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Fast Facts

Monday, July 15

Last Chance: AWB's Human Resources Forum to address impending "Talent War"

Last Chance: AWB’s Human Resources Forum to address impending “talent war” Tuesday
Join AWB and special guests tomorrow for a high-energy discussion on creating a better workplace through innovative initiatives, creative benefits and cultural shifts. Learn from award winning companies as they share their success stories (and challenges) in transforming their workplace environment. The event has been approved for 4.75 (General) recertification credit hours toward PHR, SPHR and GPHR recertification through the HR Certification Institute.

Presenters include:

  • Top Threats Facing Employers Today,Reid Bates, franchise owner, Express Employment Professionals
  • Your People Are Your Brand, Where Science and Comedy Meet to Increase Employee Engagement and Performance: Ken Grant, president, Motivated Branding and Dr. Patrick Hopp, senior consultant, Leadership Development Worldwide
  • Ingredients For an Innovative Workplace: Panel of past AWB Better Workplace Awards for Innovation moderated by Ken Grant
  • Implementing Innovative Initiatives Successfully, Real World Experience in Making Significant Cultural Changes: Delta Emerson, executive vice president and chief of staff, Ryan, LLC.

The forum is from 7:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Seattle Airport Marriott. For questions contact Karlee Glasgow, 800.521.9325, or register here.

AWB plays key role as B&O service tax rate drops from 1.8 percent to 1.5 percent
AWB helped hold the line this legislative session against a “temporary” Business & Occupation tax increase becoming permanent. The state’s B&O tax rate of 1.5 percent was increased in 2010 to 1.8 percent. That increase was scheduled to expire last month, but revenue-seeking lawmakers looked to extend the tax. Thanks to a push by AWB and a strong line drawn in the sand by the bipartisan Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, the temporary surcharge expired June 30, and the B&O tax is back to 1.5 percent.

Final state operating budget mostly avoids new taxes, prioritizes education
A summary by the Washington Research Council of the last-minute budget agreement shows that the state will collect and spend $2 billion more over the next two years and hold onto reserves totaling $630 million. The budget focuses on education, “though there is still a long way to go” in meeting the Washington State Supreme Court’s requirements on the education funding ruling known as the McCleary decision. The budget balances on paper, but only because of big transfers from an account that was supposed to pay for public works projects. Altogether, this budget is probably the best compromise possible this year, but long-term sustainability is far from assured,” the WRC says.

Senate majority leader suggests $250 daily fines if legislators can’t pass budget on time
Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, leader of the bipartisan Senate Majority Coalition, has proposed fines of $250 per day (New Tribune/tiered subscription) when lawmakers don’t finish within the 105-day regular session, and he suggests withholding lawmakers’ daily meal and expense per diem checks to force them out of town. The idea has been met with a cool reception, although a separate proposal from Sen. Mike Baumgartner might be more effective at focusing lawmakers’ attention: The Spokane Republican suggests temporarily moving the state capitol to Walla Walla for its overtime session. Critics have also noted that Tom, like most other senators, collected per diems himself during this year’s pair of overtime special sessions.

Transportation package could be focus of third special session in November
If House and Senate leaders can agree on a transportation package, the Legislature may convene for a third special session in November. A $10 billion proposal for a network of improvements around the state passed in the state House in the final days of the second special session, but died without a vote in the Senate.

Ron Bueing recommended for appointment to the Citizens Commission on Tax Preferences
The House Republican Caucus has recommended AWB member Ron Bueing to serve on the Citizens Commission on Tax Preferences, filling an open position formerly held by James Bobst. Bueing, a tax lawyer with more than three decades of experience, serves on the AWB Board of Directors and is chair of AWB’s Tax and Fiscal Policy Council. In 2011 he received the S. Fred Bruhn Award for his role in helping develop one of the state’s best manufacturing competitiveness incentives. Bueing also chaired AWB’s 2002 Machinery & Equipment Workgroup, which was instrumental in negotiating reforms of Washington’s regulation on the sales and use tax exemption for manufacturing machinery and equipment.

New health exchanges are big money enterprises
The Affordable Care Act might be off to a shaky start, but that’s not stopping the federal government from handing over nearly $500 million to Washington, Oregon and Idaho to create health benefit exchanges. These new web portals, a key way for uninsured individuals to buy the newly mandated coverage, are a costly undertaking. States are paying six-figure salaries to administrators, inking hefty IT contracts and buying advertising campaigns, one involving a “happy, healthy and strong” Oregon folk singer (YouTube video). Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange has a similar $10 million outreach budget, but its videos are, so far, more informational than entertaining.

GOP calls for Obama to delay insurance mandate for individuals, as he just did for businesses
“Hold off Obamacare,” the Chicago Tribune wrote on Sunday. “The law isn’t ready.” The newspaper joins a chorus of lawmakers and observers calling on President Barack Obama to delay the individual insurance mandate for individuals, as he did earlier this month for businesses. “We agree with you that the burden was overwhelming for employers, but we also believe American families need the same relief,” GOP leaders wrote in a letter to the president. So far the administration has announced no plans to delay the requirement and the penalties that come with noncompliance.

Gov. Inslee picks Democratic Rep. Marcie Maxwell as new education policy advisor
Gov. Jay Inslee has chosen state Rep. Marcie Maxwell, D-Renton, the House Democrats’ deputy majority leader for education and opportunity, as his education policy advisor. Maxwell, a Realtor and small business owner, has resigned from the House and begins her policy job this week. She is seen as a close ally of the Washington Education Association, according to The Seattle Times. That’s also true for Inslee’s outgoing interim education advisor, Lynn Macdonald, who was a spokesman for WEA’s Tacoma chapter during its 2011 strike.

Washington tied for fifth worst in the nation for cost of doing business, according to CNBC
Washington state ranks in the cellar when it comes to the cost of doing business and is only fair-to-middling overall when it comes to being a good place to do business, according to a new CNBC survey that ranks Washington overall 21st using 51 measures. The “America’s Top States for Business 2013” lists Washington as tied for 44th out of 50 for the cost of doing business (a major drop from 37th last year). The only states with a higher cost of doing business are Massachusetts, Hawaii, New York and California, according to the rankings. Some observers last week noted an older survey, dating from April, by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that listed Washington as 6th best overall in the nation for business climate. That survey does not include the state’s increasingly heavy regulatory burden on businesses.

Survey: many Seattle employers don’t know about strict new paid sick leave rule
More than a third of Seattle business owners didn’t even knew about the city’s strict new sick leave ordinance when it went into effect last fall, according to UW researchers hired by the city. More than 11,000 employers, most of them small businesses with fewer than 20 employees, are supposed to comply with the law. Two thirds were noncompliant or only partially compliant, the survey found. Only a tiny minority were complying with the requirement to provide paid leave to temporary workers. Complying with the law will be costly, and the city has almost no way to enforce the ordinance.

What drives up the costs of transportation projects? Send us your insights

AWB is part of an advisory panel helping the state identify the cost drivers on transportation projects, and we’d like your help identifying what makes projects more expensive than they should be. AWB was invited to testify (TVW video) to the House Transportation Committee in February on cost drivers, and the issue has become part of the transportation reform effort. If you have specific experience or specific examples, please send them to Mike Ennis, AWB government affairs director for transportation and environmental policy.

Tax Council to review recently passed legislation
The AWB Tax and Fiscal Policy Council will hold its regularly scheduled meeting July 17 from 9:30 a.m. to noon in Seattle (location to be announced). Officials from the Department of Revenue have been invited to present an overview of SB 5882 — the tax incentive legislation that includes paymaster — including how they plan to implement it, what it means for the ETA and challenges they anticipate. The group will also discuss the DOR budget, tax preferences review, surveys and public disclosure requirements. If you have items you would like to add to the agenda, contact Amber Carter. A detailed agenda, conference call information and other details will be sent prior to the meeting.

Tri-City Herald: Inslee disappoints us with his veto of I-937 effectiveness study

Washington, a state literally awash in cheap, clean, green hydroelectric power, almost had the chance to examine the wisdom of rules requiring the purchase of costly, unpredictable wind energy. Unfortunately, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee used his line-item veto power to eliminate a common sense study on the environmental effectiveness of Initiative 937, the measure that forces utilities to boost use of non-hydro renewable energy. That was the argument of the Tri-City Herald in an editorial headlined “Gov. Inslee disappoints with his veto of I-937 effectiveness study.” The newspaper speculated that Inslee vetoed the requirement for a cost effectiveness study because it would have proven that the initiative is forcing the state’s electricity customers to waste money with little public oversight.

Comprehensive immigration reform ‘will define the new American century’
The comprehensive bipartisan immigration reform bill that passed the U.S. Senate dovetails nicely with the public interest, the Everett Herald editorialized on Sunday. It urges the U.S. House to act quickly to move forward on this important issue. The Wenatchee World agrees, saying the proposed House plan to divide the measure into chunks poses “great danger” to agriculture, high-tech and other major American industries. AWB and a broad coalition of other organizations support comprehensive immigration reform.

Former head of WSDOT and onetime state House co-leader Duane Berentson dies at age 84
Longtime state legislator Duane Berentson, who also served as co-speaker of the House and was head of the Washington State Department of Transportation, died on July 5. Berentson, a Republican, served the 40th legislative district from 1962 until his unsuccessful run for governor in 1980. During a rare even split of the House in 1979, he served as co-speaker with Democrat John Bagnariol. Berentson later served as secretary of Washington’s Department of Transportation from 1981 to 1993, the first non-engineer to do so. He oversaw the long-awaited completion of I-90 between Seattle and the Eastside and introduced a focus on mass transit.

Spokane business leaders to hold ‘living tribute’ for ailing former U.S. House Leader Tom Foley
Former U.S. House Speaker Tom Foley, ailing at age 84, will be honored with a “living tribute” in Spokane later this month. Businessman Rich Cowan said he wanted to celebrate the life of Spokane’s longest-serving congressman while Foley can still appreciate it. Foley, a Democrat first elected in 1964, was elected speaker of the house in 1989. He lost his House seat in 1994 to Republican George Nethercutt. Foley went on to serve as President Clinton’s ambassador to Japan. He now lives in Washington, D.C., and has been frequently hospitalized in recent months.


Nominations now being accepted for the 2013 Manufacturing Excellence Awards
AWB and the AWB Institute are now accepting nominations for the 2013 Manufacturing Excellence Awards sponsored by UPS. Manufacturers are responsible for more than 70 percent of all private sector R&D, which ultimately benefits other manufacturing and non-manufacturing activities. Two-thirds of our nation’s total exports of goods and services are related to the manufacturing sector. The awards, sponsored by UPS, will be presented Oct. 25 at the 2013 Manufacturing Summit: Manufacturing Matters Now! Recipients will be featured in a video highlighting their accomplishments. Download the nomination form here. Applications are due by July 26.

Add your voice to the discussion at AWB’s upcoming regional meetings
Tell us what’s on your mind during AWB’s 2013 Regional Meetings, which are coming to a city near you this September. These meetings are a great place to network with AWB members in your area. The meetings are open to both AWB members and non-member businesses to learn about the association’s proposed updated to the 2013-2014 legislative priorities. Our government affairs staff will be on hand to answer questions and legislators from local districts will be invited. We want to hear your ideas about how to get our state’s economy back on track. The meeting schedule:

  • Southwest WA (Vancouver) – Sept. 4, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
  • Central WA (Kennewick) – Sept. 5, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
  • Eastern WA (Spokane) – Sept. 6, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
  • South Puget Sound (Federal Way) – Sept. 10, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
  • North Puget Sound (Everett) – Sept. 11, 8:30-10:30 a.m.
  • Central Puget Sound (Bellevue) – Sept. 12, 8:30-10:30 a.m.

For more information go to the Events calendar on the AWB website. Please RSVP by Aug. 30 to Bonnie Millikan at 800.521.9325.

Seminar Teaches the ‘7 Virtues of Exporting’

Jim Foley, the author of “The Global Entrepreneur: Taking Your Business International,” will keynote a two-day exporting seminar in Port Angeles. The seminar will teach the “7 virtues of exporting,” offering practical tips on how to understand export procedures, know when your company should expand internationally, avoid common mistakes and adapt your marketing for international success. The seminar will be held on July 22 and 23. More information on “Double Your Money Grant: The 7 Virtues of Exporting,” is here.

‘Morning Joe’ duo, Time magazine’s economy editor to headline Fall Policy Summit

The line-up for AWB’s 24th annual Policy Summit, sponsored by AT&T, will feature a powerful slate of speakers addressing national politics and economic issues. MSNBC’s morning show team of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski will keynote the dinner. Other featured speakers include:

  • Rana Foroohar, Time Magazine columnist and economy editor
  • A CEO panel featuring Scott Morris, chairman of the board, president and CEO, Avista Corporation, Spokane, and Colin Moseley, chairman, Green Diamond Resource Company, Seattle.
  • Health Care at a Crossroad … What’s Next? featuring Don Conant, an active AWB member and a member of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board; Jeff Rowe, executive vice president, Premera Blue Cross of Washington; and Hadley Heath, a senior policy analyst at the Independent Women's Forum and an expert on the Affordable Care Act
  • Skills Gap Threatens Washington’s Economy: What is the Solution? Panel of educators and business leaders moderated by Doug Bayne, Walla Walla Community College Foundation

Policy Summit will be held Sept. 17-19 at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum. Register online and go here for Suncadia room reservations.

Policy Summit debuts new mobile app

Sponsorships are available now for AWB’s new Policy Summit mobile app. Later next month, attendees can download the new app onto smartphones, providing digital access to all of the summit materials, including event updates, social media integration, and the power to connect directly with speakers and guests. Email Anne Haller, AWB’s director of member relations and events, or contact her by phone at 360.943.1600 for complete sponsor details.

Annual golf tournament set for Rope Rider Golf Course Sept. 17

The AWB Institute is excited to host this year’s fundraising golf tournament, sponsored by Altria, for Washington Business Week — an educational program that offers students a chance to experience simulated career challenges in a general business setting or in the career-focused pathways of health care, energy, manufacturing and agriculture. The shotgun start at Rope Rider Golf Course is 10:30 a.m. sharp on Tuesday, Sept. 17, during AWB’s Policy Summit. Golfers will enjoy playing on this spectacular course designed by Jacobsen Hardy Design, one of the nation's most respected course architecture firms. Registration is $140. Golf sponsorships are available here.

Conducting Effective Pre-Hire Interviews That Bring Results, Sept. 10From the top executive to front-line employees, having the right people on your team is key to executing any business strategy. The company with the most talented team wins — period. The pre-employment interview is crucial to understanding a candidate’s history and potential. Learn how you can effectively choose and ask clear and probing questions that lead to the right hire. Jenifer Lambert, vice president of TERRA Staffing Group, will lead a webinar with “tricks of the trade” to help you significantly improve your odds of selecting top performers that will provide your company a real competitive advantage. This session is geared toward any manager that has responsibility for hiring and will cover:

  • Avoiding potential legal landmines during the pre-hire process
  • Classic hiring mistakes that all managers make and how to avoid them
  • An “ESP” process that will help you get beyond “interview answers” to the truth
  • Strategies for gathering references that lead to more effective hires
  • The three questions you must be have clear answers to before hiring anyone
Lambert’s lessons comes from more than 20 years in the recruiting and staffing industry helping clients across diverse industries hire more effectively. This Sept. 10 webinar runs from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The cost for AWB members is $49 and for non-members is $69. Contact Karlee Glasgow at 800.521.9325 for more information.

AWB offers simple 401(k) plan for members

Members can take advantage of an exciting retirement program – MyFuture 401(k) – an easier, more cost-effective plan for your company. Each adopting employer retains control of the vesting, eligibility requirements, matching contributions, profit sharing, and general plan design while decreasing the administrative burden and fiduciary liability. On-site education and enrollment services are provided to your employees by Integrity Financial, a local investment advisor, along with institutional grade investment options and professionally managed risk-based portfolios. For more information, please contact AWB at 1.800.521.9325 or visit

“Create a functional immigration system to welcome those willing to work and better their lives in the United States. Work to benefit the economy and the people.” ~ July 13 editorial from The Wenatchee World urging U.S. House Republicans take up the bipartisan Senate immigration reform bill, rather than giving the legislation a “slow-walk to death.”

This Week's President's Perspective: Obamacare in Need of a Remake

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