Washington Retail outlines issues for a coalition of East Side Chambers of Commerce

Aug 28, 2019
Written by Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs

Members of the East King Chamber’s Coalition heard an outline of key Washington Retail issues last week during a meeting at the Bellevue chamber.

I accompanied President/CEO Renée Sunde in discussing the importance and economic impact of retailers on our communities while outlining top legislative priorities heading toward the 2020 Legislative Session starting in January.

The coalition represents businesses stretching from the Bothell-Kenmore area to Maple Valley and Black Diamond. These areas cover Legislative Districts 1,5,11,31,44,45 and 47 along the I-405 corridor of Seattle and Bellevue suburbs. These districts have elected officials with sharply different policies and priorities.

During the meeting, we reported to business leaders, chamber executives and government affairs directors on the following issues:

  • A solution to employee scheduling
  • Opposing adoption of a capital gains tax
  • A compromise on categorizing independent contractors
  • A solution to handling and securing computerized consumer data
  • A response to a proposal to increase overtime pay eligibility in Washington State

Washington Retail’s members are very concerned about the proposed level of nearly $80,000 for salaried employees as a threshold for being eligible for overtime pay. If put into place, it would be the nation’s highest salary threshold for overtime pay at nearly double a proposed federal threshold.

This high threshold would have a chilling effect on advancement and promotion opportunities for employees trying to work their way up the leadership ranks.  It would also take away the scheduling flexibility enjoyed by many salaried employees.  We encouraged the coalition to weigh in on the proposed rule as being too high a threshold that’s being considered too quickly.

WR looks forward to our continued mutually beneficial working relationship with the East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition.