Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Rep. Upthegrove honored by Kent Chamber for helping businesses

Rep. Dave Upthegrove
The plight of one Kent restaurant led to new legislation that saves jobs in this South King County city, and helps other businesses all over Washington.  The measure's prime sponsor, Rep. Dave Upthegrove, was one of two recipients of the Kent Chamber of Commerce's "Government Employee of the Year" award this year.

Rep. Upthegrove was motivated to sponsor House Bill 2491 after he was contacted by the owner of a popular locally-owned eatery in his district.  The restaurant happened to be located at a site where a different restaurant - under completely different ownership - had gone out of business. But due to a technicality in state law, the new restaurant was being assessed a 500 percent increase in its unemployment insurance rate - even though it had nothing to do with the previous restaurant's failure!  That's because unemployment insurance rates are based, at least in part, on the number of employees a business has laid off. Since the previous business laid off all its employees when it closed its doors, the new restaurant was being penalized with a much higher rate.

Doesn't make much sense, does it?  Rep. Upthegrove didn't think so either, so he introduced a legislative fix, which the governor will sign into law tomorrow. Thanks to this fix, the Kent restaurant will get some relief on its unemployment insurance rate and won't have to let any workers go. And no other business in our state will have that problem ever again.

In addition to House Bill 2491, Rep. Upthegrove sponsored or worked on several other measures this year to help local businesses and strengthen South King County's economy, which you can read about here.  We congratulate him on his well-deserved award.

To read this story in Spanish, click here.