January 7, 2019
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Bringing Business Up to Speed
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Seattle's rising cost of living and high cost of doing business are drawing national attention

Seattle has become a symbol of "transformation to fear," Seattle Times columnist Gene Balk has written in a roundup of national news coverage of "Seattle-ization," which is a term that has a negative connotation. The New York Times defines "Seattle-ization" as "a particularly dire diagnosis" with high housing costs, widening income inequality, and a general downward trend in a city's quality of life.

Seattle is also becoming a more expensive place to do business, Seattle Times business reporter Benjamin Romano writes:

"A typical grocery store doing $20 million in sales in Seattle would pay about 45 percent more in B&O and sales taxes and business-license fees than the same store in Tacoma. The Seattle bill for those taxes is more than twice what it would be in Everett and more than triple the bill in Renton or Kent."

Opportunity Washington rounds up the news here.

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Legislative Day and Hill Climb Preview
Supporting Rural Areas

Let's work together to prioritize rural economic revitalization

By AWB President Kris Johnson

The mission of the Association of Washington Business is to bring people together throughout the state to promote economic prosperity -- from the urban centers to the most rural corners.

We know that parts of Washington have boomed since the end of the recession, but other areas -- particularly the rural communities that exist in each of our state's 39 counties -- have not realized the same economic opportunities.

Our state's overall success depends on not just talking about the many barriers holding back economic growth in rural regions but finding and implementing solutions discussed at the AWB Rural Jobs Summit in the Legislature and at the local level to move every community forward.

Whether urban, rural or somewhere in between, we're all in this together.

Read the full column in the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business
Taxing Employers

Legislature's return to work presents a challenge for business

By Bill Virgin

Laments from the business community about taxes, regulations and the high cost and frustration of doing business around here are typically met with two responses: "It can't be that bad, look at our booming economy," and "If you don't like it, leave" (the latter usually accompanied by a snide remark about Texas or the South).

To those points: The current success of the tech sector, however loosely that's defined, certainly fueled economic growth in the region. But other sectors are struggling for reasons of their own (retailing) or related to the boom (industrial businesses dealing with high costs). Tech's boom has papered over a lot of ills, and if the sector ever has another moment like the dot-com bust, that facade will be gone...

Eventually businesses reach a point at which the cost/benefit analysis tips from staying to going.

It hasn't happened in great numbers and it won't happen at the same time for all businesses. But those tipping points are out there. In 2019, we'll find out see how enthusiastically the Legislature pushes the region closer to them.

Read the full column in The News Tribune
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