August 5, 2019
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Just Announced: U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary to deliver keynote address at AWB event



AWB confirmed today that U.S. Under Secretary of Energy Mark Menezes will deliver the keynote address at the 2019 Federal Affairs Summit on Aug. 20 in the Tri-Cities.

Having Menezes delivering the keynote address is fitting, as AWB’s Federal Affairs Summit will be held this year at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which is one of the 17 National Laboratories the Department of Energy oversees. This year’s agenda includes an array of experts leading discussions on the future of innovation, next generation energy, and the impact of our state’s waterways on commerce and international trade.

In his role, Menezes serves as the Department’s principal advisor on energy policy and on a wide array of existing and emerging energy technologies. The under secretary is responsible for driving transformative energy policy, and technology solutions through coordinated planning, management and performance of the department’s energy programs.

Registration for the Federal Affairs Summit is only open for one more week. Click here to register before Aug. 12.

Don’t miss your chance to connect face-to-face with members of Washington’s congressional delegation, policy experts, thought leaders and fellow employers, all under one roof.

Register today or contact Jacob Sodeman at JacobS@awb.org for more information.



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Speak Up on Overtime Issue
Solving Housing Issues


Housing: A huge issue for Washington's long-term economic health

By AWB President Kris Johnson

We hear about skyrocketing home prices in places like Seattle, San Francisco, and New York and shake our heads. Modest three-bedroom ramblers going for $1 million or more. Hopeful home-buyers engaging in bidding wars, sometimes buying houses sight-unseen, or skipping inspections to ensure someone else doesn't close the deal first.

But the lack of housing of all types is really a nationwide crisis, according to U.S. Rep. Denny Heck. Heck, D-Wash., was one of the speakers at a statewide Housing Forum put on last month by a coalition of 10 organizations including the Association of Washington Business (AWB).

The country is at least 5 million homes short of what's needed, Heck said, and the case could be made the shortfall is more like 7 million. "Supply is not keeping up with demand," he said. It only gets worse as Washington is expected to add 1.5 million people by 2040...

For employers, the availability of high-quality, affordable housing is a critical factor in the ability to attract and retain skilled workers. For employees, finding housing within the same communities as their jobs mean shorter commutes, more time spent with families and better work-life balance. And for communities, all these elements contribute to the quality of place we all desire.

Read the full guest column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
Costing Jobs


One-size-fits-all minimum wage hike hurts rural Central Washington

By U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA

Last week, the House of Representatives voted on the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2025, despite warnings from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that this would result in the loss of nearly 4 million American jobs.

In Washington state, we have already seen how mandating a higher minimum wage is negatively affecting our economy. With a statewide minimum wage of $12 per hour, Washington mandates one of the highest rates in the country, and it will increase by another $1.50 in January 2020. In an attempt to address wage disparity in large cities like Seattle, which already institutes a $15 minimum wage, this sharp, mandatory increase has led to businesses filing bankruptcy, and it is already having a harmful effect on small businesses and nonprofits in Central Washington.

The Boys & Girls Club of the Columbia Basin in Moses Lake, for example, reached out to my office to share their concerns with the state's accelerated wage increases and about the federal legislation.

The Boys & Girls Club is already struggling, but further increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour for the entry-level employees they hire will force them to make a very difficult decision: raise participation fees for low-income families or eliminate the programs they offer.

Read the full column in The Columbia Basin Herald