Legislative & Regulatory Issues

Video replay of our WA Cares Fund long-term care tax webinar

Washington Retail hosted an informational webinar with guest speakers from ESD regarding the new WA Cares Fund long-term care tax on August 10, 2021 Topics covered: Details about the WA…
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Seattle charter amendment campaign announced to combat homelessness

On Thursday, Compassion Seattle, an alliance of business, civic, and community leaders, announced a citizen initiative campaign to create housing and services for the city’s growing homeless population. According to…
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UI Tax Relief

We applaud the Governor and Legislature for approving SB 5061 to reduce skyrocketing unemployment insurance taxes brought on by record unemployment assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge action on…
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Data Privacy

Washington Retail urges the Legislature to approve SB 5062 to protect the privacy of personal consumer information. The legislation should clearly spell out the responsibilities of retailers and companies who…
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No New Taxes

Tax reductions, not increases, are what businesses struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic need to hold on to hope of recovery. The Washington Research Council reports that the state budget has…
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We Card

Washington Retail is proud to be co-promoting the We Card education and training program on its 25th anniversary. Convenience stores, grocers and other retailers follow the program to train sales…
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Payroll tax – Say no to a statewide payroll tax

As companies are struggling to rebound in Seattle after months of closure the Seattle City Council recently passed a jobs tax on employees making $150,000 or more. The state Legislature…
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Employment Security

In recovering from record-breaking unemployment claims caused by the coronavirus and improper payments for fraudulent claims, Employment Security should not charge employers through their unemployment taxes to recover funds. State…
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Seattle Payroll Tax

The City Council should defeat the latest in a series of failed corporate payroll tax proposals, the latest on Seattle employees making at least $150,000 a year. It is bad…
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State Budget

The state Legislature and Governor should act quickly to reduce state spending in response to the projected $4.2 billion revenue shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Quick action now will…
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COVID-19 has changed shopping habits

Roughly half of shoppers surveyed late last month said the coronavirus pandemic had changed the way they shop. Fifty-four percent said they switched to shopping online and picking up items…
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What shoppers expect from retailers during COVID-19

A National Retail Federation survey found that 94% of customers want retailers to show safety precautions including, in order of importance, employees wearing masks; social distancing being practiced; and regular…
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City Curfews in Effect for Friday, June 5

WR is monitoring for city curfews being implemented in response to protest activities around the state. This list is current as of  4:15pm/PST today: Auburn – Curfew in effect from 9pm-5am,…
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WR Statement in Response to Protests

OLYMPIA, WA  – June 3, 2020 – Washington Retail Association President & CEO Renée Sunde issues the following statement: Washington Retail, with its diverse membership serving communities across the state,…
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The 2019 state Legislature passed 16 new tax laws, many of which Washington Retail opposed on grounds that they would hurt consumers and the overall state economy. Included in the…
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Employee Scheduling

In the 2019 Legislative session, the Legislature considered but did not take final action on bills that would have mandated scheduling regulations on retailers across the state. The bills were…
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Executive / Administrative / Professional Pay

Washington Labor & Industries is proposing new rules regarding overtime pay eligibility. They would phase in, over six years, an increase in the salary threshold for determining exempt employee status…
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Retail Theft

WR has proactively introduced legislation to help crack down on retail theft. Over $940 million in merchandise was stolen from retailers in the State of Washington last year. This means…
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Careers in Retail

Retail is connected to one in four jobs in the American workforce.  Our team has collaborated with WorkSource in Washington State to promote their annual Retail Month. Retailers applaud Governor…
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Trade Tariffs

In cooperation with the National Retail Federation, Washington Retail has urged President Trump and Congress to oppose increasing trade tariffs upon nations with whom we trade. This risks alienating our…
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Get Involved

These and other issues only pass or fail with the involvement and support or opposition from citizens like you. Weighing in is easier than ever and can be done in…
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Tell Us Your Top Issues
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Our Impact

Some of our key statewide legislative accomplishments involve reducing cost increases for retailers and their customers. Government regulations come with costs that need to be understood and weighed to encourage economic growth.

Savings for Retailers

Helped to pass a service animal definition bill

This narrowed the definition of pets allowable in stores to address retailers concerned about shoppers with exotic, potentially dangerous or unhealthy animal companions.

Blocked several proposed product regulations

Defeated attempts to add regulatory costs on products such as batteries, lighting and paint. These costs would increase the price of such merchandise and discourage sales.

Worked to repeal a Seattle payroll tax

This reversal by the Seattle City Council removed an expense that would have been decided by the number of employees on retail payrolls.

Sales tax holiday for back to school

Earned Legislature committee hearings to decide whether to allow a weekend sales tax exemption for buying back-to-school items.

Stopped Initiative 517

I-517 would have allowed petition gatherers to clog entrances and exits of retail stores. This protects levels of service and saves on administration costs associated with a new policy.

WR Legislative Outcomes

Repeal of Seattle head tax

Washington Retail successfully helped to win a repeal of a Seattle tax that was to be charged on the size of payroll for retail establishments.

Sales Tax Holiday for Back-to-School

Introduced legislation, met with key legislators and staff, had hearings in both the House and Senate which moved it out of committee.

Blocked several proposed product regulations

Defeated an expansion of the children’s safe product act. Defeated the batteries, CFLs and paint bills.

Stopped all attempts to alter Workers’ Comp system

Stopped all attempts by labor and the trial attorneys to alter the existing system. Had hearings and votes on several pro-business workers’ comp bills. Unfortunately they did not move through the House.

WR is a non-profit trade group that provides political strength to bring about change. Partner with an association that understands not only your industry, but your unique individual business requirements in Washington State.

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The Group Retrospective Rating Program (RETRO) is a safety incentive program. The program was developed to encourage safety in the workplace and drive down the costs of doing business in Washington State.

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