December 11, 2017
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Seattle adding taxes on consumers as cost-of-living continues to rise

Consumers in Seattle will soon see much higher prices on some popular items as new beverage taxes take effect on the first of the year. Families who live paycheck to paycheck will be especially hard hit as the price of sweetened tea increases by $2.24 per gallon in taxes; a 6-pack of sports drinks sees $2.10 in new taxes; and other costs increase on the same lines.

"Income inequality in Seattle will continue to rise. Neighborhood businesses and jobs will pay a steep price as people flock outside city limits to buy untaxed beverages," writes Keep Seattle Livable for All, a coalition of small businesses and Seattle residents who oppose the city council's new beverage taxes. The organization urges Seattle residents to contact their city council representatives and mayor to share their perspective on these new taxes at a time that city revenues are hitting new highs -- even without taxes on common consumer goods.

The coalition notes that similar beverage taxes in other cities have led to job losses and other negative impacts: "In Philadelphia, beverage taxes caused layoffs, reductions in employee hours, and sales decreases as much as 50% for store and restaurant owners. In Cook County, Ill., elected officials recently repealed their beverage tax less than three months after it was enacted. The public outcry from local businesses and residents was overwhelming and the Cook County Commission eventually listened to their constituents."

Learn more at the group's website, Facebook and Twitter accounts.

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Bridging the Skills Gap

Look to community colleges for diverse tech-industry talent

By Sheila Edwards Lange, president of Seattle Central College

Seattle's technology industry has a diversity problem. While tech companies have publicly committed to changing their hiring practices, people of color and women are still being left out of what feels more and more like an exclusive club.

Only one in five STEM workers identify as black or Latino, and less than 25 percent of STEM jobs are held by women. With equity front and center at the recent Washington STEM Summit, we must do more than talk. We must work together -- and two-year colleges are a natural partner in the effort to achieve this important goal...

It is not hard to see the tremendous potential of teaming up, where colleges such as ours and tech companies work together to create cutting-edge programs that teach the skills they need, in ways that are accessible to diverse students. Working together, we can train more local workers to fill the growing number of great jobs in the technology sector, thousands of which remain unfilled..

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Dams Provide Clean, Green Power

Inslee support for possible dam-breaching 'unfathomable'

By Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch

This issue needs to be decided at the highest level. You can't manage a hydro system this big and this important from the bench. Congress passed the laws that protect endangered species, and it paid for the dams in the first place. It is in the best position to decide whether we take a balanced view, or submit to environmental overkill.

You'd think a governor so concerned with our carbon footprint would be interested in preserving clean power in the Pacific Northwest. There really is no middle ground here, and he ought to know better. What's he saying? Dam breaching is OK if we just take a little from the top?

Read the full news release
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