June 10, 2019
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Congressman Denny Heck to speak at Housing Forum July 8

From Spokane to Seattle, Aberdeen to Wenatchee, housing availability and affordability is an issue. Recognizing the impact of this need on communities, employers and families, AWB has joined with nine other solutions-minded groups to host a statewide Housing Forum on July 8 at the Hilton Bellevue.

This will be a significant, wide-ranging discussion on the emerging issue of housing availability and affordability across Washington. The goal is to make connections and build better solutions for workforce housing in the communities where we live and work.

If the issue of housing impacts your business, through employee recruitment and retention or through direct revenue, we invite you to attend on July 8 in a discussion about how to foster action and strengthen the health of our communities and statewide economy.

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-WA, will give the opening address at the event.

Other speakers include: James Young of the University of Washington, speaking about two decades of rising housing costs in the state; and Joseph Tovar, principal of Tovar Planning and co-lead of the Road Map to Washington’s Future project.

Why attend:

  •  Learn about the outlook on current issues
  •  Hear insights on experiences and best practices
  •  Connect with decision-makers to foster positive action

Topics to be covered include land use, infrastructure, attracting development in both urban and rural communities, rental markets, cost drivers and much more.

The event is being co-hosted by 10 groups: AWB, the Association of Washington Cities, the Building Industry Association of Washington, Greater Spokane Inc., the Rental Housing Association of Washington, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber, the Washington Public Ports Association, Washington Realtors, the Washington Roundtable and the Washington State Association of Counties.

The public is invited. Click to learn more and register online.

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Housing Forum
Manufacturing Solutions

A way forward on immigration

By Edmund O. Schweitzer III and Jay Timmons

Manufacturers are in the business of building solutions. When we see a need to be filled or a problem to be solved, manufacturers go to work innovating and making the products that improve our daily lives. But we don't stop there. When we see our nation facing a challenge, we don't just call on our legislators to fix it; we also provide solutions.

That's exactly what manufacturers have done to help fix our nation's broken immigration system. Earlier this year, the National Association of Manufacturers released "A Way Forward," a plan for comprehensive immigration reform that bolsters border security while strengthening the economy and providing certainty for those immigrants who are anxious about their future...

Legislation soon up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and similar bills recently introduced in the U.S. Senate would provide a solution for these two populations, and manufacturers are calling on Congress to act swiftly. While this is not a comprehensive solution, these bills are a way to move our nation one step closer to a more functional immigration system, and for that reason, they should command strong, bipartisan support. It is simply the right thing to do...

Read the full op-ed in The Spokesman-Review
Unsustainable Budget Growth

State budget growth puts Washington in tight spot during next downturn

By AWB President Kris Johnson

State government will spend more than $52.8 billion over the next two years. This is an increase of about 18.3 percent over the previous two-year budget and one of the biggest increases in the last 25 years.

It's true there are many competing demands for resources, but lawmakers had $5.6 billion more to work with, before raising taxes. Rather than look for cost savings, they chose to raise more than $1 billion in new taxes.

It's a safe bet that most Washington families and small businesses did not increase their spending by 18.3 percent this year. This pace of expansion is unsustainable. When the tax collections drop, that usually means painful budget cuts and more tax increases.

Lawmakers made progress on important issues this year, but it came at a high cost. As they work through the interim and prepare for the next budget, our hope is that lawmakers will tap the brakes and slow the growth in state spending.

Washington has enjoyed years of strong economic growth, but we need to be prepared for the next downturn.

Read the full op-ed in The Wenatchee World
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