The Reporter asked legislators representing Issaquah/Sammamish for their take on the recent legislative session. Today: Rep. Jay Rodne of North Bend.
Workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance reform
Two barriers to success for employers in our state are the growing costs of workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. State lawmakers passed reform legislation this year that will lower costs in the systems and provide rate relief and certainty for businesses. While these were important steps forward, the Legislature needs to also find ways to improve permitting processes, provide regulatory relief and create incentives for start ups.
I believe education, public safety and the protection of our most vulnerable citizens are the priorities of state government. That is why it was disappointing when legislation passed this year that will eliminate up to 80 community corrections officers. This will result in 1,900 fewer offenders on active supervision in our state. Even in tough budget times, I cannot support cost-cutting measures that make our communities less safe.
The governor signed the 2011-13 operating budget June 15 and highlighted that it had more than $700 million in reserves. One day later, our state’s chief economist said those reserves had already dwindled to $163 million. Aside from being unsustainable, other problems with the budget include: a 1.9 percent reduction in teachers’ salaries, which will be difficult to implement; $458 million in fund transfers; and 48 fee increases totaling $243 million.