McKenna says lower business costs will spur jobs


by Associated Press

Posted on May 1, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Updated Tuesday, May 1 at 7:05 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna on Tuesday repeated a call to cut costs to small businesses, something he says will enable them to hire more workers.

McKenna released his "Jobs Plan 2.0" at a small business in Kent, and his recommendations include simplifying sales tax collection rules. McKenna says the current system makes tax compliance complex and costly for small businesses.

Currently, businesses are required to collect sales tax on products and services based on where the product is delivered, not where the business is -- something McKenna's plan refers to as an "administrative headache for small businesses."

He repeated several ideas he first raised in November, including reviewing current business regulations to remove those he says are no longer necessary; allowing private competition alongside the current state-run workers compensation system; and increasing a business tax credit for small businesses.

"Simply put, to stimulate hiring in our state, we need to lower the cost and complexity of doing business here, and lower the cost of creating jobs," he said in a news release.

McKenna said that since he released his first job plan in the fall, he has traveled around the state meeting with small business leaders, and he put out his revamped version based on their input.

"What I heard again and again is that we need commonsense changes to the tax code that give businesses confidence in the predictability of the system to hire more workers," McKenna said in a release. "We need to make sure that future growth is not stifled by an overbearing regulatory system."

McKenna also says he wants to boost degree production in science, technology, engineering and math to meet workforce needs, something his Democratic opponent, Jay Inslee has pushed for as well.

Inslee campaign spokeswoman Jaime Smith called McKenna's plan a "repacked, rehashed version of what he rolled out in November."

McKenna and Inslee are vying to replace Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, who is not running for a third term.