December 5, 2016
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Workers' compensation rate to increase by 3.1 percentage points more than needed to break even



Employers are looking at cost increases and uncertainty on many sides. There aren't many places where governments are lowering costs. One opportunity was lost last week when the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) decided to raise workers' compensation costs by an average of 3.1 percent more than it had to.

In a blog post last week, AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles noted than L&I could have lowered the average rates charged to employers by 2.4 percent and still broken even. Instead, L&I raised workers' comp rates by an average of 0.7 percent. Taken together, that’s 3.1 percent more than was necessary.

Battles notes that employers are already facing higher costs from the nearly $1.50 hourly increase to the minimum wage that takes effect on Jan. 1. That's on top of uncetainly about the federal overtime rule, as well as other cost pressures.

Washington is known for consistently having the highest workers' compensation costs in the nation.

For more, contact Battles.



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Sustainability in Action

A green milestone for Microsoft: 500-acre Redmond campus generates (almost) zero waste

By Nat Levy, GeekWire

The 44,000 employees at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters campus went through a whopping 189 million pounds of food and packaging between July and December 2015. Even more impressive than employees' appetites is the fact that the company managed to keep 99.5 percent of food and dining waste out of landfills.

Microsoft said Monday its headquarters has earned the gold level of Zero Waste Certification from the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council for keeping 90 percent of food, office, and construction waste out of landfills. Microsoft says it is the first tech company in the country to obtain such an achievement.
Read the full story in GeekWire
Build on Success

Washington lawmakers should hold off tinkering with Boeing tax break

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Benefits of the state investment can be seen in Everett, where Boeing has now spent more than $1 billion on its facility for building advanced, composite wings for the 777X.

This work involves a constellation of suppliers. It also expands the cluster of companies and expertise working with advanced composites in Washington.

That cluster, the jobs it supports and the future opportunities it creates should continue, regardless of what happens with the WTO.
Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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