March 27, 2017
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Legislation of Note Federal Issues Other News AWB Institute Key Hearings/Meetings AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Senate passes education-focused budget; House Democrats release their budget with $3 billion tax increase

The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus released and passed its budget proposal last week. The two-year, $43 billion budget would add $3.7 billion to K-12 education, and keep the state's Rainy-Day Fund intact. The House released its budget today, which included nearly $3 billion in tax hikes over the next two years. Both budget proposals preserve the state's four-year balanced budget requirement.

Read more »

Workforce Summit explores how to engage the generations and support collaboration

The first-ever AWB Workforce Summit brought together more than 110 people last week to hear from experts and included fruitful discussions on how to bridge gaps and achieve collaboration in an ever-changing, multi-generational workplace.

Read more »

Infrastructure report brings attention to much-needed investments

The new joint report by AWB and the state's cities, counties and ports is drawing attention to the $190 billion in infrastructure improvements that Washington needs over the next 20 years. The "Building the Economy" report released last week has attracted media attention across the state.

Read more »

Washington Research Council report: Using Tax Policy to Promote Economic Vitality

A new report from the Washington Research Council takes a deep look at Washington's business taxes and the incentives known as tax preferences. While sometimes dismissed as "tax breaks," the report shows how these bipartisan tax incentives are often used to add fairness to the tax system while helping keep Washington competitive for jobs and economic activity that could easily move elsewhere.

Read more »

Mobile Redbook now available online -- get the data you need on any device

The 2017 Competitiveness Mobile Redbook is now available on all digital devices. The Redbook features 59 data-driven tables on Washington's economic health and compares Washington to other states to illustrate economic performance.

Read more »

Legislation of Note

SB 5239: Hirst fix would ensure that water is available to support development

AWB will testify Tuesday morning when Senate Bill 5239 comes up for a public hearing in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, would fix the rural development problems created by the state Supreme Court's Hirst ruling last autumn.

Read more »

SB 5835 & HB 1796: Health outcomes and workplace accommodations for pregnant women

Discussions continue on pregnancy accommodation bills. AWB supports the bipartisan Senate Bill 5835, and based on floor amendments, AWB no longer opposes House Bill 1796.

Read more »

HB 1894: Reinstating high-tech research and development tax preferences

A bipartisan bill would bring back the state's high-tech research and development tax credits that were created in 1994 and expired in 2015. The bill would help support the kind of innovative Alzheimer's and Parkinson's research being conducted by M3 Biotechnology (and highlighted in AWB's Grow Here campaign).

Read more »

Federal Issues

'We came up short': U.S. House can't muster votes for ACA repeal

The Affordable Care Act "is the law of the land... for the foreseeable future," said Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on Friday after congressional Republicans fell short of the votes needed to repeal and replace the ACA. The decision means business as usual in Washington and the nation under the ACA, or Obamacare.

Read more »

U.S. House passes legislation to strengthen Association Health Plans

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Small Business Health Fairness Act last week. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA, led a successful amendment to the bill, ensuring that existing Association Health Plans were not disrupted. That includes AWB's HealthChoice program, which allows 2,200 Washington employers to provide insurance for nearly 34,000 individuals.

Read more »

Other News

Secretary of State Kim Wyman to receive cancer treatment

Secretary of State Kim Wyman announced today that she will undergo treatment for colon cancer. Assistant Secretary of State Mark Neary will assume her duties over the next few weeks.

Read more »

Washington Supreme Court finds no fault with Vancouver Energy lease

The state Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Port of Vancouver and its lease to the proposed Vancouver Energy project. This allows state regulators to finish their review of the project, rather than pulling the plug before the project can receive a fair evaluation, according to Keep Washington Competitive.

Read more »

Starbucks holds 25th annual shareholders meeting

New leadership emerged as Seattle-based Starbucks held its annual shareholder meeting last week. President and COO Kevin Johnson took over as CEO of the company. Founder Howard Schultz moved into the role of executive chairman. Also at the meeting, the company reiterated its plan to open 12,000 new stores over the next five years, including 100 more Military Family Stores to support veterans and their families.

Read more »

Sound Transit: Fixing car-tab formula would cost $6 billion in tax revenue

After a public outcry over high car value estimates -- and correspondingly high car tab fees -- Sound Transit said that switching to a more accurate system would cost the transit agency $6 billion in tax revenue.

Read more »

SEL expands its footprint in Spokane Valley

In the last four years, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL) has expanded its Spokane team from six employees to 60. SEL has purchased a 28,000-square-foot building in Spokane Valley with room for 115 workers, allowing the company to continue its expansion in the greater Spokane area.

Read more »

Dick's Drive-In to open new south Puget Sound location

Dick's Drive-In announced this morning that the votes have been counted, and the burger chain's newest restaurant will be built to serve its fans in the south Puget Sound region.

Read more »

AWB Institute

Career and Technical Education: Not your grandpa's shop class

A weekend op-ed in The Olympian highlights the Washington Workforce Board's efforts to expand career and technical education in the classroom.

Read more »

AWB Institute offers internship bulletin board website to connect employers with interns

The Association of Washington Business Institute is helping connect employers with community and technical college students across Washington state to set up internships. Employers will receive support throughout the internship process. The new internship bulletin board website is now live.

Read more »

Leadership Washington accepting applications for Class of 2018

Applications are now being accepted for the AWB Institute's Leadership Washington class of 2018. This seven-session program helps the next generation of Washington leaders learn about the business and political landscape of Washington.

Read more »

Key Hearings/Meetings

Tax & Fiscal Policy Council to meet every Monday

The AWB Tax & Fiscal Policy Council will be meeting each Monday at 9:30 at the AWB office. Some of the meetings may be held by phone. Contact Eric Lohnes for information on the content of the meeting, or Connie Carlson for call-in details.

AWB Water Quality, MTCA, PBT and PSP committees to meet every other Monday

The AWB Water Quality, MTCA, PBT and PSP committees will meet at AWB every other Monday at 11 a.m. Contact Mary Catherine McAleer for information on the content of the meeting, or Connie Carlson for call-in details.

AWB Education & Training Committee to hold weekly update calls each Friday morning

Amy Anderson, AWB government affairs director for education, will hold update phone calls with the Education & Training Committee each Friday at 8 a.m. Contact Anderson at 360.943.1600 to learn more and Connie Carlson for call-in information.

AWB Events & Resources

Employment Law Webinar -- Performance Evaluations, Disciplinary Action & Termination

Britenae Pierce of Ryan Swanson will discuss Performance Evaluations, Disciplinary Action & Termination during the next AWB employment law webinar. Register now to reserve a spot for this timely and informative April 5 webinar. Read more »

Employment Law Webinar -- Accident Investigation Plans

Did you know that all employers in Washington are required to create a written Accident Prevention Plan or Program? Learn about what your company needs to do to be in compliance with state law during a June 14 webinar with Bruce Cross of Perkins Coie. Read more »

Registration open for Spring Meeting in Spokane May 8-9

Alaska Airlines' Joseph Sprague will give the lunchtime keynote address at the 2017 AWB Spring Meeting in Spokane. Sprague, senior vice president for communications and external affairs for Alaska Air Group, will be among many speakers at this spring tradition. Register now for Spring Meeting May 8-9 at The Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane.

Read more »

Reserve your space at Policy Summit, Sept. 19-21 at Suncadia Resort

Registration is now open for the 2017 AWB Policy Summit at Suncadia Resort. Reserve your space now at AWB's largest public policy gathering for employers.

Read more »

Submit your company for AWB's Manufacturing Excellence and Evening of Excellence Awards

Now is the time to submit your business for consideration in AWB's two awards programs: Manufacturing Excellence and Evening of Excellence. Finalists and winners will be honored at events this fall, including a formal downtown Seattle soiree at Benaroya Hall that will honor Evening of Excellence Award finalists and winners. Nominate your company today! The deadline for award applications is June 30.

Read more »

Tweet of the Week


They Said It

Balancing the Budget

"You talk to the average citizen, the average taxpayer, they look at this significant growth in revenue over the last two years and projected into the next four years and they expect us to live within our means, and that's exactly what we do." ~ Sen. John Braun, R-Centralia, unveiling the Senate's budget proposal. The budget uses $3 billion in revenue increases under current law to fund K-12 education and a social safety net, without new taxes.

If you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter, please contact

A Responsible Budget

GOP's state budget plan has right focus on basic education

By the Editorial Board of The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

The Republican-led state Senate's two-year state budget proposal appears to take a reasoned approach to fully funding basic public education without unleashing a torrent of new taxes.

The $43 billion 2017-19 budget plan adds $1.8 billion toward K-12 education, which would come from projected growth in current tax revenue and spending cuts in other state programs.

The Senate budget plan calls for funding basic education through replacing current local levy taxes with statewide property taxes.
Read the full editorial in The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Legislature Must Act

Fixing the Hirst problem

By Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen

You may have heard talk of a growing "rural-urban divide" in Washington. If you're looking for an example of that divide, just ask people you know: Should "exempt" residential wells be metered?

Even if you are hooked up to a city water system, you have an interest in protecting residential exempt wells. Our part of the state relies on them. And restricting their availability will impact real estate markets and property values all around our region. We need a "Hirst fix" soon. This year.
Read the full op-ed in The Daily News
Upcoming Events