April 24, 2017
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Federal Issues Legislation of Note Other News Key Hearings/Meetings AWB Institute AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Regular session ends without a budget deal, special session started today

The Washington Legislature finished its 105-day session on Sunday without completing its main job -- agreeing on a two-year budget. A frustrated Gov. Jay Inslee called lawmakers back to an overtime session today. The House, which has called for $3 billion in new taxes, has yet to vote on them. The Senate looked to jump-start that process Friday by bringing two of the cornerstones of the House Democratic tax package -- the capital gains tax and 20 percent B&O tax increase for some businesses -- for a vote themselves.

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Spring Meeting is right around the corner

It's time to reserve a seat for the AWB Spring Meeting May 8-9 at The Historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane. Hear from communications and public opinion expert Frank Luntz, Alaska Airlines' Joe Sprague, and many other speakers.

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AWB video shows how capital gains tax would hit small-business owners

Proponents of a capital gains tax say that it would only be a tax on the rich, but in fact, it would take a big bite out of the retirement plans for many small-business owners after a lifetime of work building up their businesses. One Olympia-area repair auto shop owner talked to AWB for a video highlighting this problem, underscoring the main problem with a capital gains tax: it would be a tax on small businesses, not just a tax on the wealthy.

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REAL ID fix goes to Gov. Inslee for signature

After a decade of debate and difficulty, Washington will finally come into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act. The Legislature approved a bill that's now on its way to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

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Walmart launches 'Project Gigaton' to remove 1 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions from operations, supply chain

In what is being called "corporate America's moonshot," Walmart announced last week a mammoth goal of eliminating a gigaton -- 1 billion tons -- of carbon emissions from its supply chain by 2030. That's the equivalent of the entire annual emissions of Germany, the world's fourth-largest economy. Read more »

Federal Issues

Congress faces immediate deadline on funding resolution

The current "continuing resolution" that funds the federal government will expire this Friday. That means Congress only has a few days to approve a budget for the 2017 fiscal year -- or approve a new short-term "continuing resolution" to authorize spending to keep the federal government's lights on and doors open.

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Legislation of Note

House and Senate approve 2017-19 transportation budget

Last week, House and Senate leaders reached agreement and passed the 2017-19 transportation budget. That was good news to end the 105-day legislative session. Even better news was that AWB was successful with its biggest transportation priority of the session -- protecting the investments within the 2015 Connecting Washington package from major changes.

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Work continues to craft paid family leave and pay equity legislation

AWB continues to work with lawmakers in both chambers and both sides of the aisle to represent the interests of employers on two significant employment law issues: pay equity and paid family leave.

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HB 1130: Customized job training

AWB joined Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland, and other supporters of House Bill 1130 when Gov. Jay Inslee signed the legislation into law last week. This bill ensures the continuation of the state's successful customized job training program.

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Other News

State's unemployment rate hits 10-year low, but rates vary dramatically across Washington

Washington's recent unemployment rate ties a decade low, according to a report from the state Employment Security Department. While that's good news, the report also shows that economic prosperity is not being experienced evenly throughout the state.

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Federal administration approves disaster declaration for Washington storms

Washington's stormy winter -- which officially is the wettest on record -- left a lot of damage. Last week, the presidential administration approved Gov. Jay Inslee's request for a federal disaster declaration related to January and February storms that brought flooding, landslides and mudslides to 13 counties.

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New report finds BP's Cherry Point refinery is the largest private-sector, for-profit employer

AWB member BP's Cherry Point Refinery was ranked on Whatcom County's "2016 Top Employers" list. The Cherry Point Refinery, located in Blaine, has the most employees of any private-sector, for-profit business on the list.

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Oregon declines to look at new I-5 bridge over the Columbia River despite Washington's interest

For now, Oregon will not participate in any discussions with Washington over the reconstruction of the Interstate 5 bridge that spans the Columbia River. This comes after the Washington Senate passed Senate Bill 5806 on April 17 to create a legislative action committee between the two states.

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Gov. Inslee, Microsoft to team up for Summit on Career and Connected Learning

Microsoft and the office of Gov. Jay Inslee are working together on a May 31 Summit on Career and Connected Learning. Business owners are invited to the event -- held at Microsoft's Redmond campus and simulcast in 27 towns across the state -- which will help employers connect with the kind of young or skilled workers they're looking to hire right now.

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Construction Safety Day classes to be offered May 12 in Puyallup

Construction employers, supervisors and workers can get training on relevant safety topics May 12 at this year's Construction Safety Day at the Washington State Fair Showplex in Puyallup.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Land Use & Construction Committee to meet this Thursday morning

The AWB Land Use & Construction Committee will meet this Thursday, April 27, at 10 a.m. The group will discuss the Hydraulic Project Approval bill and combining the vesting reforms with the State Building Code Council reforms. Contact Mike Ennis for more on the content of the meeting, or Connie Carlson for call-in options.

AWB Institute

Leadership Washington applications being accepted for Class of 2018

The Leadership Washington Class of 2017 will graduate in just a few weeks. Applications are now being accepted for the 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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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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AWB Events & Resources

Employment Law Webinar -- Non-Competes, Confidentiality Agreements, Non-Solicitations & Intellectual Property Protection

Chrystina R. Solum of Ledger Square Law will discuss Non-Competes, Confidentiality Agreements, Non-Solicitations & Intellectual Property Protection during the next AWB employment law webinar. Register now to reserve a spot for this timely and informative May 3 webinar.
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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

The Importance of Infrastructure

They Said It

Tax Hit

"The cumulative impact of these tax proposals, combined with other rising costs such as the increasing minimum wage and workers' compensation insurance, makes it difficult for employers to compete in a regional and global economy." 

~ AWB President Kris Johnson, responding to the $3 billion in tax increases proposed by House Democrats. He cited the 7 percent capital gains tax, which would hit small business owners who rely on the sale of their businesses for retirement. He also noted business and occupation tax changes, which while providing some relief to some of the smallest businesses, would at the same time create a 20 percent B&O tax increase for thousands of Washington employers.

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Nothing 'Special' About It

Here we go! The usual 'special legislative session' on the horizon

By The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Editorial Board

This time around, a deadline with real consequences will be looming. The state's budget year starts on July 1 and funding must be approved in order for government to operate and for its employees to be paid.

If this drags on until the end of June, it could be a mess -- particularly if lawmakers do not use their time wisely. If senators and representatives continue to just hiss at each other for two months and then cobble together a make-do budget that doesn't satisfy the high court, it will be a failure.

Lawmakers need to get the people's work accomplished sooner rather than later. Getting a budget approved that fully funds basic education is essential.

Read the full op-ed in The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin
Focus on the Main Problems

Hirst, budget should be priorities

By The Daily Sun News Editorial Board

We think lawmakers should postpone further discussion and action on remaining secondary bills until after problems relating to the Hirst decision are resolved and a budget approved, in that order.

The Hirst decision is already causing undo economic hardship on rural communities, and rural schools by essentially banning drilling of new wells. That ban, in turn, is putting a dent in state tax revenues as property values fall and rural development slows.

Meanwhile, the Legislature remains under a court order to fully fund basic education statewide. But without resolving Hirst first, any education funding measure is just a Band-Aid...

Read the full op-ed in The Daily Sun News
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