Creating a Job Machine
As a global center and leader of trade and innovation that invents, manufactures, assembles, warehouses and distributes high value goods we must energize our state’s economic job creation machine and get it moving again. As we increase job growth, family paychecks and financial security will undoubtedly improve. As the state again lives within its means, we can invest in public services to support our quality of life.
Proposed Policy Initiatives
Meeting big challenges requires big responses to be successful. These are my suggestions to turbocharge our state economy and create a strong private sector ‘jobs machine’ that generates more and bigger paychecks for families to build their futures on.
There are many reforms necessary to fix our state and get us back on track building and owning our future. They cannot all be done at once. The problems we face are very large and long term. It will take focus, time and prioritized money to really fix them.
Our emergency priority must be establishing an environment to allow private sector, family-wage jobs with growing paychecks to be rapidly created and retained. The global economy is hyper-competitive and very unforgiving in whom it favors. That reality makes many very uncomfortable. In short; the global economy doesn’t care how uncomfortable we are. We are either in to play and win or we are not, there is no middle ground.
When we play to win there is no economic force on earth greater than that of the American workforce. ‘Made in Washington’ exports should set the national standard for successfully competing in the global economy and having our citizens and communities benefit from that success. Foreign companies seeking to locate in our country should see Washington as their first stop to invest in our nation.
Puget Sound Port Consolidation
In today’s global economy having three major separate port districts in Puget Sound is a clear liability to bringing home new private sector jobs statewide from international trade. Port district statutes are the strongest job creating authority in our state.
A unified Puget Sound Port District, merging Seattle, Tacoma and Everett, with a joint local/state governing structure would be a dramatic competitive step forward and a significantly better value for taxpayers. China and Canada are way ahead in implementing initiatives to improve the competitiveness of their ports, we need to catch up. A Puget Sound Port District needs to be THE gateway to North America.
Eliminate the Current Business & Occupation Tax and All Exemptions and Replace with a Low Flat-rate Corporation Income Tax and Prohibit a Personal Income Tax
The state’s current corporate tax structure is a thick barrier to private sector job creation, especially for small and mid-size employers. Based on the principle established by United States Debt and Deficit Commission (Bowles-Simpson) the current state B & O business tax system, and all exemptions, should be eliminated and replaced by a 7% flat-rate corporate income tax. Small businesses generating less than $1 million in net income would be exempt.
Revenue from our corporation taxation system should be dedicated in three equal parts to the following to assure we keep building a strong diversified private sector jobs machine;
Reform Outdated State Labor Laws To Attract Advanced Manufacturing and Agricultural Businesses To Our State to Create Jobs.
Our state’s current labor laws are an 80 year old throwback to the 1930s and are wildly out of touch with today’s global labor markets for both skilled and unskilled employees. Our current laws are the number one reason we cannot attract new employers to state.
The consistent ‘trench warfare’ in Olympia between Big Business and Big Labor over existing labor laws creates a powerful negative chilling effect on job creation statewide impacting all businesses and employees. We need a new collaborative labor/management model that 1) ensures a fair and safe workplace, 2) empowers employee ownership in their employer, and 3) is competitive in global labor markets.
Fund Education First
An excellent basic education of our children is the most powerful and effective investment we can make in their future and ours as a state. Our state constitution defines the provision of a K12 basic education to all children as the ‘paramount duty’ (above all other things) of the state. In reality, it is held hostage by numerous organized special interests seeking to siphon off funding and prevent necessary reforms. To prevent the obstructionist interests of these groups the state should have a dedicated Fund Education First budget passed and signed by the governor before any other spending is approved. With such privileged role in our budgeting process great accountability for academic results and financial responsibility are essential.
Prioritize the Recruitment and Training of Entry-level Teachers
Over the next 10 years almost half of our current K12 teachers will be eligible for retirement. At a time where the state has passed significant K12 reforms to improve school performance (awaiting funding) we need to recruit the very best and brightest young adults to be effective teachers in the classroom. That new energy is essential for our children to get the basic education they deserve.
Guarantee a 50-50% Split between State Support and Student Tuition Costs To Fund Colleges and Universities
Pursuing an advanced education, whether a technical degree in health care or a doctorate in space physics, is a personal choice to better oneself. The state has an interest in encouraging participation in certain degree programs that benefit the health of the state’s economy and consequently all of us. Because there is both an individual and public benefit to getting a college degree the cost of providing that should split 50-50.
A college degree is ever more essential to getting a family-wage, private sector job in our global economy. The state must assure that the cost control practices of colleges and universities provides the best possible education at the lowest cost to everybody who make the choice to better themselves and sticks with it.
Invest in Reforms for the State’s Entire 2 Year/4 Year Higher Education System to be Global Leaders in Science Research and Applications of Those Scientific Discoveries in Technologies That Create Private Sector Jobs Here.
Research and discovery is central to a popular culture of lifelong learning. The idea that scientific research and advancement should be limited to a few privileged institutions is a concept leftover from the medieval Dark Ages.
Our entire higher education system should be engaged in scientific research and conversion of those discoveries into technologies that create new companies, which create the majority of new jobs. New online technologies and services are making the sharing of knowledge easier than ever. That culture of discovery can put new energy into our college classrooms and bigger paychecks into our family budgets.
Getting it Done
The organized special interests of the status quo in each of these areas are very likely to oppose such dramatic changes as not ‘realistic’ and they would be right. If you don’t want to improve yourself you can’t. I not only think we can invest in these reforms, but we can actually accomplish them quickly if our focus is on moving ahead and not perfecting blame or sparing sacred cows.