CLE ELUM, Wash. — Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Bryant told a business group Tuesday that if elected, he’d seek a moratorium on all new business regulations until completion of a review process justifying existing ones.
In a speech at a policy summit of the Association of Washington Business, Bryant said that he would require agencies to define objectives and success of current regulations and a determination on whether they are still working or necessary.
“Regulations that are no longer necessary are going to be fixed or eliminated,” he said, noting that once the moratorium was lifted all new regulations would have a fixed sunset review date.
He also told the group that he would work to develop a small business tax relief package for the 2019 legislative session. Additionally, Bryant said that he would seek to work with the Legislature next year on a minimum wage increase that would vary by region.
A November ballot measure seeks to raise the statewide minimum wage to $13.50 over the next four years.
Bryant said that a “one-size-fits-all” wage increase could lead to employees in other parts of the state having hours or benefits cut, or losing their jobs altogether. It could also force some businesses to close, he said.
Bryant is challenging incumbent Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee in November. In last month’s ‘top two’ primary, Inslee garnered 49 percent of the vote, compared with Bryant’s 38 percent, similar to recent polling in the race.
Inslee spokesman Jamal Raad said in an email that Bryant is “offering the same old tired Republican talking points Washington voters have rejected again and again.”
“Freezing state rule-making would stop new clean air and water standards, as well as important safety protections for oil trains,” Raad wrote. “There are real life implications to these dangerous Republican talking points.”