July 17, 2017
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Top Stories

As third special session clock ticks, lawmakers still stalled on Hirst fix, capital budget

As the third special session of the Legislature winds down this week, families and farmers are still waiting for the House to pass a permanent fix to the state Supreme Court's Hirst water rights ruling. Without a vote on Senate Bill 5239 -- the Hirst fix bill that has passed four times in the Senate and is awaiting a vote in the House -- the state's capital budget will remain in limbo in the Senate.

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AWB urges lawmakers to override governor's veto of manufacturing tax relief

Included in the carefully-crafted budget deal passed June 30 was a measure that would give tax relief to small- and medium-sized manufacturers across the state, the majority of which are located in rural communities. That measure met the governor's veto pen shortly afterward. In a letter sent last week, AWB urged lawmakers to vote to override the veto and jump-start the economy in the many counties still hampered by high levels of unemployment.

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Dept. of Ecology to make Millennium Bulk Terminals permit decision by September

The Washington Department of Ecology said it will decide on a water permit for the Millennium Bulk Terminals project in Longview by September. The company has revised its permit request to reduce its environmental footprint. So far, the company has been waiting for more than five years for permits.

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Seattle income tax ordinance challenged, mayoral candidate proposes new taxes on Seattle employers

The ink was barely dry on Seattle's ordinance to create a city-wide income tax when a group came forward to challenge its constitutionality. That same day, it was reported that one of the 21 mayoral candidates unveiled key campaign promises: A $100 per employee tax on employers with 50 or more employees and an increase in business and occupation taxes paid by corporations based in Seattle.

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AWB honored with Job Placement & Training Award from Puget Sound Business Journal

AWB President Kris Johnson accepted a workplace training award from the Puget Sound Business Journal last week. The Job Placement & Training Award honors AWB and its members for helping ensure that the next generation of workers are ready to fill the highly skilled jobs of the 21st century.

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AWB to hold legislative candidate interviews Wednesday in Bellevue

AWB will host interviews at 10 a.m. this Wednesday at the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce for candidates running in the 45th and 48th legislative districts who have returned their AWB candidate questionnaire. The interviews allow AWB and its members to learn more about each candidate's positions on policies that impact employers of all sizes and all sectors. To learn more about the interviews or participate in them, contact AWB Government Affairs Director Eric Lohnes at 360.943.1600.

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Federal Issues

Concerns raised about nominee to serve as Ex-Im Bank president

The National Association of Manufacturers last week raised serious questions about the nomination of Scott Garrett to serve as the next president of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, citing his lack of support for the bank over the years. In addition to filling the top position at the bank, Congress is under a tight deadline to restore the bank's quorum after the departure of one more board member on Wednesday.

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August recess delayed due to backlog of work, says U.S. Senate majority leader

Citing unfinished business on health care reform, the National Defense Reauthorization Act and moving forward on the backlog of nominations to fill critical positions in the administration, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that Congress' August recess will be delayed until the third week of the month.

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Other News

Spokane voters may get say on oil-trains measure in November

An initiative to Spokane residents that would fine railroad operators for transporting coal and oil through the city may be on the November ballot. The Spokane City Council proposed a similar ordinance last year but withdrew it due to legal uncertainty.

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Washington Forest Protection Association launches 'More Than a Forest' campaign

A new website, More Than a Forest, shows how Washington's working forests benefit both the economy and the environment. The site, produced by the Washington Forest Protection Association, talks about how the state's working forests protect 60,000 miles of streams -- and produce the renewable timber to build homes and power rural economies.

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New UW-China tech innovation college to graduate 3,000 students within the decade

The Global Innovation Exchange will welcome the first class to its Bellevue-based graduate technology school this September. Students are coming from across the globe. The joint endeavor by the University of Washington and China's Tsingua University aims to graduate 3,000 students within 10 years.

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Microsoft to deliver rural broadband over unused TV channels

Two million rural residents could soon have broadband access. Microsoft is planning to offer high-speed internet in rural areas using "white spaces" in unused TV channels. A pilot project will bring the service to rural communities in 12 states.

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Secretary of State's office accepting nominations for companies that give back to their communities

Nominations for the 2017 Corporations for Communities award will be accepted starting next week. This annual program highlights for-profit companies doing "amazing acts and charitable things in the communities they serve."

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U.S. Senators: Hanford Reach National Monument no longer under review by administration

Washington's U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell announced last week that after speaking with the Secretary of the Interior, the Hanford Reach National Monument in the Tri-Cities is "off the table" for federal review, and will remain protected.

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AWB Events & Resources

Hear from members of Congress, international consuls at expanded Policy Summit

New speakers are joining the line-up for the 2017 AWB Policy Summit. For more than a quarter century, the Policy Summit has been the premier gathering to discuss statewide policy and look ahead to upcoming issues. This year's expanded agenda also includes a focus on federal affairs, including remarks from members of Washington's congressional delegation. Rooms at the resort sell out quickly, so reserve your space today to be part of AWB's largest public policy gathering for employers.

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Save the date: Rural Jobs Summit to be held Oct. 23-24

AWB's expanded Rural Jobs Summit is taking shape. Plan now to join us Oct. 23-24 to continue the discussion we started this spring about how to bring jobs to rural Washington and economic prosperity to the entire state. More details to come.

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AWB offers long-term care solutions for you and your employees

As part of its range of services to help employers provide great benefits to their employees, AWB now offers a long-term care product. In partnership with Long Term Care Associates, this plan will help employers and employees protect their assets and experience peace of mind.

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AWB Institute

Celebrate Washington's vibrant manufacturing sector during Manufacturing Week this October

Manufacturing is the backbone of Washington's economy. To help highlight manufacturing in Washington, AWB will cross the state this October in a week-long tour, including AWB Institute's annual Manufacturing Summit and presentation of the Manufacturing Excellence awards on Oct. 5 and Manufacturing Day on Oct. 6. A new video looks at all that's ahead during this busy, insight-filled week.

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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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Tweet of the Week

Rural Jobs Now

They Said It

Tax Fairness

"We, however, take exception to the veto as the tax cut seems fair." ~ Walla Walla Union Bulletin editorial board on the governor's veto of the business and occupation tax relief for manufacturers that was part of the bipartisan budget deal. The editorial board goes on to explain their support for the tax relief to help level the field for small manufacturers and that it could lead to job creation.

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Support Manufacturing

Governor, Lower Taxes are Needed to Boost Manufacturing Jobs

By Lew Moore, president and CEO, Washington Research Council

Gov. Jay Inslee's recent veto of a business-and-occupation tax cut for manufacturing companies has brought attention to an important -- and sometimes overlooked  -- sector of our economy. We can say without hesitation that good tax policy should provide sufficient revenue while fostering economic success and prosperity for its citizens. This balancing act between funding government and creating a climate for jobs growth is a tricky one, with a plethora of interest groups weighing in on one side or the other.

It's important for us to get this balance right. Washington is in a 50-state competition for jobs. Tax rates are one economic factor governments can affect relatively quickly. The level of taxation is a real consideration in business decisions to locate in a state, or to move on. A lowered B&O tax rate for manufacturing would ease the burden on companies that sell out of state (which is most of them).

Read the full column in The Seattle Times
Fix Hirst

Property Owners Need Access to Water Again

By Yakima Herald-Republic Editorial Board

Last month, at the 11th hour, the Washington Legislature approved a budget and went home, right? Well, half right. Lawmakers, meeting in their third special session of the year, indeed approved a $43.7 billion operating budget for the 2017-19 biennium, just hours before further delay would have wrought a partial government shutdown.

But the special session isn't done yet, and neither is the Legislature's business...

Government construction is stalled because some private construction is stopped by a court ruling -- and the Legislature can't agree on a fix. The hang-up centers on a twist in a familiar issue in irrigation-dependent Central Washington: water rights.

Read the full editorial in the Yakima Herald-Republic
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