February 12, 2018
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A closer look: What might Amazon's approach to health care look like?

Amazon seems to be eyeing the 18 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product dedicated to health care as fertile ground for expansion, the Harvard Business Review wrote last week in a story examining what Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase might do in their recently announced joint venture on health care.

The three big companies said they want to reduce health care spending for their more than 1 million employees. Some ways they might do so, according to the analysis:

  •  Making routine transactions seamless and reliable: Perhaps a model like that of Amazon Prime could improve health care delivery by addressing administrative hassles and scheduling challenges by patients seeking routine services in a one-stop setting.
  •  Passive data capture: With Amazon's expertise in capturing information about its customers purchasing habits, and its newly opened Amazon Go store that operates without cashiers, the company could find ways of improving the execution of complex services provided in health care facilities.
  •  Data analytics: Simplifying data capture frees up resources for Amazon to analyze that information and link it to health care usage patterns and individual health traits.
  •  Re-invention: Amazon is an expert at turning itself inside out, transforming its efforts to solve its own operations challenges into future commercial products and services. A key example is Amazon Web Services, which began as a way to simplify internal operations, and became a huge "pay-as-you-go" cloud infrastructure for external customers.

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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
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