February 19, 2018
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Seattle nearing vote on 'head tax' on employers

The Seattle City Council’s Progressive Revenue Task Force is wrapping up its work on an employer “head tax,” which clears the way for the City Council to take action on a tax to raise money to fight homelessness, the Seattle Times reports.

Many details have yet to be worked out. A proposal last year that was narrowly rejected by the Council would have taken 6.5 cents per employee, per hour, from companies grossing more than $10 million per year, according to the Times. That would cover about 5 percent of Seattle businesses and would have raised about $25 million a year.

Rising property taxes are “really hurting” residents and homelessness is “worse than it’s ever been,” said task force co-chair Tony To, executive director of HomeSight.

“People don’t want to keep talking. They want to reach a conclusion,” To said.

Some businesses are not participating in the task force in protest, the Times reported.

“This is a sham process,” Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce Chief of Staff Markham McIntyre said. “They have a predetermined outcome.”

He added: “The business community is the punching bag.” Businesses are already doing their part, McIntyre said, since business taxes make up more than half of the city’s general fund revenues, and business and occupation taxes are higher in Seattle than other cities.

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B&O Tax Relief for Manufacturers
Support All Manufacturers

AWB tells House committee, 'It's time to let all manufacturers win'

By Jason Hagey, AWB

AWB President Kris Johnson called on lawmakers to lower the business and occupation (B&O) tax rate for all Washington manufacturers, not just those in some parts of the state, during a hearing Friday before the House Finance Committee.

In its current form, Substitute House Bill 2947 would lower the B&O rate for manufacturers in 30 counties. It would leave out nine counties, including many that consist largely of rural areas, such as Kitsap and Benton.

"It's time to let all manufacturers win," Johnson said, echoing language that Rep. Gael Tarleton, D-Ballard, used during a floor speech last week on a separate measure aimed at boosting Washington's boat manufacturers. "We're going to let our fishing fleet win," Tarleton declared before the House voted 97-1 in favor of her bill.
Read the full blog and watch the video at Olympia Business Watch
Preserving Local Commitment

Avista sale is good for customers, community

By Scott Morris, CEO, Avista Corp.

Six months ago, Avista and Hydro One announced plans to combine and form one of North America's largest regulated utilities. Since that time, as we've moved toward closing, our confidence has only grown in the benefits of this merger for all of our stakeholders, from our customers and employees to our shareholders and the communities we serve.

Given the central role that Avista plays in its service territories, both as an energy provider and a member of the community, we understand why customers and community members want assurances that they will continue to receive safe, reliable and high-quality energy at a fair price and that Avista will continue to be an active corporate citizen.

The short answer is that the proposed transaction is designed to help preserve -- and even enhance -- Avista's commitments to its customers and its communities. In a changing industry landscape, joining forces with Hydro One will help safeguard Avista's proud legacy and way of doing business...

Read the full op-ed in The Spokesman-Review
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