Photo Caption: Sen. Mike Padden meeting with Martha Miller, senior advocacy manager for governmental affairs for Target Stores. Miller was in Olympia to support passage of SB 5635, Padden’s 2017 retail theft bill.
The Washington Retail Association has recognized state Sen. Mike Padden and Reps. Bob McCaslin and Matt Shea, all R-Spokane Valley, for their strong support of retailers across the state.
The association said the Fourth District legislators each earned a 100-percent voting record on issues important to retailers throughout the 2019 legislative session.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for our efforts to support our state’s retailers, their workers and consumers,” said Padden, one of only 12 senators to receive a perfect score. “I only wish I could have done more. In the 2019 legislative session the majority party had complete control over state government, and forced through 16 new tax laws, many of which represent a direct assault on our state’s retailers, hurt consumers and pose a risk to our state’s economy.
“One of the most egregious of these new tax changes is the elimination of the tax incentive for out-of-state shoppers to spend money in border counties. It’s the type of short-sighted policy I will continue to oppose and work to change in the 2020 session.”
Shea agreed that it is crucial that lawmakers stand up for employers, workers and consumers.
“It’s an honor to be recognized for our work to preserve jobs, fight against new and increased taxes, and for a regulatory climate that protects both the employer and the employee,” said Shea. “Much of our work over the past two sessions has been more defensive in nature as the policies coming from Olympia – with a healthy dose of Seattle politics thrown in – continue to be oppressive. But we will continue to fight for common-sense solutions that protect workers, jobs, employers and our local and state economies.”
McCaslin, who has represented the 4th Legislative District since 2014, pointed out that it is the role of government to create an environment where all businesses can survive based on merit.
“It’s a real privilege to stand for retail businesses as a legislator,” said McCaslin. “I believe businesses should be able to thrive. After all, they provide quality goods to consumers, and jobs too. We definitely shouldn’t be looking for new ways to tax and regulate them. Bad actors in any sector should be driven out of business by the consumer, not the state government.”
The Washington Retail Association also applauded the lawmakers’ work to help crack down on retail theft. According to the association, more than $940 million in merchandise was stolen from retailers across Washington last year alone.
In 2017, Padden was able to get Senate Bill 5635 signed into law. The measure toughened the state’s law against retail theft by closing loopholes in the legal definition of “burglary tools.” The new law also allows prosecutors to combine offenses committed by a single person over a period of six months into a single count, and use the total figure to determine the proposed penalty.
“Every time somebody steals something from a store, it drives up prices for the rest of us,” said Padden at the time when his measure cleared the Legislature. “Retail theft has been growing dramatically in recent years, and it is time we take further steps to combat the problem.”
In a statement sent to supporters and members, the association wrote: “Washington Retail extends its sincere appreciation to these lawmakers who understood and supported the needs of retailers large and small across the state. …These friends of retail voted in support of WR’s positions on a range of issues including taxes, health and environmental matters.”
The Washington Retail Association is the state’s only association exclusively dedicated to advocating the unique interests of retailers on legislative and regulatory issues. It represents more than 3,800 storefronts statewide that range from large national chains to small shops, with members including wholesalers, dealers, professional services and mall owners and operators.
To learn more about the association visit www.washingtonretail.org.
Click here to see the list of the 100% Club members.