June 29, 2020
AWB
   
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories

Gov. Inslee joins bipartisan call for federal investment in broadband



Gov. Jay Inslee joined a bipartisan coalition of governors last week to send a letter to the president and congressional leadership requesting federal investments to ensure internet access for every American. Broadband is an essential element to COVID-19 recovery, especially in rural communities across our state and nation.

The letter reads, in part:

"Some 18 million Americans lack access to broadband internet connectivity, 14 million of whom reside in rural America. In today’s economy these communities, businesses and families without adequate access are left behind, and the consequences are staggering from an economic, health, education, and social standpoint.”

The letter says that broadband is not a luxury, but rather critical infrastructure that’s vitally important to our economic future and national security.

"This investment will unleash economic potential, promote stable job growth that’s resilient in times like these, and ensure all businesses and families can participate in the digital economy. This investment will unlock the potential of a new generation of technologies for healthcare advancement, ensure that school children across America have access to the best educational tools, foster new ways of doing business, stimulate the advancement of agricultural and food production technologies and give states and communities the opportunities to capitalize on smart infrastructure deployment."

The letter was signed by Inslee and the governors of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Ohio, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Oregon and Kansas.

AWB has been a strong advocate for broadband investment, particularly in rural areas. Contact AWB Government Affairs Director Mike Ennis to learn more.



« Back to Main
Now More Than Ever, Health Insurance Matters
Invest in Early Childhood Education


Fixing child-care shortage and Washington's economic recovery go hand in hand

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

As Washington gets back to business, many job-seeking parents of young children face a frustrating double bind. Even if they do find employment that will help them provide for their family, the short supply of quality, affordable child care makes it impossible for them to take the job.

Nearly half -- 47% -- of unemployed parents cited lack of child care as a barrier to re-employment in a May survey, according to a state Child Care Collaborative Task Force child-care industry assessment. Since March, more than 1,100 licensed child-care providers have at least temporarily closed, exacerbating a shortage flagged by state lawmakers long before COVID-19...

Even before this spring's upheaval, nearly half of Washington parents reported difficulty finding and keeping affordable child care. Twenty-seven percent reported leaving a job, school or training because of a lack of consistent, affordable care, according to a Department of Commerce report.

This is not just a problem for working families; it is a drain on the state's economy. Commerce estimates that employee turnover and missed work due to child-care issues create an annual $2.08 billion drag on the state economy. That number triples when figuring in opportunity costs.

Addressing Washington's child-care shortage will not be easy, especially during the tough economic times ahead. But quality, affordable child care is a linchpin to the state's economic recovery. More must be done to ensure this essential sector does not fail.

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
Foreign Workers Support Our Economy


Big Tech isn't the only loser in Trump's visa freeze

By Tae Kim

On Monday, Trump signed an executive order that freezes access to a number of work visas through year-end, including the H-1B visa for highly-skilled foreigners, which is primarily given to workers in the technology industry. The issuance of new green cards will also stay halted until the end of the year. The administration said the order would free up jobs for unemployed Americans, adding it would block about 500,000 people from entering the country this year.

The move sparked an avalanche of criticism from technology companies. They said the measures will hurt their ability to recruit talent and have deeper negative ramifications for the economy.

An Amazon.com Inc. spokesperson called the order "shortsighted," adding it prevents "high skilled professionals from entering the country and contributing to America's economic recovery, [putting] American's global competitiveness at risk."

A Facebook Inc. representative said Trump is using the pandemic as justification for "limiting" immigration, which will make "our country's recovery even more difficult."

And Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith said on social media, "Now is not the time to cut our nation off from the world's talent or create uncertainty and anxiety."

Read the full column in The Seattle Times