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Mon., Oct. 15, 2012, 4:05 p.m.

McKenna: Too many permits, not enough help

Washington has too many licenses and permits for business, and doesn't do a good job of making it easy for companies to find out what they need to get them, Rob McKenna said today.

The Republican attorney general running for governor promised to do more to streamline the state's processes for obtaining all that paperwork.

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The state has instigated a “one-stop shopping” approach for business licenses and permits, but many agencies don’t participate, McKenna said at a press conference where he was joined several members of the National Federation of Independent Business. A recent performance audit found that Washington requires a total of 1,377 different licenses or permits for various businesses and professions, with different agencies sometimes asking for the same information on separate forms. It also found that while most agencies have websites, all the information a business might need to secure a permit or licenses isn’t always available online.

“The idea of streamlining isn’t really catching on,” McKenna said. “They’re not talking to the people they are regulating, and they should be.”

 He said there was no “magic number” he’d like to reach in reducing the number of permits and licenses. But if elected he would appoint agency directors and department leaders who have experience in the private sector so they understand the problems businesses face.

Also at the press conference, McKenna said he would veto any general increase in taxes or tax rates sent to him by the Legislature but would likely sign any closures of loopholes it passes. Increases in any taxes to improve or expand roads, such as a gasoline tax increase, should go to the voters, he said.

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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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