion budget shortfall, as the governor has suggested, has the opposite effect. It puts a greater burden on our economy and on employers and families who are already struggling.
My House Republican colleagues and I have created a jobs agenda for the 2010 session. We call it the “Made in Washington Plan” out of respect to the hard-working people in our state who produce quality goods and services. The following is an outline of that plan:
1. Protect jobs by revitalizing Washington's economy and attracting new investment.
- Reform the state's costly and complex workers' compensation system.
- Protect unemployment insurance improvements passed into law during the 2009 session.
2. Provide regulatory relief by reforming government services to ease burdensome and costly regulations.
- Require agencies to issue permit decisions within 90 days or the permit is automatically granted.
- Require new state agency rules be reviewed by the Legislature before being adopted.
- Put burden of proof in agency rule disputes on the agency instead of the citizens.
- Give employers 48 hours to correct mistakes before an agency can issue a fine or penalty.
3. Increase affordable, renewable energy supply.
- Adopt policies that will lower energy costs for employers and families, and increase our energy supply to give job providers a competitive advantage.
- Recognize hydropower as a renewable resource.
- Reduce red tape and provide incentives for constructing new energy cogeneration facilities that provide clean, low-cost power.
4. Protect workers' health care with reforms that reduce costs and protect consumer choice.
- Create a flexible “core benefit” plan for employees.
- Allow consumers to choose health insurance plans across state lines.
- Prevent lawsuit abuse.
- Create an affordable “core benefit” plan for young adults ages 19 to 34.
We believe our leaders should be exhausting all resources and making every effort to attract jobs and retain the precious family-wage jobs we already have. It won't happen if the state continues to add costs to employers, such as higher taxes, increased workers' compensation rates and higher unemployment insurance premiums.
The legislative session is scheduled to continue until March 11. Please join with us in supporting this plan so that the words “Made in Washington” will mean something again. More information about our plan can be found on our Web site at: houserepublicans.wa.gov.
EDITOR'S NOTE: State Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, represents the 39th Legislative District, and also serves as chairman of the Washington House Republican Caucus. He can be contacted at (360) 786-7967 or e-mail him and sign up for his e-newsletter at: houserepublicans.wa.gov/Kristiansen. His office address is: P.O. Box 40600, Olympia, WA 98504-0600.