February 19, 2018
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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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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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