GSI Candidate Roundtable Interview – Part 6

What pro-business policies are you planning to put forward or support this session?

One of our goals at GSI is to keep our members informed on public policy issues that could affect their business.  That is why we are hosting an online candidate forum for all state legislative candidates running in Spokane County this year.  Don’t know which district you live in?  Find out here!

Each week, we will be posting all of the answers to a different question in anticipation of our October Good Morning Greater Spokane event where we will host a forum between Senator Baumgartner and Rich Cowan.  Check out which candidates answered this week’s question “What pro-business policies are you planning to put forward or support this session?”

3rd District Representative Pos. 1

Marcus Riccelli (Incumbent)

“In order for Washington to compete in the global economy we need to ensure that we make tactical investments in our education system. We should not look at K-12 education, higher education and early learning in silos. We need to embrace that it is all connected. Fully funding basic education is what is mandated by our state constitution, but it cannot be on the backs of our students of higher education if we want to be a state that competes in the global economy. We need to continue to focus on the full continuum of education and how we get people through the whole education pipeline so we can protect and grow jobs in the global economy. This includes making calculated investments in our areas of high demand (STEM/Primary Care Physicians for example). I support programs that incentivize students to go into high demand fields like loan repayment or additional financial aid.”

Tim Benn

“I would support privatization of L&I. The legislature needs to address the issue of B&0 on gross sales. I am looking forward to supporting as many good business ideas as presented during the session that will benefit the 3rd district and small business owners.”

3rd District Representative Pos. 2

Timm Ormsby (Incumbent)

“I support what I consider pro-Washington policies. I have and will continue to be engaged with the local business community and Greater Spokane Incorporated on your legislative agenda just as I do with any organization wanting to influence the legislative process. I am looking forward to discussions with you on how to promote pro-Washington and pro-Spokane policies and funding.”

4th District Representative Pos. 1

Bob McCaslin

“Business deregulation, reform of the B&O tax, and allowing government agencies to carryover budget surpluses. The state regulations that any small business has to follow here is ridiculous. Most businesses have to hire someone just to deal with those things alone. The B&O tax should be levied on the net profit a business makes, not on the gross. Allowing state agencies to carry over surpluses would alleviate the “spend it or lose it” mentality that is rampant in state government bureaucracies. We’d save that surplus to be used for the next budget year, and give agencies priority in funding for the next year. Finally, rewarding bureaucracies for spending your money more wisely!”

Diana Wilhite

“We need to work at amending or repealing laws and regulations that impede business growth and enhance proposals that promote entrepreneurship. Would like to see private insurance carriers offer labor and industry insurance or at a minimum look at reforms for the Department of L & I. Instead of introducing new legislation I would want to review and then revoke any laws and regulations that no longer serve a public purpose or hinder business development.”

4th District Representative Pos. 2

Matt Shea (Incumbent)

“Again, I believe that lower taxes and less regulation allow for the best environment for businesses to create jobs. Therefore, my highest priority is to focus on lowering taxes and removing regulations if possible. However, if Republicans remain as the ‘minority party’ in the House of Representatives, then ensuring that new and unnecessary regulations are not passed into law and that any attempts to increase taxes or fees are blocked.”

Josh Arritola

“We need to work on regulatory speed. Although de-regulation is preferable, from a minority government, we must build consensus around improving regulatory speed. It can kill business just as fast if not faster than the regulations themselves.

I would like to see the same evidentiary standards the police follow applied to government agency fines. This means, the Department of Ecology, Labor and Industries would have to reach the same level of proof an officer of the law has to reach in order to issue a ticket. Additionally, I want to see employer protections against warrantless searches of businesses. If we protected the rights of business owners and landowners the same way we protect individual rights against government intrusion, we could drastically decrease government overreach.”

6th District Senator

Michael Baumgartner (Incumbent)

  • “Workers Compensation reform to reduce L&I costs.
  • Increased competitive contracting of non-essential government services to open them up to private sector.
  • Expansion of Aerospace industries in Spokane County on the West Plains.”

Rich Cowan

“I believe the passing of a transportation package that includes funding for the North/South corridor and improvements to the Geiger and Medical Lake interchanges are the most critical and impactful pro-business policy to be achieved in the upcoming session. These create jobs now, improve safety soon, and will stimulate the Spokane area economy for decades to come.

I am a big fan of the Spokane Area Workforce Development Council and will support ongoing efforts that support the work of this diverse and forward-thinking group of stakeholders.

Continued investments in our Community Colleges, EWU, and WSU are investments in our economy. Along these lines, strategic student loan forgiveness can play an important role in unshackling the student loan debt problem that is preventing our young and not-so-young professionals from buying their first homes, more efficient cars, and otherwise participating in our consumer economy.”

6th District Representative Pos. 1

Kevin Parker (Incumbent)

“Surveys have shown that 40% of business owners are wary of their future because of the uncertainty of state and national budgets. As a member of the legislature, the first thing we must do is provide a balanced budget. Secondly, as a small business owner myself and one who is in contact with other small business owners daily, lots of ideas have come forward to resolve particular industries. Given that I’m the Ranking Republican on the Business and Financial Services Committee, these issues are in the forefront of my goals for the next session.”

Donald Dover

“More job creation credits for employers need to be enacted! We need businesses to be government’s partner in creating opportunity for the youth that entered the job market during the worst of our economic downturn. Rewarding businesses that can place these yet untapped workers should be encouraged.”

6th District Representative Pos. 2

Jeff Holy (Incumbent)

“Continuing to address the four most notable impediments to any business wanting to site in Washington state:

B&O tax on gross revenues create a disincentive to locate any manner of start-up in Washington State.

Regulatory environment that not only is prohibitively complex, but often multiple levels of administrative oversight provide conflicting requirements and a lack of certainty as to which business decision is correct to accomplish compliance.

L&I premiums that appear to be attempting to build a surplus, often at the expense of participating employers.

Unemployment Insurance that has a very high benefit level and an appeal system that does not appear to have adequate separation from the administrative agency itself so as to allow for objective findings.

A notable attraction that WA State does have, and should keep to attract potential employers, is the absence of a state income tax.”

Ziggy Siegfried

“I believe in anything that supports workers. Being pro worker is pro-business and we need real reform for our work force that is also business friendly.”

7th District Representative Pos. 1

James R. Apker

“Seeing that I come from a construction back ground my focus would be more towards the construction industry and removing code and regulations that do not work for northeastern Washington. Which in the end will work for other parts of Washington, if not all of Washington. We need to have a positive tax policy for all business not just Boeing. The 7th District is a large district with a lot of little communities. A positive business friendly policies to help create the environment for companies that want to find a new home.”


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