Gov. Chris Gregoire says state lawmakers must pass an unemployment tax cut right away, and save their debate over new dependent benefits for later.
Gregoire's proposed rate cut could save Washington businesses about $300 million this year and extend federal jobless benefits for about 69,000 people. The Democratic governor says that's key to helping the economy rebound following the Great Recession.
Businesses could see their unemployment rates skyrocket this year unless a change is made. But a bill has to be passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Feb. 8 to take effect in time.
Organized labor and other groups also want lawmakers to add a new $15-per-child payment for unemployed people, maxing out at $50 per family. But Gregoire says that can wait for later.