Hutchison on Eastside for campaign kickoff, talks small business issues

Former Seattle TV news anchor Susan Hutchison, turned candidate for King County Executive, campaigned last week on the Eastside. - Carrie Wood/Reporter Newspapers
Former Seattle TV news anchor Susan Hutchison, turned candidate for King County Executive, campaigned last week on the Eastside.
— image credit: Carrie Wood/Reporter Newspapers

After her campaign kickoff event in front of Safeco Field on June 16, King County Executive candidate Susan Hutchison dashed across the water to include Kirkland on her agenda of inner-county destinations for the day.

The former TV news anchor is currently the front runner in the race to replace former Executive Ron Sims, now serving as deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Hutchison’s four contenders include Sen. Fred Jarrett, Rep. Ross Hunter, and King County Councilmembers Dow Constantine and Larry Phillips.

During her visit, she introduced some policy initiatives aimed at helping small businesses to thrive, which she hopes would help create new jobs and revitalize the county’s economy.

“Our current crop of career politicians ... are deeply ingrained in that old politics, business as usual,” Hutchison said about her opponents during a press conference, solely attended by the Reporter at Carillon Point. “Nothing gets done, King County government gets in the way, it doesn’t provide the way.”

Instead, she said the county needs a new “open for business” attitude to rejuvenate the region.

As King County Executive, one of her first initiatives would be to work with the legislature to restructure the state’s business and occupation (B&O) tax to help small business. The current tariff is structured to impose the gross income tax on small businesses once they have accrued $28,000 or more in revenue.

“It doesn’t matter how much you had to spend to get your business going — it could’ve cost you $28,000,” Hutchison said, describing the current tax as “punitive.”

Her proposed initiative would raise that threshold from $28,000 to $250,000. She anticipates that the new threshold would affect about 50,000 small businesses in King County, giving them the potential to grow.

Hutchison would also work with Olympia to provide start-up exemptions for all new businesses — a huge relief for small businesses, with little impact to state revenues, she said.

She added that the county needs to overhaul the “arrogant and arbitrary” way in which it serves businesses. As executive, she would make county departments more customer-focused to speed up the permitting process and improve services that small businesses need in a timely manner.

“The focus is on providing jobs and growing businesses,” Hutchison said. “It’s such a huge benefit for us if we allow businesses to grow because it revs up the engine of our economy and that’s what everybody yearns for right now.”

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