December 18, 2017
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Top Stories

Gov. Inslee releases budget with call for carbon tax and billion-dollar dip into reserves

The opening move in the budgetary debates came last week, as Gov. Jay Inslee released his proposed 2018 supplemental budget. He proposes pulling $950 million from the state's reserve fund to pay for McCleary education costs, and called again for a state carbon tax that has yet to gain traction in the Legislature or on a statewide ballot.

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Economic revenue forecast shows continued economic growth and higher tax collections

An upward trend in the state's economy is continuing, according to the latest figures from the state's Economic and Revenue Forecast Council. Employment is up by 3.3 percent, and state tax collections are coming in above what was expected.

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Judge strikes down state agency's Clean Air Rule

Employer groups had a victory last Friday as the state Department of Ecology's controversial Clean Air Rule was invalidated by a Thurston County judge. A coalition of employers challenged the rule last year citing the agency's lack of legislative approval to implement the new regulation.

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AWB announces 2018 employment law webinar series; early bird package discount available

AWB's popular employment law webinar series is back for the third year. Top legal experts will again look at the many facets of increasingly complex labor laws, offering up-to-date information to keep your workplace in compliance with the latest legal changes. Sign up for all the classes now to receive an early-bird package discount and a complete kit of all presentations.

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Two economic analysts to give lunchtime keynote at AWB's Legislative Day and Hill Climb

Track the economic trends shaping your community with a pair of experts during the lunchtime keynote at the 2018 Legislative Day and Hill Climb. Anneliese Vance-Sherman, a regional labor economist with the state Employment Security Department and Patrick Jones of Eastern Washington University will be joined by other legislative and policy leaders during an informative day that ends with our well-organized Hill Climb. The event will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Olympia.

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Federal Issues

Federal tax bill 'on the one-yard line' after wavering senators pledge support

The first major federal tax overhaul in a generation is nearing the finish line, with a vote possible before Christmas. A conference committee is ironing out differences between House and Senate versions. Taxes for a variety of businesses would be lowered, with hopes of spurring economic growth.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB's Employment Law Committee to meet Jan. 3 at Washington Hospitality Association headquarters

The Employment Law Committee will meet at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 3, to discuss issues ranging from I-1433 Safe and Sick Leave rulemaking to workers' compensation. The meeting will be held at the Washington Hospitality Association headquarters located at 510 Plum Street S.E. in Olympia. A call-in option will be available. Contact Connie Carlson to arrange to participate by phone at 360.943.1600.

For more information, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles.



Employment Security Department to hold Paid Family and Medical Leave Act rulemaking hearing tomorrow at 10 a.m.

The state Employment Security Department will hold the second meeting to discuss rulemaking and take input on the new Paid Family and Medical Leave law passed earlier this year. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. tomorrow, Dec. 19, and will be held in the agency's Boardwalk Conference Room located at 640 Woodland Square Loop, S.E., in Olympia. Those wishing to participate by phone can do so by calling 360.407.3780 and entering pin code 770339#. The topics will include Collective Bargaining Agreements, Voluntary Plans and Premiums. The agenda for the meeting is located online.

For additional information on the new paid leave benefit, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles at 360.943.1600.



Other News

Clay Hill joins AWB government affairs team

Clay Hill, a policy analyst for the House Republican Caucus specializing in tax policy issues, will join AWB's government affairs team in the new year. He replaces Eric Lohnes as AWB's government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy.

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Attorney general sues and governor pledges state actions after FCC vote on net neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last week to remove Obama-era internet regulations known as "net neutrality." In the days before the vote, Gov. Jay Inslee and several legislators pledged to use state power to keep the rules in place in Washington state. Within minutes of Thursday's vote, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued to block the FCC's ruling.

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Rep. Manweller removed from leadership roles

State Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, remains in office but has been asked to step down from a caucus leadership role and ranking status on the House Labor and Workplace Standards Committee, after an investigation of his conduct as a professor at Central Washington University was announced.

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Washington launches Maritime Blue 2050 initiative

A new state program aims to support Washington's $37.8 billion maritime sector and its nearly 70,000 employees to increase technology, reduce pollution and update workforce training.

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Small businesses can tap into new grant to help pay for international expansion

Washington state has received a new $800,000 grant that will offer vouchers of up to $5,000 for small businesses attending international trade shows, trade missions and foreign market sales trips.

Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Christmas Magic



They Said It

Dipping Into Reserves

"This is not the time to abandon the fiscal responsibility that has helped move the state away from the roller-coaster ride of surplus to deficit that was once routine." ~ AWB President Kris Johnson, about Gov. Jay Inslee's proposal to take $950 million from the state's "rainy-day fund," with promises of paying it back by implementing a major new carbon tax that would add costs to energy, transportation, manufacturing and other crucial parts of the state's economy.




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International Growth Zone



Northwest Startup Supporters Grow U.S.-Canada Economic Ties

By Benjamin Romano, editor, Xconomy Seattle

There's a new network organizing the incubators, accelerators, and investors fostering innovation in the Pacific Northwest on both sides of the U.S. - Canada border.

Business collaboration across the 49th parallel is having a moment, thanks in no small part to a dramatic divergence in immigration policies between the two countries this year that have prompted U.S. tech companies to establish or grow their presence in Canada to access talent from around the world.

The Cascadia Venture Acceleration Network (CVAN) is focused on collaboration at the grass-roots level of the innovation economy -- specifically the cleantech, life sciences, and IT industries -- in the broad area known as Cascadia, encompassing Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, Canada.

Read the full column in Xconomy Seattle
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