March 18, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories

At Lobby Lunch, Sen. Hobbs seeks middle ground on new transportation package

State Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens and chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, headlined AWB’s Lobby Lunch event Thursday in Olympia. He told business leaders he’s willing to work with them as his transportation package moves through the legislative process.

He said he has generally opposed previous proposals to put a fee on carbon emissions because the money they raise would not go to transportation needs.

Hobbs’ proposal does include a carbon fee as well as impact fees on developers and a 6-cent per gallon gas tax increase that would fund transportation and environmental projects throughout the state, The Seattle Times reports.

“I believe we need a more moderate, centrist approach,” Hobbs said.

Washington employers recognize the need for additional transportation spending, but oppose the carbon fee and impact fee proposals.

In 2017, AWB partnered with cities, counties and ports to produce a comprehensive report that outlines an estimated $190 billion in infrastructure needs throughout Washington. AWB and its partners are currently working to update the report.

This work is complemented by the National Association of Manufacturers’ recent “Building to Win” campaign that supports a new infrastructure bill at the federal level.

The funding from the Hobbs’ proposal, outlined in SB 5970, SB 5971 and SB 5972, would go to highway maintenance and preservation, fix road culverts critical to salmon survival and help pay for a new bridge on Interstate 5 between Washington and Oregon.

Hobbs, who worked with employers and others to pass the 2015 Connecting Washington transportation package, encouraged the business community to stay involved and continue to work with him throughout the legislative process.

“I’m still open, right? There’s still changes that I can make. And I’m willing to make those changes,” he added.

Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle and chair of the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee, will speak at this week’s Lobby Lunch.

Steve Lerch of the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council will speak on Thursday, March 27.

Lobby Lunch is open to current AWB members. The cost is $25. To register for an upcoming Lobby Lunch, contact Liv Johnson via email or at 360.943.1600. Registrations are due by 9 a.m. of the Wednesday before each Thursday event.

« Back to Main
HealthChoice Works
Competitiveness Matters

State won 'economic lottery;' it doesn't need new taxes

By Kris Johnson and Steve Mullin

Imagine winning the lottery tomorrow. You'd have $10 million to spend on whatever you wanted in an instant.

Of course, the prudent thing would be to get a financial adviser and plan for the future. Ensure you have a strong foundation and adequate savings, then decide what you can splurge on. This scenario is not unlike the position our state finds itself in after years of economic recovery and expansion.

Economic and tax revenue growth in Washington state has been extraordinary over the last decade.

So much so that state and local tax growth in Washington was the highest in the nation from 2015 to 2016. The state expects tax collections will top $50 billion for the first time during the next two-year budget cycle. That's $4 billion more than the last cycle and nearly $11 billion more than it had in 2015-17.

Washington has leveraged this growth to invest in important programs, dramatically increasing state funding for public education, for example.

But we need to recognize that this lottery-like period of growth is far from normal. And it has come at a time when Washington also steadily increased the cost of doing business here...

Read the guest commentary in The (Everett) Herald
Competitiveness Matters

Former Rep. Chandler: Inslee threat to prosperity

By Charles H. Featherstone in The Columbia Basin Herald

MOSES LAKE -- Gary Chandler has a message for Gov. Jay Inslee.

"Don't take away our opportunity to be competitive."

The drive for 100 percent clean energy would deprive the Pacific Northwest of its competitive edge on power prices, and the governor's proposed $4 billion in new taxes would hit the state's small business people particularly hard, Chandler said.

"The economy is good, but the economy is starting to slow," Chandler said. "Don't spend everything, don't tax everything."

Read the full story about Chandler's recent talk in The Columbia Basin Herald
Upcoming Events