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Fast Facts

Monday, March 10

Legislature enters final week with education, transportation still on agenda

TOP STORIES
Legislature enters final week with education, transportation still on agenda

Lawmakers are scrambling to reach agreement on a variety of issues including teacher evaluations, a transportation package, marijuana and supplemental spending plan before the 60-day legislative session ends on Thursday. Without an agreement on teacher evaluations, the state could lose its No Child Left Behind waiver from the federal government, potentially costing it $38 million in federal education money. And without a transportation plan, the state could be forced to make deep cuts in transportation maintenance and ferry service. Meanwhile, the House and Senate must quickly negotiate a final budget measure in order to allow time for drafting, proofing, and printing. On Tuesday, the House approved a supplemental budget. The Senate approved its spending plan the previous week.

Hobbs offers new transportation plan

Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, offered up a new transportation proposal Friday in hopes of reviving stalled negotiations over one of the biggest issues of the session. Hobbs took full ownership of the plan, which he described as “just another option to consider” as lawmakers wrestle over the details of a transportation package. The Hobbs plan tracks closely to proposals put out by House Democrats and the Senate Transportation Committee, but it requires sacrifice from both parties, The Herald of Everett reported. The plan was not immediately embraced, and it was unclear whether lawmakers could reach agreement before the session ends on Thursday.

McGladrey Monitor survey deadline extended until Wednesday

Washington is the nation’s most trade-dependent state, and businesses here have a few extra days to be part of a unique report on manufacturing and global distribution. AWB members are invited to participate in the fact-gathering for this year’s McGladrey Monitor. Participants will have access to a number of valuable business insights and benefits, including a customized benchmark report comparing your responses to the trend lines for other businesses. You’ll also receive:

  • Data to help you plan and execute your strategic objectives.
  • An industry advocate who will provide insights to congressional and administrative representatives on your behalf.

For a hint of what the Monitor provides, take a look at last year’s report and its presentation at the 2013 AWB Manufacturing Summit. The deadline to participate in the survey has been extended to Wednesday.All responses will be kept strictly confidential. Click here to take the survey.

Manufacturing Summit in Bellingham tackles workforce challenges and possibilities

Yes, we still make things in America – and even more so in Washington state. That was the message AWB President Kris Johnson brought to Bellingham last week during the 2014 Manufacturing Summit at Bellingham Technical College. Johnson emphasized the number and quality of manufacturing jobs in Washington by noting that the state’s manufacturing output was $46.5 billion in 2011, and in 2012 the sector supported jobs with $82,902 in average annual compensation. Johnson also addressed the need for skilled workers, especially as the state gears up for the grand future of composites. Read more at Olympia Business Watch and The Bellingham Herald. One way to provide those skills is a maritime welding class at Seattle’s Vigor Shipyards in partnership with South Seattle Community College, The Seattle Times reports.

‘Historic’ hearing on $15 minimum wage draws crowds as businesses prepare to cut back

Supporters of a $15 minimum wage packed a meeting at Seattle’s Town Hall Wednesday, but some employers and workers are beginning to sound notes of caution. One worker said the proposal would eliminate his job by adding 60 percent to his employer’s labor costs. Other observers point out that the minimum wage is meant to be just the first rung on the economic ladder, allowing people to learn skills and move upward. Meanwhile, Richard Davis writes that the labor economist cited by Gov. Jay Inslee at AWB’s Legislative Summit set a very low bar by saying a $15 minimum wage is “really not that outrageous,” and that we should also examine whether it is also unwise.

PRIORITY LEGISLATION
Senate passes tribal tax exemption

Lawmakers in the state Senate approved a measure last week that extends a state property tax exemption for Indian tribes and adds economic development as a qualifying factor. AWB and the Association of Washington Cities testified with concerns over EHB 1287, saying its impact was unclear because it is not known how much tribal property will be subject to the exemption. The bill was backed by the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe.

OTHER NEWS
State’s jobless rate drops to 6.4 percent, but rural counties still struggling
Washington state now has more jobs than before the start of the Great Recession six years ago, according to the latest report from the Employment Security Department. The state’s unemployment rate is currently 6.4 percent, down from a recession high of 10.2 percent at the start of 2010, the Associated Press notes. While the Seattle area’s job market is thriving, rural and eastern Washington continue to lag behind, with unemployment rates as high as 11.6 percent. The private sector added 58,700 jobs last year, while government added 2,700 jobs. The national jobless rate is 6.6 percent.

Joyce McDonald to challenge Denny Heck
Joyce McDonald, a former five-term state representative and current Pierce County Councilwoman, announced Friday that she will run for Congress this fall, The Olympian reported (tiered subscription). McDonald, a Republican from Puyallup, will run for the 10th Congressional District seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-Olympia.

Former Democratic state representative Mark Miloscia to run for Senate as Republican

Saying the Republican Party is now the big tent that welcomes diverse candidates, former Democratic state Rep. Mark Miloscia has announced a run for Senate as a Republican. Miloscia will challenge Sen. Tracey Eide, D-Federal Way, in the 30th District – a swing district currently represented by one Republican and one Democrat in the House, The Seattle Times reports (tiered paywall). Miloscia served 12 years in the House as a Democrat until leaving in 2012 to run unsuccessfully for state auditor. He switched parties, he said in a news release, because “Today, it’s the Republican Party that offers a big tent, welcoming different views. ... Washington state Republicans don’t insist that everyone believe and vote exactly the same way to run for office.”

Friday Phone Briefings conclude for the year

That’s a wrap! AWB’s Friday Phone Briefings concluded for the year with last week’s discussion on the budget, transportation and McCleary. Thanks to everyone who joined us on the calls this year. If you have ideas or suggestions for how to improve the phone briefings, please send them Jocelyn McCabe, AWB’s vice president of communications.

AWB EVENTS & RESOURCES
AWB now accepting nominations for new board members

Is there a business leader that you’d like to nominate for AWB’s board of directors? If so, please send your nominee’s name and contact information to AWB’s Bonnie Millikan at 360.943.1600360.943.1600360.943.1600360.943.1600 or email no later than March 31. The new board members will be selected at AWB’s Spring Board Meeting on May 14.

‘Economic Disruption in Healthcare’ seminar in Seattle zeroes in on trends

Registration is now open, and early bird pricing available until the end of the week, for “Economic Disruption in Healthcare II,” the second annual symposium produced by the UW Foster School of Business and Premera Blue Cross. Last year’s inaugural symposium brought 350 business leaders to Seattle. This year’s event will highlight disruptive trends in health care, including winners and losers, along with implications for health and costs. Learn more here.

AWB seeks “voices of business” for media interviews
Television stations, newspapers, and radio broadcasters regularly contact AWB asking for help locating employers who can talk about the real-world impacts of government decisions, from the $15 minimum wage and paid vacation leave to the workers’ comp system. If you’d be willing to “go on the record” about your experiences, we’d like to add you to our media contacts list. Please send your name, phone number, type of business and areas of experience/policy interest to AWB Vice President of Communications Jocelyn McCabe or call us at 800.521.9325800.521.9325800.521.9325800.521.9325.

Sign up now for Spring Meeting and a chance to hear from honoree Gary Locke

In Washington, we know Gary Locke as our former governor, but he’s better known today as America’s first Chinese-American ambassador to serve in China. While there, he earned the respect and affection of the Chinese people. He recently ended his tenure as ambassador, where he earned praise fromSecretary of State John Kerry who called Locke “a champion of human dignity and a relentless advocate for America's values.” AWB will honor his service to our state and nation by presenting him with the C. David Gordon Award at our Spring Meeting in Spokane. The event will be held May 13-14 at the Davenport Hotel. Learn more and register here.

From earthquakes to volcanic eruptions: how to prepare your business for the worst

If you want your business to survive and thrive even after a disaster, the time to prepare is now. AWB and disaster planning expert Joe Teeples will give you the ideas and tolls you need to organize your emergency management system, continuity of operations plan and a recovery template for surviving – then getting back to business when the worst is over. “Preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse... And other disasters” will be held March 26 in Tacoma from 8 to 4 p.m. Details and registration are available online.

Licensing, Buying and Selling Technology Webinar

Who owns a mobile app that a business paid a developer to create? Is Bitcoin tangible or intangible property? How could the state treat the alternative crypto currency for tax purposes? Technology is changing fast and businesses need to keep up. Join us at 10 a.m. April 22 for a webinar examining issues that businesses may face with technology transactions. Garry Fujita and Rick Leitner, both partners at Eisenhower Carlson, PLLC, in Tacoma, will start with a general overview of technology transactions and then more particularly address issues related to license and ownership, the cloud, mobile apps and the recent emergence of Bitcoin. Details and registration are available online.

THEY SAID IT

“Raising prices would have to be our first response. Sadly, some of our benefits would have to be on the table, including 100 percent employer-paid health insurance for those working more than 24 hours a week.” ~ Jasmine Donovan, granddaughter of the founder of Seattle-based Dick’s Drive-In restaurants, regarding the city’s proposed $15 minimum wage.

FROM THE PRESIDENT: Trust: Make it, don’t break it

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