Approve 1-1000 / R-88

by Matt Landers, Public Policy & Government Relations Director
| Oct 09, 2019
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One of GSBA’s top advocacy priorities for many years has been to increase opportunities for minority and underrepresented businesses to compete for public contracts. One of the principle targets of that work was to undo the harmful effects of Initiative 200, which was passed in 1998. I-200 made Washington one of only two states to explicitly ban outreach to historically marginalized communities to help determine outcomes in public education, contracting, and employment.

In 2019, GSBA supported Initiative 1000, an important policy that will restore fairness for small business owners, veterans, woman, and people of color seeking to succeed in public employment, contracting, and university admissions – without the use of caps or quotas. 

GSBA strongly supports the effort to APPROVE I-1000 / R-88, along with a strong coalition of other business organizations, labor, and civic leaders. We urge our membership to vote APPROVE under Referendum 88 on their ballots to retain I-1000 as the law.I-1000 successfully passed the Washington State Legislature and was signed by Governor Inslee, however it is being challenged on the November 2019 ballot under Referendum 88.

According to Washington’s Office of Women and Minority Business Enterprises, since the passage of I-200, state spending with certified minority and woman-owned businesses has dropped from 10% to 3%, resulting in a devastating $3.8 billion, 20-year loss of revenue. Diversity in our public university and college populations has declined statewide as well.

Approving I-1000/R-88 would being the process of reversing the inequitable trends resulting from I-200. More economic opportunities would be afforded to veterans, small business owners, women, and people of color through public employment and contracting. The student body of Washington’s universities would begin to better reflect the state as a whole. And, finally, the passage of I-1000/R-88 sends a critical message about how our shared values and beliefs should be codified into state law. We can take tangible, collective action to level the playing field for working families with the most urgent unmet needs, and we should strive to make Washington a place where someone’s race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or other status isn’t a generational determinant of their ability to thrive or share equitably in the prosperity afforded to our region.

Please vote APPROVE on Initiative 1000 / Referendum 88 this November.

Learn more about the WA Fairness Campaign.