The Washington State Senate today passed a bill aimed at encouraging job growth, by increasing transparency and predictability in permitting. Senate Bill 6045, also known as the Transparency in Permitting (or TIP) Act, is sponsored by Sen. Sharon Brown and considered a high-priority jobs bill for Senate and House Republicans.
“My top legislative priority is looking for ways to stimulate our state’s sluggish economy so that our employers are in a better position to maintain and create new jobs,” said Brown, R-Kennewick. “Our employers need to see state government as a partner in job creation, not as their biggest obstacle.
“This bill is a major step toward improving the permitting process – making it more transparent and predictable so that our employers can spend less time waiting on permits and more time focusing on growing their business and creating jobs.”
The TIP Act would help improve the state’s business climate and stimulate job creation by requiring 14 state agencies to track and record the time it takes to make it through the permitting process. Under Brown’s bill, agencies must also provide permitting information on their websites, including the types of permit assistance available, an estimate of the time required to process an application, examples of model completed applications, and checklists for ensuring a complete application. It also requires each agency to submit an annual report to the Legislature containing performance data on permit applications, including permit processing times, starting on Jan. 31, 2015.
Brown said the bill originated from a recent state auditor’s report, which found that delays in state permitting often result in businesses having higher costs, lower revenue and ultimately reduced job creation. The report determined that there is uncertainty on the part of both agencies and businesses as to the length of the permitting process due to a failure of some agencies to provide accurate information online. The auditor’s report identified several possible solutions, including those found in the TIP Act.
“As the auditor’s report correctly points out, delays and uncertainty in government permitting ultimately cost our state much-needed jobs,” said Brown. “We must continue efforts to make it easier, more predictable and less costly to do business in Washington. Let’s ‘TIP’ the scales in favor of getting Washingtonians back to work.”
The TIP Act, which passed today with a bipartisan 43-3 vote, will now be considered by the House of Representatives.