Governor signs legislative providing unemployment insurance tax relief for businesses, an important first step.

Governor Inslee has signed the Legislature’s early action bill providing unemployment insurance tax relief. We first wrote of the bill’s passage here. Although there’s more to be done, this legislation is an important first step. The Seattle Times reports,

Gov. Jay Inslee Monday put his signature on a bill that slashes a scheduled hike in unemployment insurance for businesses and also expands jobless benefits and protections amid the pandemic.

Senate Bill 5061 is one of several lawmakers are quickly moving this legislative session in order to help Washington residents and businesses hurt by the COVID-19 outbreak and ensuing restrictions on commerce and daily life.

“And I’m very happy we’ve done this early in the session, because this really certainly is needed,” said Inslee during the bill-signing event. “We need businesses to have confidence.”

The governor’s Medium page has much more, including comments from several leaders of state business associations. For example,

“This legislation is a first step in the right direction and will significantly reduce the increase in unemployment insurance taxes facing Washington employers because of the pandemic,” said Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business. “We know more needs to be done, including a commitment to funding, and look forward to continued collaboration with the governor and legislature to restore lost jobs and begin rebuilding the economy.”


“The hospitality industry has been hit the hardest by this pandemic, and on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of employees and thousands of businesses that have been impacted, we are grateful this is the first bill this session the legislature and the governor have taken action on,” said Anthony Anton, president and CEO of the Washington Hospitality Association. “Historic relief is on the way for workers and businesses, and SB 5061 sets the groundwork for additional relief efforts underway.”

The ST story points out:

The bill slashes the tax employers were set to pay in 2021 by $920 million. And it gets rid of calculations on future tax rates regarding the $1.2 billion in worker benefits given out during the stay-home period last spring at the outbreak of the virus.

With the bill signed, April tax payments for the first quarter of the year can avoid the steep increases, said bill sponsor Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Des Moines, during the news conference.

A positive beginning.