December 1, 2014
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Lame-duck Congress enters crunch time with important work undone

A lame-duck Congress has only 10 days left to agree on a $1 trillion-plus spending bill that would keep the federal government running past the expiration of a temporary funding measure Dec. 11. That’s only one of a long list of tasks to be done before the year ends. Needs are wide-ranging: from money to combat Islamic State militants to helping slow the spread of Ebola.

Of interest to employers, tax-writing committees are working to renew expired tax incentives, including deductions for state and local sales taxes and the research and experimentation credit. The Associated Press has the story.



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ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

Port slowdown's potential devastating impacts on Washington businesses


By AWB President Kris Johnson and Jon DeVaney, president of the Washington State Tree Fruit Association

The contract dispute between West Coast dockworkers unions and the Pacific Maritime Association has nearly ground Seattle and Tacoma port traffic to a halt at the worst possible time. In our trade-heavy state, businesses are rightly worried this contract standstill could lead to a complete work stoppage.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), when a breakdown in contract negotiations resulted in a 10-day lockout in 2002, it cost the U.S. economy an estimated $1 billion a day, and took half a year to clear the backlog. A shutdown now could be even more costly, an estimated $2 billion each day, according to a study conducted by NAM and the National Retail Federation.

Given our dependence on ports for nearly all industries -- imports and exports --  the slowdown could ultimately impact already-stressed state and local budgets.

The timing is devastating for agriculturists and retailers...

READ MORE: Click here for the full op-ed column from Kris Johnson and Jon DeVaney in The Seattle Times
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