City of Bellingham to Mandate Sick Pay for Bellingham Businesses?

On Monday, July 6th, 2015 the Bellingham City Council will bring forward and discuss their proposal to mandate paid sick leave. They are giving this a warm and fuzzy name (when don’t they) as “Sick and Safe,” but tDSC_0176he end result will be to drive new business away from Bellingham, higher costs to the customers of those businesses, and a lot of potential for businesses in Bellingham that are already on the margins to automate more, or move out of the city limits of Bellingham.

Is it my imagination that all of the time spent at the Bellingham City Council and the Whatcom County Council are spent on driving up the costs of living here, doing business here, and nothing that actually promotes growth for new and existing businesses? How does a community that is under the leadership of those who seem to have no grasp of economic reality succeed? Or, do they actually understand how their actions will affect the community and either do not care, or have some other agenda?

~ Kris Halterman

Pd Sick Days Fact Sheet COB Sick Pay Draft Ordinance COB Sick Pay Policy Draft COB Sick Pay Facts


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  1. I am an economist and retired economics professor. I have heard since I moved here in 2001 that Bellingham wants to promote business opportunities and attract new residents. I’ve also heard similar wishes for Whatcom County. What I observe consistently seems to be entirely the opposite, raising costs of starting and operating a business here and of living here. As Kris H. said above, many of the actions of both of our local governments will mean higher costs of doing business and of living here as the trade-off for some perceived benefit. Do those perceived benefits occur? Are the benefits of rental property registration for example, sufficient to offset the loss of rights of tenants and landlords? Answering requires attempts to value outcomes which are largely matters of subjective opinion rather than any objective measurement. Since everyone has a right to their opinion, there is no correct answer, only a mass of opinions. That is no way to attract or support business. JWK

    • Mr. Kelsey, thank you. Your comment is spot on. The most important question that must be asked on a daily basis to our political leaders is; “Where are the jobs and why are you so focused on taking from the businesses what they need to grow and provide jobs? Your current actions discourage growth and economic activity. It’s easy to bully the business sector in Bellingham (those selfish, mean capitalists) into giving up their property. This behavior does not “grow the pie,” so to speak. The business community needs room to grow. That means government needs to get out of their way to do that.

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