November 7, 2016
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Decision day 2016 - ballots due Tuesday for important local, state and national races

After record Washington voter registration, Tuesday's deadline to return or postmark ballots is quickly approaching. Hundreds of people flooded local offices last Monday, which was the last day to register to vote in the 2016 election. Both King and Snohomish counties opened offices on Saturday to accommodate the last-minute rush, KOMO reports. The Secretary of State's office has information on dropbox locations and how to access replacement ballots if needed.

Business taxes and competitiveness issues are a factor in the gubernatorial race. The Puget Sound Business Journal asked Democratic incumbent Jay Inslee and Republican challenger Bill Bryant what they would do to keep a promising biotech company, Juno Therapeutics, from leaving Seattle because of Washington's Business and Occupation tax structure, and the state's inability to train enough workers to support growing companies.

Former Gov. Dan Evans says that after 32 years of one-party control of the governor's office, it's time for a change. The work to comply with the Supreme Court's McCleary ruling will require fresh ideas and active involvement, Evans said, and Bryant is the best candidate for the job.

Candidates have been barnstorming the state during the final days of the election season. Bryant campaigned in Vancouver with Rep. Lynda Wilson, a Republican running for the 17th District state Senate in a district that tipped Republican in that race four years ago by just 76 votes. Bryant called Wilson's campaign a “critical race,” and noted that the 17th is one of the swing districts that tends to indicate the mood of the state.

Another tight race is for the 41st District Senate seat. Sen. Steve Litzow is the incumbent in a "very swing, very purple" district that KING 5 reports could determine whether the Republican-led Majority Coalition Caucus retains leadership of the Senate, or whether it flips to Democratic control. The Seattle Times praised Litzow as an effective leader with much-needed experience for education funding solutions, saying "voters should treasure the rare moderate politician" like Sen. Litzow.

The Seattle Times takes a look at these and other high-profile races for control of the Senate.

KING 5 looks at Initiative 1433, and finds that even minimum wage workers are concerned about the impacts of the measure. If approved, I-1433 would increase the minium wage to $11 in 2017 and increase it each year to reach $13.50 by 2020. It would also require paid sick and safe leave.

AWB has a quick video voter guide on its endorsements in major statewide and judicial races and positions on three initiatives. Voters in King County can look up races by their address for more candidate information on the Muncipal League's Ready Set Vote website.

A full list of AWB's election endorsements is online.

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Focus on Sustainability

Boeing, Alaska Air lauded for leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions

By Andrew McIntosh, The Puget Sound Business Journal.

Two of Puget Sound's biggest aerospace companies are working hard to cut emissions as part of the regional efforts to combat climate change, a new report says.

Boeing Co. and Alaska Air Group each adopted a series of small but important measures that can make a difference, according to a new Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce report.

Entitled "Bright Green in an Emerald City," the report lists dozens of examples of emission-reduction efforts at companies, a university and some non-profits.

Boeing and Alaska Airlines are praised for developing shorter, more precise routes for incoming aircraft traffic flying into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport... Every Sea-Tac flight using such approaches conserves an average of 87 gallons of fuel, and saves passengers nine minutes of flying, the Seattle Chamber's report said.

Greenhouse gas emissions reduced with each of these flights equals to what a small car would use, driving all the way from Seattle to Minneapolis, the report added.

Read the full story in The Puget Sound Business Journal
The Risks of I-732

Collaborate, don't regulate carbon

By AWB President Kris Johnson

Washington state employers are proven leaders and innovators in energy conservation, carbon reduction and environmental efforts.

The record proves this is already taking place without a carbon tax, but rather through innovation and collaboration.

Washington's population has increased 43 percent since 1990 and the economy has grown 260 percent, yet carbon emissions are down 18 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

From small operations to large steel mills, companies have built sustainability and environmental stewardship into their operations, not as an afterthought.

Despite this solid environmental record, voters will be faced with a choice to raise the cost of energy -- the engine that keeps Washingtonians moving and warm -- through Initiative 732. It would put in place a carbon tax under the guise of doing what employers and residents are already doing -- lowering carbon emissions. But, it is not without risk to the economy, K-12 education and our low- and fixed-income neighbors...

Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
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