October 23, 2017
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Federal Issues

Senate passes key vote to proceed with tax reform; rejects sales tax deductibility measure from Sen. Cantwell

Tax reform took a major step forward last week when the U.S. Senate passed its budget, 51-49. The House is expected to pass the same budget. After a series of budget reconciliation agreements, the final deal moves Congress forward on a goal for the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee to report out tax reform language by November 13.

Negotiations last week included several tax-related messaging amendments, including those aimed at inversions and offshore tax avoidance, carried interest, striking the reconciliation instructions (Wyden), keeping progressivity in the code, tax cuts for the wealthy, and more.

A Democratic amendment offered by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., to protect the state and local tax deduction was defeated by a vote of 47-52,

Senate approval, and assumed House approval, of this budget with its tax reform reconciliation instructions paves the way for tax reform that is more partisan than bipartisan. The Democratic amendments to the budget last week signal Democratic concerns and the expectation is that there will be similar attempted amendments raised as the process continues.

Contact Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for federal issues, to learn more.

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Rail Keeps Our Economy Rolling

We must keep trains rolling safely and fairly

By Rep. Dick Muri, R-Steilacoom

As a state representative, I've spent quite a bit of time studying and learning about rail safety. It's a subject I take seriously. I live in the Town of Steilacoom, where trains are a way of life.

In fact, the Puget Sound coastline in my district is defined by the rail line. And, it's not just about moving freight. Amtrak will soon transport passengers at a very high speed through Lakewood and DuPont. Rail safety is a big deal for our communities.

In 2014, more than 119 million tons of freight traveled by rail over more than 3,000 miles of rail tracks across the state. This activity supports Washington businesses across a variety of important industries, from lumber to agriculture to oil.

Freight rail is also directly responsible for nearly 4,000 jobs and supports tens of thousands more throughout the state...

Read the full column in The News Tribune
Regulatory Overreach

Ecology's decision harming state's future

By Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen

The Washington Department of Ecology seems determined to oppose any industrial development in Cowlitz County. And the rest of the 19th Legislative District.

About three weeks ago, Ecology issued an opinion denying a water-quality permit sought by Millennium Bulk Terminals (MBT) to complete its coal export facility. Ecology bureaucrats claimed that the project would cause "significant and unavoidable harm" to nine environmental areas: global air quality, vehicle traffic, vessel traffic, rail capacity, rail safety, noise pollution, social and community resources, cultural resources and tribal access to traditional fishing locations near Bonneville Dam.

A few of these factors -- particularly "global air quality" -- are not described in any relevant federal or state law. Rationalizing the unprecedented opinion, Ecology Director Maia Bellon relied on some broad rhetorical strokes...

The Department of Ecology's focus on "global impacts" is a luxury paid for by limiting the prospects for the working people of Cowlitz County. Director Bellon and the other Department of Ecology bureaucrats need to return their focus from global ambitions to local concerns.

Read the full column in The Daily News
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