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The state of Ohio has introduced several proposals to motivate employers to hire new employees and fill empty buildings on Main Street. Now Rep. Mike Hope, R-Lake Stevens, wants to bring those same ideas to Washington state.

“We have to take a look at what other states are doing to respond to this economic downturn,” Hope said. “Creating jobs is priority number one right now and we have to be willing to keep open minds about what can get those who are unemployed back to work.”

The first proposal in Hope’s job package would provide a tax incentive for employers to hire people who are currently unemployed.

“Employers are struggling with a desire to hire and also paying increased taxes and other costs,” Hope said. “Giving them a tax incentive to hire new people would help them provide family-wage jobs while being able to stay afloat in this economy.”

This year, employers will see an average 12 percent increase in their workers’ compensation rates. At the same time, they will pay, on average, 40 percent more in their unemployment insurance taxes toward those who have been laid off. In addition, the state minimum wage was increased 12 cents, further increasing the cost of doing business.

The second piece of legislation would provide a tax incentive for businesses that increase payroll as well as move to an empty building.

“Snohomish County has had its share of vacancies in Main Street areas; this would encourage employers to contribute to the local economy and be located in a more accessible area,” Hope said. “As we focus on job creation in Olympia, I’ll be looking at legislation that provides flexibility for employers to succeed, which in turn provides jobs to the hundreds of thousands in our state who have been seeking them for so long.”

The proposals are expected to be introduced this week.

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Contact: Sarah Lamb, public information officer, (360) 786-7720