Jobs bills could boost worker prospects

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Thirteenth District Republicans Sen. Janéa Holmquist Newry and Rep. Matt Manweller announce a package of bills aimed at creating jobs during a Majority Coalition Caucus press conference recently in Olympia.

OLYMPIA - Sen. Janéa Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake recently highlighted a package of bills aimed at creating jobs in the state.

Speaking for the Majority Coalition Caucus along with several legislators and business owners, the chair of the senate's commerce and labor committee announced the passage of her worker's compensation bill and listed bills in both houses that attempt to attract businesses to the state.

Newbry's "Worker Recovery Act" passed in the Senate Jan. 29 with 27 votes in favor and 22 opposed. The bill lowers age restrictions on structured settlements for workers' compensation, aiming to help injured employees return to work faster.

Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Ellensburg) joined his fellow 13th District legislator at the podium, advocating for his bill to reestablish tax breaks for rural county businesses.

"What we're trying to do at the state level is reduce the cost of doing business, because we know that's going to increase our competitiveness nationwide and globally, as well as improve our business climate," Newbry said.

Republicans cited CNBC's 2013 rankings placing Washington as the 5th worst state for cost of doing business. It is tied with Illinois and Pennsylvania, and ranks 21st for business overall.

Manweller said that after "herculean efforts" went into giving Boeing tax breaks during a special session last year, he felt the same attention should be given to smaller businesses.

He said the caucus did not have a specific prediction for how many jobs the JobsNow package would create if enacted, but that forecasts showed a "positive metric."

Sen. Jan Angel, R-Port Orchard, said the bills were meant to cause a snowball effect, leading to greater employment and revenue.

Leilani Leach is an Olympia-based intern with Washington State University's Murrow News Service.

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