July 31, 2017
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Top Stories

Lawmakers to Supreme Court: Promise kept on education funding and McCleary

After adding $13 billion to education funding, raising teacher pay and revising the property tax system, the Legislature told the state Supreme Court that it has met its obligation to fully fund K-12 public education. The justices are expected to make their reply this fall.

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News Tribune: 'Inslee wants to scrap key part of hard-fought, bipartisan school funding plan'

Gov. Jay Inslee told The News Tribune that he would like to eliminate a central funding source for the bipartisan McCleary-funding budget that he signed into law a month ago. The governor expressed hope that the key Senate race in the 45th legislative district would flip to his party, allowing Democrats to increase carbon, investment and other taxes.

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New mill in Dayton will turn waste wheat straw in pulp and paper

Construction is expected to start next month on the state's first new pulp mill in years. The $184 million Columbia Pulp facility will use new technology, derived from University of Washington research, to pull cellulose from chaff and waste left over from wheat and alfalfa harvest.

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Opponents file legal challenges to Seattle income tax

The first lawsuit over Seattle's new minimum wage has been filed. In separate but related news, Seattle venture capitalist Matt McIlwain is leading a group funding a different legal challenge to Seattle's new high-earner income tax. Former state Attorney General Rob McKenna is leading the group's legal team. Among their arguments: the tax is illegal, unnecessary, and will lead to an income tax for those of all income levels across the state.

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AWB launches fall webinar series on new workplace regulations and navigating the Legislature

Life comes at you fast sometimes, and AWB is here to help keep you up-to-date. Three newly announced webinars this fall will provide the latest on new workplace regulations on paid leave, specifically paid safe and sick leave passed in Initiative 1433, and the new paid family and medical leave law. And we're bringing back Cheri Randich of the Legislative Information Center to offer tips on tracking the legislative process.

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Federal Issues

'Skinny repeal' of ACA fails; what's ahead for health care reform is unclear

During a dramatic week of votes, the U.S. Senate narrowly voted down a so-called "skinny repeal" of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) insurance mandates. The vote, which saw three Republican senators opposing the repeal, leaves the ACA in place for now. What's ahead in repealing, replacing or reforming the ACA is unclear.

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U.S. House Appropriations Committee passes bill in support of Association Health Plans

There was positive movement in the nation's capital earlier this month for the thousands of small businesses in Washington state that rely on Association Health Plans (AHPs) to provide affordable, high-quality health insurance for their employees and families. The House Appropriations Committee passed legislation sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-WA, that supports AHPs.

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'Big Six' congressional leaders offer joint statement on tax reform

Top congressional and administration finance leaders issued a joint statement last week about their commitment to tax reform. The statement says this is a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix America's broken tax code."

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Other News

Walmart offers plan to renew American manufacturing, create 1.5 million U.S. jobs

Walmart released a 10-step plan last week that would address major barriers to U.S. manufacturing growth. The policy proposals could recapture $300 billion in consumer goods production, creating an estimated 1.5 million jobs for workers in the United States.

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Boeing announces $4 billion in pension investments this year

This year, Boeing will invest $4 billion into its employee pension plans -- $3.5 billion more than the company had planned at the beginning of the year. This "is a tangible example of Boeing employees directly reaping the benefits of our collective efforts to compete and win in a challenging marketplace," Bill McSherry of Boeing Commercial Airlines said in an email to employees.

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Boeing 777X program on track to deliver first new jets in 2020

The Boeing Co. is on track to successfully launch its new 777X wide body jet in 2020, CEO Dennis Muilenburg said last week. Until then, the company's available supply and production capacity for the older 777 model is already sold and spoken for.

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U.S. Rep. Herrera Beutler to host seventh-annual jobs fair

Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler will host her seventh annual Southwest Washington Jobs Fair on Aug. 21 in Vancouver. She will also offer a job-hunting workshop on Aug. 15 to help job-seekers prepare. All events are free.

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Telect to remain in Liberty Lake after purchase by Connecticut-based Amphenol

Liberty Lake-based telecommunications hardware company, Telect Inc., has been purchased by a giant in the industry, Amphenol Corp. Now known as Amphenol Telect, the company and its 230 employees will remain in Liberty Lake.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Tax & Fiscal Policy Council to meet Aug. 8 in Seattle

The AWB Tax & Fiscal Policy Council will discuss the 2017 legislative session, begin discussion about 2018 legislative objects, and more during an Aug. 8 meeting in Seattle. Contact Eric Lohnes, AWB government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy, to learn more.

AWB Events & Resources

Futurist Jacob Morgan to give lunchtime keynote at 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 and will feature keynotes by futurist and best-selling author Jacob Morgan and Windermere Chief Economist Matthew Gardner. Rooms at the resort sell out quickly, so reserve your space today.

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Webinar: Learn how to prepare for I-1433 paid sick and safe leave that goes into effect Jan. 1, 2018

Washington voters approved Initiative 1433, which raised the statewide minimum wage and created a new mandate on employers to provide Paid Safe and Sick Leave. The new leave policy goes into effectJan. 1, 2018, and will apply to every employer in the state with hourly employees. Find out what's required, and how to prepare, in a Sept. 6 webinar with Tim O'Connell of the law firm Stoel Rives.

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Webinar: Learn the latest on Washington's new Paid Family & Medical Leave law

Washington's new Paid Family and Medical Leave law was negotiated with employer concerns front and center, especially small businesses. Learn what's happening with this new law during an Oct. 19 webinar with AWB Government Affairs Director Bob Battles, who was a major employer advocate at the table during this legislative session.

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Rural Jobs Summit to be held at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake

Top legislative leaders from both parties will gather in Moses Lake Oct 23-24 for AWB's Rural Jobs Summit. Big Bend Community College will host the event, which will continue the discussion started this spring about how to bring jobs to rural Washington and economic prosperity to the entire state. Watch this new video for more.

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Learn how to navigate the Legislature online

Follow the latest legislative news right from your computer or phone with the tips, tricks and details that we'll teach you at the upcoming "Navigating leg.wa.gov & Bill Tracking" webinar. Cheri Randich of the Legislative Information Center will offer her insights on tracking the legislative process at this Nov. 8 AWB webinar.

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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. A video looks at all that's ahead during this busy, insight-filled week.

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Save the date for Manufacturing Summit Oct. 5

The AWB Institute's annual Manufacturing Summit will be held Oct. 5. Highlights will include a roundtable discussion on manufacturing issues with state and national leaders, as well as presentation of the Manufacturing Excellence awards.

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Manufacturing Day will open up shop floors to neighbors, lawmakers and students

Washington's manufacturers are often too busy designing and creating products to open their doors to the public, and that means that the innovative work they do is often not visible to the general public. To tell the great story of modern manufacturing, Manufacturing Day on Oct. 6 will help Washington's manufacturers swing their doors open to a curious and admiring public.

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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

The Value of Association Health Plans

They Said It

Not Moving

"Ain't no impasse like a #waleg impasse
'Cause a #waleg impasse don't stop."
~ The WALeg Balloonicorn, a satirical Twitter account that comments on legislative budgetary issues.

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Give Small Manufacturers a Fair Break

Rural Washington would benefit from manufacturing tax relief

By AWB President Kris Johnson

In our view, the governor's decision to veto part of a bill that was agreed upon in good faith by a bipartisan group of legislators, and passed with a bipartisan super-majority in both chambers, is a missed opportunity to help small- and medium-sized manufacturers in rural parts of the state that are still struggling.

Any small-town leader will tell you that the economic ripple effect of manufacturing jobs is worth the small investment in their health and growth. In fact, for every worker in manufacturing, there are another three employees hired elsewhere. And, there are a lot of counties in the state with chronic high unemployment that would welcome that kind of return on investment.

Washington's manufacturing sector has lost more than 50,000 jobs since 2000. Much of that has to do with Washington being a high-cost state for employers with businesses paying 58 percent of all state and local taxes. Reducing the B&O tax burden for manufacturers would have provided a modest and long-term stimulus to help job creators invest in their employees and communities...

Read the full column in The Vancouver Business Journal
Create, Save Rural Jobs

Inslee's tax-break veto is a missed opportunity

By The Spokane Journal of Business Editorial Board

Washington state missed a prime opportunity to reduce the tax burden on manufacturers of all sizes when Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed a measure that would have lowered the business-and-occupation tax rate for that sector.

State legislators from both sides of the aisle who championed tax relief for manufacturers should keep the provision on their radars and fight for it again when the opportunity arises. If doing so doesn't create jobs, it certainly could save jobs. ...

In a state that's limited by charter on the incentives it can provide businesses, a B&O tax rate reduction is one of the few tools economic development advocates can use as a financial enticement when pitching companies on moving to Washington state. Having a lower tax rate in the economic-development tool belt would be beneficial to business recruitment efforts on both sides of the Cascade Mountains.

Read the full editorial in The Spokane Journal of Business
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