A few thoughts from
Jon Flora, President & CEO

In recent weeks, our Washington members have received requests to contact state legislators about bills having a negative impact on NACM member companies and employees. YOU have made a difference.
The Washington Legislature now has a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate. Governor Jay Inslee leads the charge. The majority is very slim but this new control has resulted in attempts to force through a lot of legislation that isn’t necessarily in the best interest of the taxpayers or our NACM members. We needed your help and you delivered.

We asked you to help defeat a capital gains tax (HB 1730)–which is really an income tax–and unconstitutional in Washington State. Aside from impacting your companies, it may have also delayed your retirement if passed. The good news is that bill finally died in committee and is done for this year. Representatives heard from a lot of voters including many of you about how the tax was a bad idea. Your calls and emails made a difference. Thanks for your help.

We also sought your help in defeating a new Energy /Carbon Tax (SB 6203). It was forecasted to add nearly 88% to gas, propane and natural gas costs over a ten year period and heavily tax many of our members in manufacturing. The State Senate was working to get this passed largely as a favor to the Governor at a time when the State does not need more money. It will likely be back in some new form but, for now, it’s gone. Thank you for helping.

Last Thursday night, the Governor vetoed a bill that would have exempted the Legislature from current law that requires public access to legislative and public records (SB 6617). The bill was quickly pushed through the House and Senate in an attempt to eliminate public debate. It was supported by both D’s and R’s. In a time when trust and transparency in government is already severely lacking, the bill made no sense. It was bad public policy.

NACM BCS was one of the 20,000 calls, letters, and emails that Governor Inslee received imploring him to veto SB 6617, even though the Legislature had enough votes to override his action. He ultimately made the right call and legislators wisely has second thoughts about the bill and their process. It’s dead for this session but likely will rear its head again next January.  (See the Seattle Times story about the bill and the Governor’s veto.)

During this session, NACM BCS encouraged you to call your elected representatives for a couple of reasons.

First, these bills would have been detrimental to our member companies and employees. Taxation in Washington is growing fast and it has to stop. Tax after tax is being levied and, because of a thriving Washington economy, the State has plenty of money. Almost $1.3 billion in surplus is forecast over the next two years. Most Washington homeowners are experiencing double digit increases in property taxes this year. (My own is up 20%.) The State doesn’t need more tax revenue.

Second, an attempt to keep public records inaccessible to voters is incomprehensible. When trust of lawmakers is at an all time low, doing away with transparency in government raises the specter that they’re doing something wrong, even if they’re not.

Part of our work at NACM BCS is to inform you and encourage your participation in these important issues. We all need to pay more attention. The last month, I’ve spent a fair amount of time reading bills and, with the help of our own lobbyists, have watched out for our members’ collective best interests. We had some successes but we all need to be vigilant of what’s happening in our communities and states. Without this involvement, we deserve what we are getting in some elected offices. When we all step up together, we can make a difference and we’ve just proven it.

To our friends in Hawaii and Alaska, let us know what we need to be watching in your world. We will lend a hand if you tell us what’s happening.

March is a month of educational opportunity: locally, online, and in Hawaii. There is something for everyone. I encourage you to take a look at our event calendar. Also, don’t forget to register for NACM National Credit Congress. June is just around the corner.

Have a great month and thanks for being part of NACM Business Credit Services.