Serving Franklin County, WA

House bill helps level playing field

Washington state has high tax rates — gas, property, you name it. Government agencies collect billions of tax dollars annually from residents and businesses here.

So why then are government agencies taking Washington taxpayer dollars and buying goods and services out-of-state, goods and services that are readily abundant in Washington? Those agencies are penalizing state taxpayers (residents and businesses) for paying the high taxes the agencies collected under burdensome regulations.

One lawmaker is trying to do something about it, at least as it pertains to the media industry.

Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, has filed House Bill 1315, a simple measure that would require government agencies in Washington state to publish mandatory notices in newspapers that compile, print and distribute “primarily” in Washington state.

One of his aides in Olympia says this move needs to be done to stop some municipalities from collecting high tax rates from Washington residents and spending tax dollars with businesses out-of-state that pay lower taxes, lower minimum wages and face fewer regulations. Simply put, the aide said the money should remain in the city, county and state where its collected, if at all possible.

I agree.

Rep. Schmick’s bill is an attempt to level the playing field in border counties, and it’s an effort to protect Washington state media companies struggling under the weight of higher taxes, ever-increasing minimum wages and burdensome regulations not found across state lines or in other areas of the country.

While the precise wording may need to be adjusted a bit to upend any possible “unintended consequences,” Rep. Schmick is headed in the right direction.

House Bill 1315 opens the door for an informed discussion on tax dollars and how they are spent. While it deals with media, the bill could lead to a broader impact that would benefit a myriad of Washington businesses along the Idaho, Oregon and British Columbian borders.

If taxpayers are going to be required to pay more for nearly all goods and services in their lives under oppressive regulations pushed out of Olympia, then government agencies — including municipalities and school districts — need to do the same. In the alternative, government agencies that shop out of state for goods and services should face caps on tax rates, be limited in their regulations and required to cut other cost.

¬Simply put, government agencies should not be able to demand more money from taxpayers and businesses and then funnel those dollars to out-of-state businesses. Government agencies in our state should be required to purchase goods and services with the state, and only go outside of Washington if necessary goods or services are not available here.

Rep. Schmick is on the right track on leveling the playing field for Washington businesses. His look at the changing media landscape is a great place to start the conversation.

— Roger Harnack is the publisher of Free Press Publishing. Email him at [email protected].

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

Author photo

Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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