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LEGISLATURE'S PASSING OF EMPLOYER-MANDATED HEALTH BILL SHOWS HEALTH OF SMALL BUSINESS, ECONOMY IS NOT AN ISSUE

 Small-Business Group Demands Governor's Veto
 OLYMPIA, Wash., April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The recent passage of


the employer-mandated health bill (E2SSB 5304) by the House and Senate sends a clear message of blatant disregard for small business, according to the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)/Washington -- the state's largest small-business advocacy organization.
 "The legislators who think this bill will help small business simply didn't listen to small business," said Carolyn Logue, state director of the 21,000-member NFIB/Washington.
 This week, a conference committee resubmitted the bill to both Houses. E2SSB 5304 passed quickly in the House and, after some debate, passed on Friday in the Senate with a 28-to-21 vote. The employer-mandate provision remained intact, requiring employers to pay at least 50 percent of employees' and their dependents' health care premiums.
 "The tax credits study and the fund for start-up businesses will do precious little for small firms who will be paying considerably more in premiums because of this job-killing bill," Logue said.
 "If Gov. Lowry signs it, he will be authorizing the death sentence for small business, and our economy will slip even further. The business community is not ready for mandated health care, especially in these trying economic times."
 Studies have shown that small businesses do provide health insurance when they can afford it. Businesses will have to find ways to save money since the added expenses will limit the employer's flexibility to control costs. Their options will include laying off workers, relying more on part-time help or closing down altogether.
 "Our elected officials are ignoring the fact that small businesses create all of the net new jobs in our state," Logue said. "We support health-care reform, but an employer-mandate is the wrong medicine. If the Governor does not veto this bill, jobs will be lost, businesses will close, future businesses will not prosper and our poor economy may become too sick for recovery."
 NFIB/Washington's members employ more than 230,000 workers. Nationally, NFIB has more than 600,000 members in all 50 states and is the country's largest small-business advocacy organization.
 -0- 4/23/93
 /CONTACT: Carolyn Logue, state director of NFIB/Washington, 206-786-8675; or Steven Latham of Braun Ketchum Public Relations, 310-444-1339, for NFIB/Washington/


CO: National Federation of Independent Business/Washington ST: Washington IN: HEA SU: LEG

BP-JL -- LA035 -- 0351 04/23/93 22:13 EDT
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Date:Apr 23, 1993
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