March 5, 2018
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Legislature heads into the home stretch; still time to support manufacturers with B&O tax relief

With just four days left in the "short" legislative session, a number of major initiatives in the Legislature are dead (including a carbon tax), while others are still being discussed (including rural broadband as well as tax relief for manufacturers).

House and Senate budget negotiators continue to craft a supplemental operating budget agreement. One issue is whether to provide tax relief for manufacturing and whether that relief should be limited to “rural” areas (see House Bill 2992). Read last week's blog post at Olympia Business Watch for more on how AWB is advocating for all manufacturers to see B&O tax relief.

AWB is calling on lawmakers to act this session to show support for a sector that’s falling behind other parts of the economy. Time is running out for legislators to help ensure that Washington is a competitive place for manufacturers, whether in the industrial working waterfront of Seattle or across the state in struggling rural communities that are equally dependent on the quality, high-paying jobs that manufacturing employers provide.

The final supplemental budget and all the bills related to it have until Thursday to pass both chambers.

Contact Clay Hill, AWB's government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy, to learn more about the issue and how you can engage with your lawmakers in the final days of this legislative session and beyond.

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A Lifetime of Learning

Workforce development begins young, continues over lifetime

By AWB President Kris Johnson

We all want our kids to grow up in a state with good-paying job prospects and the training to match them.

Today, there is a laser focus by our association's membership and other groups about the need to fill the workforce pipeline with skilled, job-ready workers. There simply aren't enough workers to fill the high-tech, high-wage jobs available in our state and nation.

We're working to address that problem by advocating for robust career and technical programming in our middle and high schools, training and certificate programs for high-demand jobs at our state's community and technical colleges.

We'll be talking about those very issues at the second-annual AWB Workforce Summit on March 21 in Bellevue.

Read the full column in The Wenatchee Business World
Dealing with Debt

State needs to begin paying down its bond debt

By The Everett Herald Editorial Board

Duane Davidson, now in his second year of office, hasn't been one to pursue many policy issues with lawmakers, unlike his predecessor who outlined an ambitious tax reform proposal that earned little interest. But Davidson has taken a stand to defend against raids of the "rainy day" fund and asked lawmakers to consider using some of the additional revenue to pay down the state's bond debt, add to its "rainy day" reserves or pay more toward its unfunded pension obligations. Their choice.

"I think that money would be better spent paying down any debt, pick your debt," Davidson said.

And there's significant debt to pay down.

The state's Debt Affordability Study for 2018, released by Davidson's office, reports that the state's debt portfolio has over the course of the last 20 years grown from $6.8 billion to more than $19 billion and totals $21 billion when financing contracts are included....

Read the full editorial in The Herald
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