February 19, 2018
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Top Stories

Senate Democratic Caucus unveils its supplemental budget proposal; House to release its plan tomorrow

With just under three weeks left in the 2018 legislative session, the Senate Democratic Caucus released its supplemental budget plan today. Of note, the spending proposal would spend down the state reserves and the voter-approved Budget Stabilization Account to pay for teacher salaries as part of the final piece of the education funding court ruling and provide homeowners with property tax relief.

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State's tax revenue expected to increase by $1.3 billion above forecasts through 2021

Lawmakers preparing their supplemental budgets have a fair wind at their backs, with news last week of the largest quarterly increase in state collections since the 2008 recession. The state's revenue and forecast council said that tax proceeds will increase by $1.3 billion above expectations through 2021.

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Bill to reinstate B&O manufacturing tax relief gets hearing; New B&O tax relief bill appears on today's committee executive session schedule

A bill that would reduce the business and occupation (B&O) tax rate for manufacturers received a public hearing Friday in the House Finance Committee. While House Bill 2947 is a good start to the conversation on how to support the manufacturing sector statewide, the measure leaves out nine of Washington's 39 counties. AWB President Kris Johnson, testifying in opposition to the bill, told committee members, "It's time to let all manufacturers win."

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Administration unveils outline of infrastructure plan

The federal infrastructure plan released last week would have $200 billion in new spending for the 50 states, with the goal of leveraging that into $1.5 trillion in total spending. Washington state alone has $190 billion in infrastructure needs over the next 20 years, AWB and other statewide groups told KIRO 7 News last week in an interview based on our infrastructure report.

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Report: Washington Research Council looks at the capital gains tax

In a new policy brief, the Washington Research Council examines the details of a capital gains tax, including whether such a proposal would actually pass constitutional muster. Other concerns: its volatility and effect on economic activity in the state.

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AWB releases new Rural Jobs Outlook

The story of Washington is a tale of two economies. While urban areas are booming, rural areas are struggling. To highlight the difference and push forward on solutions, AWB has released its first-ever rural jobs report. Based on last year's Rural Jobs Summits, the report shows the way forward to unify and strengthen every corner of the Evergreen State.

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Democratic leaders speak at AWB Lobby Lunch

Democratic leaders answered questions from AWB members at the final Lobby Lunch of the year. Senate Deputy Majority Leader Andy Billig and House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan discussed property, carbon and capital gains tax proposals, and new state revenue estimates.

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Legislation of Note

HB 2338: Low-Carbon Fuel Standard bill in limbo as of house-of-origin cutoff

An AWB-opposed bill that would have linked Washington to California's untested low-carbon fuel standard could still be in play even after failing to pass its house of origin.

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SB 6203: Carbon tax

The governor's carbon tax proposal, Senate Bill 6203, received a public hearing last week. AWB testified in opposition to the measure. While the proposal did not move out of committee, it is still considered in play. There is no word yet if the bills have the votes to pass either chamber.

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2SHB 1506: Pay Equity

A measure to address pay equity, 2SHB 1506, passed the House with a vote of 69-28 and is now being worked on in the Senate. AWB is asking for four amendments on the bill.

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HB 2967: Creating a capital gains tax

The House Finance Committee last week heard testimony on House Bill 2967, a measure to create a new capital gains tax. The proceeds from the tax would be used to reduce property taxes, according to the bill's sponsor. AWB testified in opposition to the bill.

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Federal Issues

Bill to enact liability reforms in ADA compliance claims passes House

A bill to ensure those bringing a lawsuit against business owners under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) indicate the specific nature of the ADA violation, and then would allow the business owner to fix the problem within a limited period of time before the lawsuit could continue. It passed the U.S. House with a bipartisan vote of 225-192.

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Other News

Columbia Generating Station supports good jobs, reliable power

A recently released report highlights the statewide economic impacts of the Columbia Generating Station in Eastern Washington. The report will be the subject of a work session in the House Technology and Economic Development Committee tomorrow at 10 a.m.

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Boeing releases third-annual Community Benefit Report, highlights support of 242,800 jobs in Washington aerospace

Boeing's third-annual report shows major company support for education, higher learning, conservation and charitable giving statewide.

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Seattle nearing vote on 'head tax' on employers

A task force is expected to finish work on a "head tax," or a per-employee tax, proposal that would tax large employers and use the money for homelessness programs.

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Gov. Inslee taps Seattle business leader Maud Daudon to lead long-term apprenticeship strategy

Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed the outgoing president and CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to guide a 10-year vision and strategic plan for career-connected learning and apprenticeships.

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March 6 workplace safety seminar features business and industry leaders

Nucor Steel Seattle and other employers known for safety excellence will present at a March 6 workplace safety seminar in Tumwater, hosted by the Department of Labor & Industries. Pre-registration is required.

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Call for nominations: Help bring more great business leaders to AWB's board of directors

It's time to step up and help AWB remain a leader and voice for solutions in Olympia. Nominations are now being accepted for seats on the AWB Board of Directors. Businesses of all sizes and business leaders of all ages are invited to apply. Nominations are due to Bonnie Millikan by March 23.

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AWB Events & Resources

Seminar: Anti-Harassment training and investigations in the era of #MeToo

No employer can afford to be lax in enforcing its commitment to anti-harassment. But how do you deal with the he-said, she-said scenarios? What is expected of employers in this era of heightened awareness of harassment? These are the questions we will address in a Feb. 28 seminar,Feb. 28 seminar, along with practical guidance for minimizing the risk of liability in your workplace.

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AWB's 2018 employment law webinar series continues with 'Employee Handbook' talk

AWB's popular employment law webinar series is back for the third year, starting with the first session this Wednesday. Sarah Swale. The next seminar will focus on updating Employee Handbooks with Greg Hendershott & Angela Vogel of Jensen Morse Baker PLLC will talk about pre-hire, hiring and job descriptionsDavis Wright Tremaine LLP. Over the coming months, other legal experts will 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.

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Hear from apprenticeship advocate at AWB Institute Workforce Summit March 21 in Bellevue

Back by popular demand, the AWB Institute Workforce Summit will be held this year at the Hilton Bellevue on Wednesday, March 21. Matt Poischbeg, vice president and general manager at Sea-Lect Plastics, will give the keynote, offering an enthusiastic and experienced take on apprenticeships and workforce development. Registration is now open!

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Labor relations for beginners: for union and non-union workplaces

Whether or not your employees are represented by a union, recent changes in federal labor law impact your workplace. Join us on April 26 to learn more about employers' rights and obligations under key federal labor law principles.

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A new home for Spring Meeting -- the Davenport Grand hotel

Reserve your room May 15 and 16 in the AWB room block now for the 2018 Spring Meeting, to be held in the new Davenport Grand hotel in downtown Spokane. AWB's annual meeting in Spokane is only going to be bigger and better as it moves to this deluxe new hotel near the city's Riverfront Park.

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AWB HealthChoice members can get access to medical care anytime, anywhere

AWB members enrolled in the HealthChoice Trust Premera plans have access to Teladoc, which offers 24/7 access to U.S. board-certified doctors via phone or video consults. Teladoc doctors can diagnose, treat, and send prescriptions to the pharmacy of your choice, all from the comfort of your own home. Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Invest in Infrastructure



They Said It

Carbon Tax

"Unless there's a bipartisan vote in the House, it's not going to go anywhere." ~ House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, discussing the prospects of a carbon tax passing the Legislature.




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B&O Tax Relief for Manufacturers
Support All Manufacturers


AWB tells House committee, 'It's time to let all manufacturers win'

By Jason Hagey, AWB

AWB President Kris Johnson called on lawmakers to lower the business and occupation (B&O) tax rate for all Washington manufacturers, not just those in some parts of the state, during a hearing Friday before the House Finance Committee.

In its current form, Substitute House Bill 2947 would lower the B&O rate for manufacturers in 30 counties. It would leave out nine counties, including many that consist largely of rural areas, such as Kitsap and Benton.

"It's time to let all manufacturers win," Johnson said, echoing language that Rep. Gael Tarleton, D-Ballard, used during a floor speech last week on a separate measure aimed at boosting Washington's boat manufacturers. "We're going to let our fishing fleet win," Tarleton declared before the House voted 97-1 in favor of her bill.
Read the full blog and watch the video at Olympia Business Watch
Preserving Local Commitment


Avista sale is good for customers, community

By Scott Morris, CEO, Avista Corp.

Six months ago, Avista and Hydro One announced plans to combine and form one of North America's largest regulated utilities. Since that time, as we've moved toward closing, our confidence has only grown in the benefits of this merger for all of our stakeholders, from our customers and employees to our shareholders and the communities we serve.

Given the central role that Avista plays in its service territories, both as an energy provider and a member of the community, we understand why customers and community members want assurances that they will continue to receive safe, reliable and high-quality energy at a fair price and that Avista will continue to be an active corporate citizen.

The short answer is that the proposed transaction is designed to help preserve -- and even enhance -- Avista's commitments to its customers and its communities. In a changing industry landscape, joining forces with Hydro One will help safeguard Avista's proud legacy and way of doing business...

Read the full op-ed in The Spokesman-Review
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