November 10, 2014
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Business-friendly candidates prevail across state, nation; voters narrowly supporting unfunded I-1351



Washington followed a national trend last week as it looked toward Republicans and divided government. In the Senate, Republicans took an outright majority for the first time in a decade. Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, who won his reelection bid, expects to remain part of the bipartisan Senate coalition that held the line against regulatory and tax increases over the past two years. Sheldon said he sees such coalitions as the wave of the future. He suggested that a bipartisan coalition might take control in the House, where Republicans gained two seats and could pick up as many as three more after ballots are counted in close races. A closer balance of power in the House might mean majority Democrats would need to scale back ideas on paid sick leave, a higher minimum wage and climate change proposals, the Northwest News Network reports.

The biggest surprise of election night was the collapse of earlier support for Initiative 1351. The measure was trailing on election night but took a small lead later in the week, and now appears to be passing. It requires major staff expansion in school districts for teachers and support personnel — a costly new mandate that troubles lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. Polls had shown it passing easily. The loss of support means legislators — already on the hook for billions of dollars in added education spending to meet the McCleary obligation — will likely vote to suspend it next year without fear of any voter backlash, one statehouse observer says.

(Photo courtesy vote.wa.gov.)

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MOVING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION

State waves goodbye to R&D tax incentive

By Kris Johnson, AWB President

Beginning in January, Washington state will become one of just a handful of states in the country that doesn't offer private employers some kind of a tax incentive to promote research and development activities.

That's because a pair of tax incentives created back 1994 are set to expire at the end of this year, despite attempts during the last legislative session to extend them.

Click here for the full column in The Wenatchee World
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VIDEO: Washington's manufacturers were on display at the 2014 AWB Manufacturing Summit
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