February 12, 2018
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories

Congress approves two-year budget after short governmental shutdown

The federal government shut down for 5 1/2 hours early Friday morning before a vote and quick presidential signature on a two-year federal budget deal. The deal increases federal spending by $300 billion over two years for military and domestic spending. That boost in expenditures, along with the recent federal tax cuts, will add to the nation's $20 trillion-plus national debt. For that reason, the bill faced opposition from conservative Republicans in the House and a procedural delay by Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who pushed the Senate vote past midnight and caused the brief government shutdown.

"Not only does the bill extend federal appropriations for six weeks, set higher budget caps for two years, and lift the debt ceiling for an additional year, it includes significant tax and healthcare extensions," said Tim Peckinpaugh of K&L Gates, AWB's lobbyist in Washington, D.C. "Next to the tax cut and reform legislation passed in December, this is the most consequential legislation this Congress has passed."

With the budget deal finally in place, the fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill negotiations can commence. The White House plans to release its budget blueprint this week with what a spokesman called "a path toward restoring fiscal responsibility."

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 passed 71-28 in the Senate and 240-186 in the House. Washington state's congressional delegation was split in unusual ways by the budget vote.

Sen. Patty Murray voted “yes,” but Sen. Maria Cantwell voted “no.” Both are Democrats.

In the House, Republican Reps. Dan Newhouse and Jaime Herrera Beutler voted “no,” along with Democratic Reps. Pramilla Jayapal and Adam Smith. Voting “yes” were Democratic Reps. Rick Larsen, Denny Heck, Suzan DelBene and Derek Kilmer, as well as Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dave Reichert.

The budget deal will set up larger debates on immigration and rising budget deficits, Reuters reports. The Associated Press also covered the story.

Contact Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for federal issues, to learn more.

« Back to Main
A Backdoor Gas Tax Increase

Inslee's carbon tax bill unfair to middle class

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

Senate Bill 6203 will burden some people more than others, and that isn't fair.

The proposal -- also known as the carbon tax bill -- would impose an additional $10 per metric ton on carbon dioxide emissions in 2019. The amount would increase over time to $30 per metric ton by 2029.

The money raised would go to clean energy efforts and projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also might encourage more people to buy vehicles that don't run solely on fossil fuel, Inslee said.

But adding that extra tax will mean gas prices will go up, and so will heating bills.

An analysis by the Washington Policy Center estimates the average family will spend $125 more on gasoline per year in 2019, and $375 more a year in 2029 if the tax is approved...

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
Supporting all Washington Manufacturers

Equal footing for economic growth

By The Kitsap Sun Editorial Board

On the whole our state's B&O is seen as a misguided tax by many, since its collections are based on gross rather than net profits, and cities, including here in Kitsap, have been working to minimize its impact on small businesses by gradually lowering local B&O rates. It's a particular tax reform that's generally helpful to small business without creating an unaccountable giveaway that hurts public coffers, when implemented wisely.

Last summer's state budget agreement included a provision to expand the lower state B&O rate beyond the aerospace sector, applying it to all manufacturers. The provision, pushed by the Republican caucus but agreed to by Democrats in budget negotiations, wouldn't have completely eliminated state B&O, but it would have put all manufacturers on equal footing. That's a fair request in a state where Boeing and aerospace receive a deserved share of economic credit but aren't the only engine driving our future.

The measure was vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee, who stated at the time he disagreed with being caught off-guard by its inclusion in a budget deal. In our view that was disappointing, given the work that went into the agreement, but this session the idea is back -- actually, two versions of it are. Competing Senate bills were in the Ways and Means committee as of Friday, both of which would gradually lower the B&O rate for all manufacturers to what's paid by the aerospace industry to the tune of about $64 million over the next four years...

Read the full editorial in The Kitsap Sun
Upcoming Events