Universal background checks, Inslee’s jobs plan and sex trafficking on ‘Leg Review’

By | February 14, 2013 | 0 Comments

On Wednesday’s “Legislative Review,” we have highlights from a debate in the House Judiciary committee over gun control. The most controversial measure would expand universal background checks to include private sales. We also cover Gov. Jay Inslee‘s press conference in which he announced a $120 million package of proposals to spur job growth around the state.

Last year, the Legislature passed a bill aimed at reducing the sex trafficking of minors. The bill, which was signed into law by former Gov. Chris Gregoire, would have required online escort sites like Backpage to verify the age of the girls depicted in ads. But Backpage sued, and the state ultimately stopped defending the law in court. On Wednesday, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles introduced a bill that would repeal the previous law, while also imposing a $5,000 fine on people who use the Internet to arrange the sex trafficking of a minor.

Senate will release its version of the budget tomorrow

By | February 27, 2012 | 0 Comments

Senate Democrats will introduce their version of the supplemental operating budget Tuesday morning at 10:30. You can watch live on TVW — and we’ll be blogging along here.

Sen. Ed Murray will unveil the budget — unlike last year, he won’t be joined by his Republican counterpart, Sen. Joe Zarelli. He will, however, be joined by fellow Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown and Sens. Derek Kilmer and Jim Hargrove. In addition to unveiling the budget, they’ll discuss job creation strategies and government reform.

With just about a week and a half left of session, we’ll be watching tomorrow to see how close the Senate proposal is to the House-backed plan introduced last week.

Categories: Budget
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Senate Democrats lay out priorities for job creation

By | February 7, 2012 | 0 Comments

Senators Derek Kilmer and Jim Kastama held a press conference today to give an update on their legislative priorities, citing a number of bills that survived today’s policy cutoff deadline.

Washington state doesn’t have a jobs shortage, “we have a skills shortage,” said Sen. Kastama. He said 60,000 jobs are going unfilled because of a lack of skilled workers. One bill that Democrats say would help address that shortage is 6289, which provides training for unemployed people to become entrepreneurs. Another bill would help the spouses of military members obtain professional licenses. A handful of other bills are aimed at expanding the state’s aerospace industry.

Kastama said one of his top priorities is 5808. If an industry earns more revenue than projected, then industry groups could apply for a rebate that could be used for research and training workers. The rebates would be capped at $5 million a year.

You can watch the full half-hour press conference here.

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Rep. Larry Haler: “We have reached the breaking point”

By | January 9, 2012 | 0 Comments

In just a few minutes TVW will be on air with legislators with discussions spanning the topics of the budget, jobs, and higher education.

So far, we’ve spoken with Senators Ed Murray and Mark Schoesler about the budget and Senator Derek Kilmer about job creation.

In our discussion about higher education with Representative Larry Haler, he said “we have reached the breaking point,” regarding cuts to higher education. He said he is in talks with higher education officials and has called for a “zero percent increase” in tuition, or as close to that as is feasible, he added.

All of the interviews today will be on air at 7 p.m. as well.

Governor announces proposals to streamline B&O taxes, business licenses

By | January 5, 2012 | 0 Comments

Gov. Chris Gregoire announced a plan today that would streamline the way that small businesses pay local taxes and apply for a business license.

Under her proposal, Washington state would become the sole collector of all local and state B&O taxes, or business and occupation taxes. It would also create a single state website where businesses can obtain a business license, eliminating the 50 or so websites that are now run by individual cities.

Currently, if a business has operations in more than one city it may have to pay the B&O taxes to multiple cities  — a system that is “at its best complicated, and at its worst a nightmare,” Gregoire said. Her proposal would bring the collection of all B&O taxes under the state’s jurisdiction, much like the sales tax.

Gregoire said she is also issuing an executive order to determine if the restaurant industry has too many state and local regulations that are hindering business. “Do we need all these inspectors? Do we give conflicting advice? We’ll find out the answers so that businesses can get on with their bottom line, ” Gregoire said.

Gregoire is also directing $1.1 million in federal funds to specific job training programs, including:

  • Training 460 veterans for a careers in manufacturing
  • Providing paid internships and professional training to at-risk, low-income youth
  • Offering on-the-job training for 300 women and minorities working in the construction and transportation sector



State jobless rate is down

By | November 17, 2011 | 0 Comments

On the heels of this morning’s not-awful revenue forecast, the state also heard the latest jobs report. The good news: The state added 4,600 jobs in October and the unemployment rate is now the lowest it’s been since March 2009.

The bad news: The rate is 9 percent. And 314,698 people are still unemployed and looking for work in the state. Of those, about 176,000 were receiving unemployment benefits and nearly 65,000 unemployed workers have gone without a job for so long that they’ve simply run out of benefits.

According to the Employment Security Department, the industries with the biggest job gains were government, wholesale trade, education and health services, and manufacturing, which includes aerospace. But jobs were lost in professional and business services, transportation, warehousing and utilities, retail trade.

To view the full report, go here.

Categories: economy, unemployment
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Unemployment rate remains steady, even as state adds more jobs

By | September 14, 2011 | 0 Comments

If you’re just looking at the state’s unemployment rate, nothing has changed: We’re still at 9.3 percent, which means nearly 310,000 people are unemployed and looking for work.

But the state has added jobs for every month of the last year. That means there are now 46,600 more jobs in the state than this time last year.

“At some point, there will be a tipping point where the constant job growth starts eroding the unemployment rate,” said Dave Wallace, acting chief economist for Employment Security.

You can read the full report here.

Categories: Budget
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Jobs are up, but unemployment rate is holding steady

By | August 17, 2011 | 0 Comments

The Employment Security Department announced this morning that, despite adding 5,700 jobs to the economy, the state’s unemployment rate has held steady at 9.3 percent.

This marks the eleventh month of job gains — but those gains haven’t been substantial enough to touch the unemployment rate.

Industries responsible for adding those 5,700 jobs include leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, retail trade, transportation, warehousing and utilities, professional and business services, financial activities, construction, and government. Meanwhile “other services” and information lost jobs.

Need help finding a job? Go to WorkSource. Want to view the full report? Go here.

Good news: 21 percent increase in job openings in Washington

By | July 19, 2010 | 0 Comments

For the first time in three years, the Employment Security Department is reporting there are 21 percent more jobs listed than six months ago.

The Washington Job Vacancy Survey is done twice a year — in the fall and spring. The spring results were just released, and show38,732 vacancies — up from 32,037 in the fall. The record high was 90,000 vacancies in 2006, ESD reports.

“This is positive news for the thousands of people in our state who are hungry to get back to work,” Employment Security Commissioner Karen Lee said in a press release. She said it will take some time to get all of the hundreds of thousands of unemployed people in the state back to work, but she sees this as a positive sign.

About 44 percent of the jobs listed were in King County. Many of the jobs statewide were in healthcare. Read the entire survey here.

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The House passed the bonds bill

By | April 12, 2010 | 0 Comments

The House repassed its bill to issue bonds to weatherize schools.

Rep. Skip Priest said he’s never seen a bill he likes less. He said the bill will not create immediate jobs — it will send the bond package to voters and require a long wait. He also said he doesn’t approve of borrowing money in the form of bonds to create jobs.“It is our responsibility to pay now to help our kids rather than put the bill on them,” he said.

Rep. Scott White said passing this bill requires courage. “We are going to be levereging our dollars … 4 to one,” he said. “It will be providing 30,000 jobs in every corner of our state to a construction sector that is battling unemployment,” he said. He said this bill has courage and vision.

Rep. Richard DeBolt: “This is not the New Deal,” he said. People “are going to say, we’re still paying on that even though we had to tear down the school?”

Rep. Roger Goodman: “Our core priorities are safety, education and jobs and with this bill, we score a hat trick.”

Rep. Glenn Anderson: “The facts do not substantiate the claims made about this bill,” he said. He said the capital budget used to be the place for school construction, but they’ve de-emphasized that. Instead, he said the Legislature has emphasized low-income housing. “We no longer have capacity in the capital budget to do what it’s intended to do” so they have to create a separate bond bill. He asked lawmakers to vote no.

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