One of the most important needs for families to thrive is an economy with adequate jobs. I am committed to providing an economic environment where businesses thrive, so parents have jobs to provide for their families.

Our current situation: Washington State is the 2nd highest in the nation for business closures. As new rules are continually being implemented by the legislature or by the Department of Labor and Industries (L&I), businesses struggle to pay for new staff to understand the new rules and deal with the complexities of compliance.

My solution: As private businesses have come to me when L&I’s new interpretation of rules has threatened to put them out of business and been unresponsive to the business’s concerns, I’ve worked with L&I and even introduced legislation when necessary to keep government from killing business.

However, individual fights only solve a small part of the problem. On a larger scale, I encourage reforms in L&I that encourage business, rather than thwart it, and moratoriums on rule making. To give businesses more certainty, I also support automatic approval of permits if they are not approved within a reasonable period of time.

Our current situation: CNBC recently rated Washington State as the 5th worst in the nation for the cost of doing business. Businesses pay a Business and Occupation (B&O) tax on gross revenue, even if their business actually lost money. This makes it very difficult for a business that has high revenue, but a low profit margin, or one that is just starting up when costs often exceed revenue.

My solution: One of the first bills I introduced was to increase the amount of the business income that is exempt from the B&O tax. I continue to advocate for this way of helping businesses thrive and provide jobs.

Our current situation: Small businesses, our states’ largest employer, may see their health insurance costs double, or even triple, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

My solution: See my comments on Health Insurance.

Our current situation: Washington State has the highest Workers’ Compensation Insurance cost in the nation. And Washington is one of only 4 states that require employers to use only the state workers’ comp insurance.

My solution: Washington should allow private worker’s compensation insurance. More choice in the marketplace leads to lower prices and better products. And Washington should allow structured settlements at any age, not just age 55, which is proven to reduce costs in other states. This is partly because only 1/3 of Worker’s Comp benefits are medical. The rest is cash.

Our current situation: We have the 7th highest youth unemployment rate in the nation.

My solution: Many youth employment opportunities are in the restaurant business. Because Washington has the highest minimum wage in the nation, many restaurants make the choice not to hire as many youth as they could actually use. Because only 3% of people over the age of 25 are paid the minimum wage, we should allow a lower training wage to create more employment opportunities for youth. This would also allow employers the flexibility to offer additional benefits like scholarships and child care assistance which might be far more valuable than an inflexible minimum wage.