December 8, 2014
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U.S. House approves $42 billion retroactive tax break package, including sales tax, R&D credits

The U.S. House approved a short-term $42 billion tax break package last week that includes business tax breaks and a sales tax deduction retroactive for 2014.

The fix will allow millions of businesses and individuals to claim tax breaks. The business tax breaks include a research and development tax credit and provisions to allow businesses to write off capital investments more quickly.

Of special interest to Washingtonians is a renewal of the sales tax deduction for those who itemize their returns. The sales tax deduction will save Washington taxpayers about $550 for each filer who itemizes, or a total of nearly half a billion dollars for the state’s economy as a whole, Rep. Denny Heck told The Olympian.

The bill passed overwhelmingly in the House, by 378 to 46, but passage in the Senate is uncertain. President Barack Obama has indicated he would sign the bill.

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New 'business-blue' coalition focuses on protecting Washington's trade status

By Eric Schinfeld, Washington Council on International Trade

As an advocate for international trade, I'm fortunate to work with some of the most innovative global brands in America today, witnessing companies whose efforts both distinguish them across the globe and also bring jobs and prosperity back to America's middle class. Last week, following our annual Washington Trade Conference, I introduced a panel discussion convened by partners from Keep Washington Competitive, a new coalition of business and labor leaders.

READ MORE: Click here for the full op-ed column in the Puget Sound Business Journal

Opinion: Gov. Inslee and Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce should carefully consider climate policy

By Mike Elliott, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

The low-carbon fuel standard the governor is considering by way of executive order could raise prices at the pump anywhere from 13 cents a gallon to $1.50. I'm told the purpose of the fuel standard is to encourage sustainable fuel production and use, with the ultimate goal being a reduction in carbon emissions (largely from cars and trucks operating on our roadways).

When considering climate change on a global scale, few would dispute the need to seek reductions in carbon emissions. But without a thorough understanding of potential impacts on fuel prices and, ultimately, jobs connected to transportation costs, further study of the fuel standard as a means of achieving reduced carbon emissions is warranted. While I'm all for lower carbon, cleaner fuels and better efficiency in our cars, trucks, industrial processes and lives, I cannot support taking action without knowing for certain we're not sending jobs out of the state or, worse, overseas where few standards, if any, exist.

READ MORE: Click here for the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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