in Washington compete for limited consumer dollars
lose market share to online retailers because there is no sales tax on the item,
but there is more to the story. We all know that we have been trying for a
decade to get Congress to come up with a national solution. But have you
considered that the state's policies on labor costs also play a role when it
comes to these online retailers competing in our state?
online retailers don't pay the highest minimum wage in the nation, like our
retailers do. They don't pay the highest worker compensation benefits, like our
retailers do. They don't pay the highest unemployment insurance taxes like our
retailers do. The list is a lot longer including expensive sick leave laws.
And, because our prevailing wage laws that construct our public facilities are
high, so are our business taxes to cover these costs.
Washington Research Council (WRC) writes a report that details all of these
costs, I am struck by how disadvantaged our state brick and mortar retailers are
with the out-of-state retailers who sell online. We are a consumer-based
economy that is rapidly becoming mail order. I can see why our state consumers
are buying online. It's so much cheaper. The WRC talks about the competitive
disadvantage that these employment costs create. There are far-reaching
implications for retailers.
Wednesday, we will know who our newly-elected leaders will be. Let's hope our
state leaders decide to have a robust evaluation of labor costs and look to
reforms that can help us be more competitive on the price of goods sold by
Washington businesses to Washington consumers.