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Monday, October 21

California billionaire pouring in money against Rep. Jan. Angel in key Senate race

California billionaire pouring in money against Rep. Jan. Angel in key Senate race

Tom Steyer, a retired California hedge fund manager and climate change activist, has funneled $6.3 million into Washington politics this year, including $400,000 to promote Democrat Nathan Schlicher for state Senate. Schlicher said he’s never met Steyer, but Republicans worry that the billionaire is trying to buy the campaign. Rep. Jan Angel’s race against Schlicher is already the most expensive legislative election in state history. Her business insights are needed in the Legislature. Help support her campaign with a donation at

Still time to register for Friday’s Manufacturing Summit

It’s time to finalize your plans to attend this Friday’s Manufacturing Summit in SeaTac. Nick Pinchuk, the chairman and CEO of Snap-on Incorporated, will present the keynote address. Pinchuk is an enthusiastic speaker about the importance of manufacturing to the economy. The summit, sponsored by McGladrey, includes our ninth-annual Manufacturing Excellence Awards, sponsored by UPS. Sessions include:

  • Developing Local Relationships That Build Your Workforce,” Alisha Benson, director of education and workforce, Greater Spokane Incorporated; Annette Herup, human resources manager, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC; Jim Lucey, controller, Linear Technology Corporation; Jeremy Rife, vice president, Genie; moderated by Kris Johnson, AWB vice president, operations;
  • Challenges to Growth & Expansion: A National Perspective,” Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers;
  • Breaking Down Barriers for Competitiveness,” Scarlett Foster-Moss, director of government relations, western U.S., Coca-Cola Refreshments; Pat Ortiz, director of engineering, environmental, safety at KapStone Kraft Paper Corp.; Steve Swanson, vice president, operations, SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers LLC; moderator Jay Timmons, president and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers;
  • Manufacturing: The American Way Forward,” Nick Pinchuk, chairman and CEO, Snap-on Incorporated;
  • McGladrey 2013 Monitor Results, presented by Wendy Sancewich, CPA, CFE, national manufacturing team director, McGladrey;
  • Manufacturing Excellence Awards sponsored by UPS.

Lodging is available at Cedarbrook Lodge. Contact Karlee Keith for more information or register today!

Lasting impact of brinksmanship foretold as last-minute deal barely avoids default

An 11th hour deal in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday to end a partial government shutdown and postpone a looming U.S. debt default was quickly endorsed by a divided U.S. House and signed by President Obama. Washington was the largest state to have every one of its members of Congress vote for the deal. The 16-day shutdown could cost the economy up to $24 billion. Washington businesses, from outer space firms to restaurants near national parks, said the shutdown cost real money.

Carbon tax on the table as climate workgroup examines changes

Gov. Jay Inslee wants the Legislature to consider a cap-and-trade program on industrial emissions, a carbon tax and an absolute cap on carbon-fuel emissions to cut greenhouse gas emissions to match goals set in 2008, according to reports from Crosscut and The News Tribune (tiered paywall). Skeptical Republicans on the Climate Legislative Working Group want to be sure the economic costs are laid out before decisions are made. Contact AWB Government Affairs Director Brandon Houskeeper to learn more on the state legislation. Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court will review whether the federal Environmental Protection Agency actually has the authority it claims to have to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Voters growing increasingly skeptical about GMO labeling initiative

The momentum has shifted on Initiative 522, The Seattle Times reports. A new Elway poll shows a 41-point negative swing since September in voter sentiment for the measure, which would require labeling of some foods made with genetically modified organisms. The initiative, which WSU Professor Emeritus R. James Cook says would be misleading for consumers and disruptive to the state’s agricultural economy, holds a slight lead that is within the poll’s margin of error.

Property owners, businesses unite against I-517 and its special protections for signature collectors

Retailers are fighting to retain their private property rights against aggressive for-profit signature gatherers, who would become a new protected class under Initiative 517, NPR reports. Business owners couldn’t stop petition peddlers from yelling at or threatening customers under I-517. The measure is the brainchild of initiative guru Tim Eyman, who was in the news this week as the state Public Disclosure Commission announced that it is still investigating whether Eyman and other I-517 sponsors illegally financed the campaign’s signature drive with donations to last year’s I-1185, The News-Tribune reports (tiered paywall). Learn more and help defeat this initiative at

State Supreme Court approves secrecy for governor’s office

In an 8-1 vote, the Washington Supreme Court has ruled that the governor’s office has sweeping “executive privilege” rights to withhold documents from public disclosure. The decision “channels former President Nixon,” the Washington Policy Center argues. The case arises from public disclosure denials by former Gov. Chris Gregoire. Fortunately, Gov. Jay Inslee is holding true to a campaign pledge not to invoke executive privilege. He has also released the documents Gregoire withheld, the News-Tribune notes (tiered paywall).

Watch for unintended consequences if $15 minimum wage measure becomes law

SeaTac’s Proposition 1 will cost the taxpayers of that city as much as $3.4 million to enforce over the first five years, a new study has found. That’s money that could be spent on parks and police, opponents argue. The Seattle Times offered a more cautionary tales (tiered paywall) about the proposed $15 minimum wage initiative.. A Long Beach, Calif., worker who was a campaign poster child for that city’s “living wage” measure got a raise of $3.25 per hour after the measure passed – and promptly had his hours cut from 40 to 30 per week. Other employers allowed their workplaces to unionize in order to avoid the measure’s financial cost (it can be waived in union contracts) or mothballed hotel rooms to bring them below the 100-bed threshold. These stories follow basic laws of economics, the Washington Policy Center notes: “A super-high minimum wage is never free; someone has to pay for it.”

Ten-city tour hears a common theme: We want a transportation plan

A months-long, statewide listening tour ended last week with a strong call for a statewide transportation package, The Seattle Times reports (tiered paywall). Gov. Jay Inslee has repeated a goal, which he emphasized to business leaders last month at the AWB Policy Summit, to have a special session and a transportation package by the Apple Cup at the end of November. To help remove one stumbling block, Inslee has formally said he won’t try to include the Columbia River Cross in the statewide transportation package.

Passages: Tom Foley, former U.S. speaker of the House

Tom Foley, the Spokane Democrat who was once third in line to the presidency, died last week in Washington, D.C., after a long illness. He was 84. Foley represented the 5th congressional district for 15 terms, including five years as Speaker of the House. He was the first speaker from west of Texas and, after losing in the 1994 “Republican Revolution,” also the first sitting speaker to be unseated since the Civil War. He is being remembered for his civility, opposition to term limits and work to open foreign markets to American products, including Washington-grown wheat and cherries.

Millennium export terminal hearing in Tacoma dominated by opponents

One hundred supporters of a new export terminal project in Longview attended the last of five public hearings on the Millennium Bulk Terminals project Thursday in Tacoma. “These are not the sexy, so-called ‘green’ jobs that everybody thinks they want,” said Mark Martinez of the Pierce County Building and Construction Trades Council. “They are old-fashioned, middle-class jobs that people can use to support families.” A Tacoma politician who opposes the project, one of hundreds of project foes, said coal trains headed for Millennium would hurt the city, but The News-Tribune noted one problem with that argument: the loaded coal trains wouldn’t come anywhere near Tacoma.

House Republicans name Rep. Chandler as top GOP member of Appropriations Committee

GOP members in the state House of Representatives have picked Rep. Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, to lead them in the House Appropriations Committee as the chief Republican budget negotiator. Granger said he will work for a budget that is fiscally responsible and sustainable with priorities for education, public safety and care for the most vulnerable. Chandler replaces Rep. Gary Alexander, who is leaving the Legislature to run for Thurston County Auditor.

Tax Foundation finds Washington’s business climate the nation’s 6th best overall but 48th for sales tax

Washington’s status as an income tax-free state has once again led to high ranking in national state rankings. The Tax Foundation lists Washington sixth in its 2014 State Business Tax Climate Index. Our sales tax continues to weigh heavily, however; in that category Washington ranks 48th. For a complete look at how Washington ranks in dozens of key areas, pick up a copy of the new 2014 Competitiveness Redbook. Contact J-Anne Nepomuceno at 360.943.1600 for copies. Books are $8 for members and $10 for non-members.

Plan to attend Washington Business Week breakfast fundraiser this Wednesday at CenturyLink Field

There is a new way to support Washington Business Week: attending its first-ever fundraiser breakfast this Wednesday at 7 a.m. in the Root Sports Lounge at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. KOMO-TV news anchor and business reporter Brad Goode will emcee the event. Students and alumni will share stories of how Business Week changed their lives. Register online now for “Takin’ Care of Business: Breakfast Benefit for Washington Business Week.”

AWB members get a discount on employment law seminar

What do guns, therapy horses and tattoos have in common? They’re part of the discussion at the half-day Breakfast Briefing Oct. 30 in Seattle hosted by Littler Mendelson. AWB members will receive a 25 percent discount in this talk on practical workplace accommodations/accessibility and independent contractors. Contact Cheri Devlin at for information, or learn more here.

Report shows health care costs to rise by 7 percent; prepare at AWB 2013 Health Care Forum

Health insurance costs in the Seattle area will spike again next year by a predicted 7 percent to $13,263 per worker. Prepare now for that and other changes at the AWB Health Care Forum Nov. 6 at the Renaissance Seattle Hotel. “Health Care Changes: Employer Options, Incentives & Perspectives” will feature John Goodman, president & CEO, National Center for Policy Analysis. Goodman, widely known as the father of health savings accounts, will have copies available of his new book, “Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis.” Dr. Goodman cuts through the politics and proposes dozens of bold reforms to free patients and caregivers to be empowered to chart their own lives with low-cost, high-quality healthcare.

Additional sessions to include:
  • A Conversation with Richard Onizuka, Ph.D., CEO, Washington Health Benefit Exchange Board
  • Impact of the Affordable Care Act: Fact or Fiction,” Joel White, president, Council for Affordable Health Care Coverage
  • Employer Incentives: Can my company really reduce health care costs? Panelists: Machelle Johnson, director of human resources, Pearson Packaging Systems; Laura Pierron, senior benefits consultant, Premera Blue Cross.
Register today!

‘Standing Shoulder to Shoulder’ seminar details the business case for hiring veterans

Patriotism aside, there is a strong business case for hiring veterans. Learn more at “Standing Should to Shoulder With Our Military Veterans” on Nov. 13 in Tacoma. Topics include “The Legal Ins and Outs of Hiring a Veteran,” “I Want to Hire a Veteran – How Do I Find the Right Match for my Business Needs?” and “Hiring Veterans Makes Good Business Sense – a Company’s Perspective.” The seminar at TrueBlue, Inc., 1015 A St, Tacoma, runs from 8 a.m. to noon. Contact Anne Haller for information or learn more here.


The turnout is going to be very sad.” ~ Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson (video), who expects a 46 percent ballot return in the general election, despite the heated 26th District Senate race between Sen. Nathan Schlicher and Rep. Jan Angel.

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