Jesse Johnson says taxes can be put to good use, while Jack Walsh says they just take away jobs.
State Rep. Johnson, D-30th District, seeking election to Position 2 for the state House of Representatives after being appointed to the seat a year ago.
Walsh, a local business owner, seeking to become the first Republican to represent the Federal Way-area district in nearly five years.
Johnson, who works for the Highline School District, said he want to help students and other residents connect with high-demand jobs.
A former Federal Way City Councilmember, Johnson previously served in Americorps at his alma mater, Garfield High School.
“I helped over 1,500 students during my years of work in education after Americorps,” Johnson said.
While on the City Council, Johnson said he started a program aimed to connect students with their government.
“We started the program called Emerging Leaders, where young students were able to shadow current council members,” Johnson said.
If re-elected, Johnson said he hopes to do more for the city he grew up in.
“My values are rooted in faith, inclusion, social justice, and within that is increasing economic mobility and closing wage gaps,” Johnson said.
“I would first like to address small business owners,” he said. “What we really need to do is find a way to keep small businesses afloat on their feet. We will need to do things like defer payroll taxes, and provide technological support for small businesses.”
Johnson said that in his work with the school district, he has brought “people together, labor unions, school meetings — I brought them all together to develop a curriculum that helps students get started in those pathways, and creating more public-private partnerships so that companies want to hire directly from the school district.
“For college students, I definitely think trying to make the cost of university cheaper is important, and right now we should have a totally deferred or delayed payment of tuition,”Johnson said.
“Businesses benefit from it too because they want to diversify their workforce.”
Johnson said taxes could be more fair in Washington state.
“I definitely want to create a better tax system,” he said. “Making corporations pay taxes, like Amazon.”
While Washington’s tax system is often kind to big business, it poses challenges for the state, he said.
“Some of that is good, like that’s why we get Google, Amazon, and others to come to Seattle, but it’s also bad, because there’s so much money left on the table.”
Johnson is adamant that we should increase revenue rather than cut services.
Walsh, who owns Sub Zero Nitrogen Ice Cream in Federal Way, said he is very involved in the local business community.
“I have employed hundreds of college and high school students,” Walsh said.
Walsh, who has lived in Federal Way for 35 years, said he wants to “help make the state more business friendly to help people of all ages have business opportunities.”
He also wants to help these businesses stay in business and be able to employ more people.
“Our state is currently implementing a capital state income tax, and it is discouraging people from pursuing jobs, and businesses,” Walsh said.
“It’s the big businesses that are creating tens of thousands of jobs,” Walsh said.
Alongside employment opportunities, Walsh also wants to improve housing opportunities, and help alleviate the homelessness problem.
“We need to review regulations that are no longer actually needed and serve to drive the cost of housing up, and that should help bring the cost of housing back in line,” Walsh said.
“We have a homelessness crisis, and we have become a magnet for homeless people across the country, and money spent towards enabling needs to be spent on addiction and mental health programs.”
Regarding law enforcement, Walsh is a “strong backer of law enforcement. I think it is really tragic that people have equated supporting law enforcement with being anti-people of color. It is not either/or. I can still support law enforcement and people of all color and ages. Just because you support something does not mean you have to oppose something else.”