April 1, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
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Rep. Fitzgibbon shares his passion to address climate change at AWB's final Lobby Lunch

State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, shared his motivation to address climate change head-on at AWB’s Lobby Lunch last Thursday.

He told business leaders his top legislative priority is to reduce Washington’s greenhouse gas emissions. Sometimes that includes finding common ground with the employer community, and sometimes not.

Fitzgibbon, who chairs the House Environment and Energy Committee, has worked to pass a low carbon fuel standards bill that would impact transportation fuels this session. Advocates say it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and spur demand for more biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel, as well as electric cars.

Opponents are concerned about the potentially steep rise in fuel prices, which would impact businesses and consumers across the state. AWB is opposed to the bill. In California, which has adopted a similar measure, the cost of gasoline has increased by 16 cents per gallon and the cost of diesel by 16.6 cents per gallon and is predicted to rise by 46 cents per gallon by 2030 and 50 cents per gallon for diesel fuel, the California Energy Commission and the California Legislative Analyst’s Office report.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday, April 4. Read more at Olympia Business Watch.

For more information, contact Peter Godlewski, AWB government affairs director for environmental and energy issues.

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Spring Meeting
A Better Way Forward

Four reforms to rein in state spending, avoid higher taxes

By Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn

Last week, House Democrats unveiled their $53 billion state operating budget proposal for the upcoming 2019-21 biennium. Unsurprisingly, their budget dramatically increases state spending -- funded by new taxes on businesses, home sales and capital income -- proving yet again that it's easy to spend money that isn't yours.

All told, their proposal grows spending by more than $8.5 billion beyond current levels. For context, when I was first elected in 2014, the state budget spent $33.7 billion. Between economic growth and new taxes, state revenue will have increased by about 57 percent in five years.

Has your salary grown by 57 percent since 2014? Probably not, as average annual wage growth is hovering below 4 percent.

Structural issues are largely responsible for this alarming rate of budget growth. Each year, lawmakers enact all sorts of new programs and services, predicated on promises of long-term savings and improved social and health outcomes. Once enacted, these programs are almost always automatically funded in subsequent years, with virtually no oversight or review by the Legislature.

The result: spending persistently outpaces revenue, enabling our most essential services to be held hostage in exchange for new taxes.

There is a better way...

Read the full guest editorial in The Seattle Times
Facts From the Tri-Cities

Salmon and dams can coexist

By Kennewick May Don Britain; Pasco Mayor Matt Wakins; Richland Mayor Robert Thompson; and West Richland Mayor Brent Gerry

For more than 20 years. there has been an ongoing debate about the impact of the four Snake River dams on the Pacific Northwest's salmon population. Since the 1970s, billions of dollars have been spent to upgrade the dams and to improve salmon habitat.

The results? According to the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the average number of returning salmon and steelhead are more than double what they were when counts first began when the Bonneville Dam started operations in 1938. Despite this clear evidence that dams and fish can coexist, the debate continues.

More recently, the struggles of the southern resident orca population have further stoked the debate. No one disagrees that the health and future of the orca population must be preserved. However, the numbers clearly show that removing the dams will not save the orcas...

Ironically, at the same time there is a push for the Washington state Legislature to fund this study on the impacts of removing the dams, there are also several bills to push for carbon reduction. If the goal in Washington is to reduce carbon, the existing clean hydropower resources play an essential role in keeping our air clean. These dams generate some of the cheapest, most reliable, carbon-free electricity in the Pacific Northwest...

Read the full guest column in The Seattle Times
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