July 13, 2015
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JBLM to lose 1,250 troops, far fewer than originally feared, as military downsizes

The Army will cut 1,250 active-duty positions at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) as part of nationwide force reductions of 40,000 soldiers. While JBLM will be one of only six bases to lose more than 1,000 soldiers, the reduction is still much less than had been expected. Officials had been preparing for reductions of as many as 11,000 active duty personnel.

"Given the potential scale of reductions ... today's news is as good as we could hope for," said Gov. Jay Inslee, saying resources will be made available to help service members impacted by the downsizing.

JBLM will also lose 61 jobs and a two-star general when the Western Regional Medical Command, currently based here, moves to Hawaii.

The announced cuts do not include civilian Department of Defense employees. Those reductions will be announced this fall.

After the cuts, JBLM will actually increase in its significance relative to the Army as a whole, according to The News Tribune. In 2017, the base will be home to 25,100 soldiers, or 5.6 percent of the active duty Army. That's a higher share than in 2001, when the base's 16,000 soldiers represented 3.4 percent of the Army.

The military and defense sector is an important part of the state's economy, contributing $13.1 billion dollars — or 3.2 percent of state GDP — in 2013. Look for more on how military bases strengthen the Washington economy in the upcoming summer edition of Washington Business magazine.

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Export-Import Bank helps employers compete globally

By U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) and Kris Johnson

With the creation of the U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank over 80 years ago, many Washington state businesses -- both large and small -- have remarkable success stories to tell about growing their businesses because of exports.

These stories can be found throughout the Washington state in a variety of industries. Take for example, Seattle's Lighthouse for the Blind, a manufacturer of machine parts and molding for aerospace companies. Because of its robust export business supported by the bank, it is able provide more than 400 good-paying jobs for Washingtonians in the deaf-blind community. ...

Congress must act to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank charter. The consequences of doing nothing would be devastating to employers and employees in Washington state and around the nation.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Hill

Our Voice: Lawmakers make right choice supporting gas tax

By the editorial board of the Tri-City Herald

Voting in favor of a significant tax hike is not easy for lawmakers from conservative legislative districts.

So the Mid-Columbia legislators who approved an 11.9-cent gas tax increase should be commended for having the courage to make the right decision. ...

Tax hikes are tough to take, but at least in this case the Tri-City area will get some benefit from the new revenue.

And that is thanks to several Mid-Columbia lawmakers who made the right, but tough, choice...

Click here to read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
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