Vancouver Business Journal

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GVCC launches Small Business Advisory Council

GVCC launches Small Business Advisory Council

The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce (GVCC) has formed a Small Business Adv...

Available light industrial property scarce in Clark County

Available light industrial property scarce in Clark County

With all the vacant land in Clark County, you’d think businesses wanting to move...

Give More 24 results:  1,842 donations, $431,994 raised

Give More 24 results: 1,842 donations, $431,994 raised

Give More 24!, a 24-hour fundraising event organized by the Community Foundation...

WSU medical school initiative could benefit Clark County

WSU medical school initiative could benefit Clark County

Officials at Washington State University believe the time has come to pursue an ...

A debate of value: NW Packing and Port of Vancouver negotiations continue

A debate of value: NW Packing and Port of Vancouver negotiations continue

NW Packing, a part of Neil Jones Food Co., is troubled by their negotiations wit...

Manufacturers investing in the future

Manufacturers investing in the future

Invest in what you do. That is the mantra of many Southwest Washington manufactu...

Innovation & Manufacturing

Manufacturers investing in the future

Manufacturers investing in the future

Invest in what you do. That is the mantra of many Southwest Washington manufacturers this year, as they pour significant investments into new facilities, equipment and infrastructure.

Take ProTech Composites, for example. This carbon fiber manufacturer grew sales 57 percent last year and projects 30 percent growth this year. Jeff Olsen, ProTech Composites president, said that the company is on tr...

Real Estate & Development

Available light industrial property scarce in Clark County

Available light industrial property scarce in Clark County

With all the vacant land in Clark County, you’d think businesses wanting to move here would have no problem finding a location. It turns out that’s not the case.

According to industry experts, there is a shortage of ready-to-use sites for light industrial purposes, and a demand that isn’t being met.

“The problem we have is a lack of infrastructure on many properties that would be suitable for li...

Spotlight

Columbia Hobby Distribution experiencing explosive growth

Columbia Hobby Distribution experiencing explosive growth

Who wouldn’t want to turn their hobby into a hefty paycheck? That is exactly what Stephen Tingwall, CEO at Columbia Hobby Distribution, did.

In 2004, Tingwall started selling hobby collection supplies on eBay. These supplies include storage boxes and display cases for collectibles such as coins, stamps, comics, trading cards and autographed baseballs or football helmets.

“The company started out...

Legislature tackles construction’s ‘underground economy’

In 2007, the Washington Legislature created a task force to help formulate state policy addressing the so-called “underground economy” of the construction industry. The Legislature sought to increase oversight of the construction industry to ensure unlicensed contractors are held accountable for failure to comply with state registration requirements.

In 2007, the Washington Legislature created a task force to help formulate state policy addressing the so-called “underground economy” of the construction industry. The Legislature sought to increase oversight of the construction industry to ensure unlicensed contractors are held accountable for failure to comply with state registration requirements.

After just one year in existence, the task force proposed a number of measures to crack down on unregistered contractors – most of which were enacted into law on March 21, 2008.

What’s new

Among the more interesting provisions of the new law is the requirement that the Department of Labor and Industries create an expanded social marketing campaign aimed at warning consumers of the risks and potential consequences of hiring unregistered contractors. This campaign will likely include an increase in public service announcements focused on encouraging the public and properly registered contractors to report suspected fraud.

In addition, the law now requires contractors applying for registration to submit a unified business identifier number. If no UBI number is provided, L&I must deny the application. A related requirement obligates the department to suspend a contractor’s registration if it discovers that a currently registered contractor does not have an active certificate of registration with the Department of Revenue.

Finally, a contractor’s registration will be suspended if it falsifies information on its registration application.

Consequences of noncompliance

Contractors who violate these new provisions – along with requirements delineated under the prior law – can be subjected to some tough penalties. One of the more serious consequences prohibits a contractor from bidding on any public works project in Washington for a year if he or she commits two violations of any of the following within a five-year period: willfully violating contractor registration laws, knowingly misrepresenting payroll or employee hours to L&I, failing to maintain certificate of coverage under industrial insurance requirements, or violating the contractor registration laws.

In addition, any contractor who submits false information in a registration application can be subjected to penalties up to $10,000.

More enforcement on the horizon

When Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the bill into law in March, she also vetoed a number of provisions that would have provided additional funding for enforcement activities. The original bill would have required both L&I and the Employment Security Department to hire more staff for enforcement of these provisions. Additionally, funding would have been dedicated to the Office of the Attorney General for prosecuting contractor compliance cases.

While these funding provisions were removed from the bill, the governor’s comments on the veto include direction to L&I to hire additional investigative staff in its fraud and audit team so that the law may be appropriately implemented.

In addition, the task force will meet until the end of 2008 in order to provide further recommendations to the Legislature in upcoming sessions.

All told, these new laws should be helpful to those contractors who are properly registered. By providing tools to both L&I and ESD to crack down on the “underground economy,” the Legislature assists all of the above-board contractors in securing additional work and reducing the number of unregistered contractors competing for that business.

 

Kelly Walsh is an attorney in the Vancouver office of Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt. She can be reached at 360-905-1432 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Opinion

Focus Column

Lurking dangers in purchase and sale agreements

Lurking dangers in purchase and sale agreements

Many who purchase real estate put faith in their broker to correctly complete “form” Purchase and Sale Agreements (PSA)....

An update on the Clark County office market

An update on the Clark County office market

As seemingly with most businesses and families, the commercial office market in Clark County has made it through the rec...

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