Michael Wagar

As I write this it is April Fools’ Day, but this is no joke.

Back in 1969 our nearby Skamania County passed a law making “any willful, wanton slaying of such creatures (Bigfoot) shall be deemed a felony.” The penalty for killing Sasquatch was a large fine and possible imprisonment.

It passed on April 1 back then. Some claimed it was not a joke, that they truly believed Bigfoot exists. I’m not buying, but that’s for another column.

Most years in Olympia, legislators and their aids keep a running list of “stupid” and silly” bills. I was told by one aid that this year’s session which ended last week was pretty boring, with not a lot of hijinks as far as bills go, which I appreciate.

I don’t think the short time our legislators are in session is the right time to goof off. There is so much to do. I want my legislator to focus on helping make our state a better place to live and do business.

Which brings us to our local legislator. Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Felida, was voted into office four years ago. 

For Rep. Vick, the session was one he should be proud of as he pushed through two bills that are friendly to small businesses — the true power of our local economy.

Rep. Vick’s House Bill 2565, which now is the law of the land, might seem insignificant at first read. It simply changes the frequency that local sales and use taxes can be changed from four times a year to three. If you own your own business, anytime government paperwork is cut back is most welcome.

Rep. Vick gets it.

“For big box stores who have their own accounting departments, changing tax rates may not seem so significant, but for our small mom and pop stores and neighborhood businesses, this change is noteworthy,” said Rep. Vick. “Businesses can lose an entire day of operation when the tax rates are changed. This will save our small employers, especially those that operate over multiple jurisdictions, time and money.

“If you look at the unemployment rates by county, the I-5 corridor is doing much better than the rest of the state. Our small employers is what makes those rural areas and state as a whole successful. Any time we can remove a rule or regulation to benefit them we are improving our business climate,” Rep. Vick said.

Evidence that the bill is a positive for small business owners is the bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously. The bill will become law in June this summer.

Another bill that is now law, thanks to Rep. Vick, is House Bill 2433, which all certified public accountants in Washington should be thankful for. The new law levels the field for our state accountants. In the past, out-of-state accountants could operate in Washington under the same rules as those based inside the Evergreen State. HB 2433 simply allows our accountants to do business in other states under the same rules and regulations. This simply allows our accountants to attract more clients from out of state. This should be a big boost for Southwest Washington accountants who want to take advantage of the big population center of Portland that has more than 620,000 people, many who surely do file taxes each year.

These are perhaps boring laws filled with mundane detail, but year after year, if we have people like Rep. Vick adding more business-friendly laws, the impact adds up. It’s tough being a small business owner. They need all the help they can get. And that’s no joke.

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(1) comment

Tom Gibson

How often has this actually happened, changing the tax rate four times a year?

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