December 14, 2015
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Gov. Inslee to introduce draft supplemental budget

Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to release his proposed supplemental budget this week. The document will provide a starting point for budgetary discussions as the Legislature convenes Jan. 11.
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Ex-Im Bank back open, but only for small deals until board seats are filled

The Export-Import Bank has been reauthorized, but can only approve small deals -- not big orders for aircraft, satellites and major manufacturing equipment -- until open board seats are filled. This leaves major employers like Boeing, General Electric and Caterpillar in limbo.
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Obamacare tax penalty increasing by nearly 50 percent next year

Americans who do not sign up for health insurance will pay a higher penalty next year -- an average of nearly $1,000 per household, according to a new analysis. Read more »

Auditor Troy Kelley unexpectedly returns to work as lawmakers push for impeachment

As lawmakers from both parties announced a resolution to impeach Troy Kelley for "dereliction of duty," the embattled auditor unexpectedly returned to work last week from a seven-month leave of absence he began after being indicted on federal fraud charges. Kelley said his legal issues will not affect his leadership of the state agency focused on rooting out corruption and waste.
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AWB "Webinar Wednesdays" begin Jan. 13

The second Wednesday of each month, AWB will host a webinar on a wide variety of topics that are useful, interesting and fun for our members. The first Webinar Wednesday will be on navigating the Legislature's website. Register today for "Become an Insider: Navigating the Legislature Online and in Person." Read more »

Request for comment on DSHS-requested law on electronic child support withholding

The governor's office is asking for feedback from AWB members on potential request legislation from the Department of Social and Health Services. The proposal would require employers to remit child support withholdings to DSHS electronically, with some exceptions.
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Look for year-in-review Fast Facts next week; AWB office will close on Christmas Eve

This will be the final regular Fast Facts email for 2015. Watch your inbox next week for a special edition looking back at 2015, including the top AWB videos of the year, plus a new video year-in-review. Fast Facts will return on Jan. 4 with a look ahead at the upcoming legislative session. The AWB office will be closed Dec. 24-25 and Jan. 1.

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Leading Without New Top-Down Mandates

Recognize success industries are having in cutting CO2

By Kris Johnson, AWB president, and Daren Konopaski, vice president and business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 302

It is true this year's drought and wildfire season wreaked havoc on the state, a point that Gov. Jay Inslee makes while promoting his government-centric carbon emissions reduction plan. But the governor's labeling of those who disagree with the details of his plan as "fear mongers" is not fair.

There is no denying there is more work ahead, but there is also no denying that Washington employers and their employees are already leading the way toward the cleaner future that Gov. Inslee -- and frankly all Washingtonians -- so strongly desire.

Gov. Inslee has continued to say "it's time to lead," but Washington employers and employees are already leading the way toward environmental solutions that work -- without top-down, bureaucratic mandates that raise taxes on everyday citizens but don't solve the problem.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Herald
Delays Hurt Workers and Economy

State should speed up permits for export docks

By Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch

While our neighbors to the north and south of Washington watch their port infrastructure grow and flourish, our state -- the most export-dependent in the nation -- is improbably holding up billions of dollars in private infrastructure development that would only help us compete with California and Canada.

The delay with regard to the export terminal expansions in Bellingham and Longview is patently unacceptable. Proposed projects and potential investments in this state should benefit from a fair, timely and predictable review process. Yet that is not the case with these projects, whose review has been in process for three years and subject to numerous, ongoing delays.

It is one thing to politically disagree with these projects on the basis of exporting a particular commodity -- in this case, coal -- and to express concern over the environmental standards to which these projects must adhere. It is quite another to attempt to bind these projects with endless government bureaucracy and red tape in hopes that the investors will give up and go elsewhere. Our competition is ready and willing to accept new business and is making the needed investments to do so.
Click here to read the full column in The Olympian
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