April 3, 2017
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Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Legislation of Note Other News AWB Institute Key Hearings/Meetings AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

As Gonzaga heads to NCAA championship game, AWB's Grow Here commercials are part of the action

The fans who watched Gonzaga's nail-biting Final Four victory this weekend also saw another big win: an AWB Grow Here commercial that aired during the televised game. Grow Here commercials will also air during tonight's NCAA championship game between Gonzaga (a longtime AWB member) and North Carolina. Go Zags!

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Senate passes education-focused budget; House Democrats pass their budget that requires passage of $3 billion tax package

The Senate and House budget proposals are now officially at the negotiation stage. The Senate Majority Coaltion Caucus passed its $43 billion two-year state operating budget March 24 and the House Democratic Caucus passed its $44.9 billion spending plan March 31. While the policies within the budgets are close, the House plan relies on passage of a $3 billion tax package to balance.

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Senate unanimously passes $3.8 billion capital budget

The Senate passed a two-year construction budget that puts more money toward updating schools, mental health facilities and water services. The unanimous, bipartisan vote includes $1.1 billion for K-12 school buildings and $713 million for higher education construction.

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AWB's 2016 Annual Report is back and bolder than ever

Building on AWB's newest Mission and Vision statements and five strategies -- Achieve, Connect, Employ, Compete and Place -- the 2016 Annual Report is now available online and in a new digital format. Hard copies of the report will be mailed with the spring Washington Business magazine.

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Washington granted REAL ID extension

Washington has again been granted a temporary reprieve from federal licensing requirements, based on the expectation that the state will pass a REAL ID bill that has already cleared the Senate. Without the extension, Washington driver's licenses would soon not be valid ID for domestic air flights or to enter military installations.

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Legislation of Note

SB 5438: Promoting completion of environmental impact statements within two years

Senate Bill 5438 is moving forward in the House. The bill would improve Washington's drawn-out permitting process by requiring agencies to complete environmental impact statements on projects within two years, or faster if possible.

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HB 2182: Hazardous substance tax

AWB will testify against House Bill 2182 during a public hearing Tuesday. This regressive tax increase would raise the price of gasoline and would hurt farmers by boosting the costs of agricultural products.

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SB 5239: Hirst fix supports rural development

AWB testified Tuesday morning in support of Senate Bill 5239 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.

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Paid Family Leave

AWB continues to work alongside employer members of all sizes and Democratic and Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate to find a balanced and workable approach to address the long-discussed issue of a statewide Paid Family Leave policy. The goal is to find agreement on a clear and consistent statewide policy that meets the needs of employers and their employees. Contact AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles at 360.943.1600 to learn more.



Other News

Judge rules more water must be spilled over Columbia/Snake River dams, lowering hydroelectric output

A Portland federal judge has ordered more water spilled over eight Columbia and Snake river dams in the next year, with the goal of improving the survival of young salmon. The results could be higher electricity costs, since spilled water isn't used to generate electricity.

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Wheat suffering damage from snow mold

South central and eastern wheat growers are experiencing snow mold, a winter fungus more common in the northcentral areas of Washington. Damages could be felt in Washington's economy this year.

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Head of Public Disclosure Commission steps down

Evelyn Fielding Lopez, the executive director of the Public Disclosure Commission, said she is stepping down in May. A new executive director has not been named.

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Sales tax increasing in many areas

Washington sales tax rates increased in many areas on Saturday. The tax increase includes the new rates authorized by Washington voters last year for Sound Transit 3.

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Thousands of students learn about STEM during Job Shadow Day and Engineers Week at Boeing

Nearly 8,000 students connected with Boeing employees during the company's Job Shadow Day and Engineers Week. Boeing employees volunteered their time to educate students about what it takes to be successful in a global company.

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Agriculture labor law training offered in Yakima and Wenatchee in late April

Training on state and federal labor laws will be offered in Spanish and English at labor-law forums in Yakima on April 26 and Wenatchee on April 27.

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AWB Institute

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.

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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.

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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

This Wednesday: 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.

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Spring Meeting group rate for rooms ends this Friday

The discounted group room rate for AWB's Spring Meeting ends this Friday. Reserve your space today for the May 8-9 event at the Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane.

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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 »

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.

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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

From One AWB Member to Another



They Said It

Negotiation Time

"I am pleased we have two legislative budgets on the table and I look forward to working with the Senate and House over the coming weeks so we can reach agreement on a budget that fully and amply funds education and works for all Washingtonians." ~ Gov. Jay Inslee.




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Tell Legislators the Employer Side of Tax Proposals


Small-business owners must speak up about Olympia tax talk

By AWB President Kris Johnson

Raising taxes on "the wealthy" might seem like a great idea until you realize that many of the proposals coming out of the state Capitol would apply to small-business owners who don't meet most folks' definition of wealthy.

For example, a proposed 66 percent increase in the business and occupation (B&O) tax on service-sector businesses would apply to hair dressers, child care providers and car repair shops. In many rural areas, these are among the last remaining businesses.

Likewise, a proposed 7.9 percent capital gains income tax wouldn't just apply to wealthy investors, but also to small-business owners who, after years of hard work building equity in their business, sell their business to support their retirement.

And, that's just the start...
Read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
Border Communities Rely on Out-of-state Sales


Eliminating Oregon sales-tax exemption would be big mistake

By the Editorial Board of The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

A large percentage of purchases in this Valley are made by people who live in Milton-Freewater or elsewhere in Umatilla County. If Oregon residents were forced to pay the sales tax of 8.9 percent they might opt to shop elsewhere, either to save money or out of principle.

That would hurt local merchants and this community. It would also be a big impact on the Vancouver area, which is just across the Columbia River from Portland.

This proposed tax change is a loser.

As the House begins debating its budget proposal with $3 billion in new taxes, it should immediately scuttle the plan to end the Oregon sales-tax exemption.

It's bad for business -- at least in this part of Washington state.
Read the full editorial in The Walla Walla Union-Bulleting
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