April 18, 2016
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Inslee throws budget out of balance with line-item veto

It’s hard to forget the boom-and-bust spending that led to big budget increases followed by billions in deficits that Washington saw a decade ago. It’s why a bipartisan Legislature and Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the 2012 bill requiring that budgets balance over four years. The law took Washington off the roller coaster of spending splurges followed by painful cuts and big tax increases.

Today Gov. Jay Inslee used his line-item veto on several provisions within the state budget, upsetting that four-year fiscal balance. His vetoes will put state finances more than $200 million out of whack.

There are many good reasons for a four-year balanced budget, AWB President Kris Johnson wrote in a News Tribune op-ed last month:

“Those who would like to undo the law say it doesn’t allow for one-time fund transfers and other gimmicks that allow for more spending now. But that’s exactly why it’s necessary. It’s the same reason responsible citizens don’t spend their whole paycheck on payday when they know bills are coming due. Exercising financial restraint may not be convenient, but it’s the right thing to do, especially when we can see signs that the economy is beginning to slow.”

Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, had the same message in his latest “57 Seconds” video, released last week, which took a quick look at the importance of Washignton’s four-year balanced budget law.

In a statement today, Fain said: “The four-year balanced budget requirement is a critical reform that must be protected and today's action by Governor Inslee is troubling to many who believe that balanced budgets are essential for a prosperous Washington.”

AWB will keep you informed about the impacts on the important issue of Washington’s four-year balanced budget law. Contact Eric Lohnes, government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy, to learn more.

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Support Redevelopment to Create Jobs

Remove the barriers to prosperity

By Lee Newgent, Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO; Larry Brown, Aerospace Machinists Union District Lodge 751; and Vince O'Halloran, Sailors' Union of the Pacific

Communities across our state are being rocked by the loss of jobs from closures of viable industry and manufacturing -- such as the Alcoa plant in Wenatchee. At the same time, we are facing extreme resistance to use or repurpose sites that have been closed, symptomatic of a growing and devastating "deindustrialization" sentiment. Examples include opposition to the proposal to use a former Alcoa plant for the Millennium Bulk Terminals project in Longview, and the proposal in Tacoma -- now on hold -- to convert a former aluminum smelter into a methanol refinery.

It's no secret that our regulatory process is broken. It has become so protracted and unpredictable that we are sending potential investors the unmistakable message that Washington is an inhospitable place to launch new industrial, energy and transportation facilities.

Each of these issues can and must be addressed immediately by state leaders.

Click here to read the full op-ed in The Wenatchee World
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Even uncommon voices can find common ground on energy efficiency

By Ross Eisenberg of the National Association of Manufacturers and Kit Kennedy of the Natural Resources Defense Council

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It's simple, really: by building better buildings, making more innovative products, and using creative manufacturing processes, we can accomplish multiple goals -- reducing wasted resources, improving our electricity system, preventing more toxic pollution, reducing climate change, and fueling economic growth. Many new, innovative energy efficiency products and technologies are made right here by American manufacturers, creating jobs and economic growth across the nation.

Candidates aren't banging their fists on the lectern about energy efficiency. There are no big-budget commercials or fiery debates on TV. But that's not because the issue isn't important. Buildings consume approximately 40 percent of all the energy used in the United States. Improving energy efficiency of our buildings, and of the appliances and equipment inside them, is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve the environment, save money, combat global climate change, and stoke our economy...

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