November 27, 2017
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Top Stories

It's time to shine! Evening of Excellence awards event takes place Wednesday in Seattle

There are still some tickets available for this Wednesday's gala awards event for some of the best and brightest employers in Washington. Join us at Benaroya Hall for the second annual Evening of Excellence, with a paparazzi moment on the red carpet, elegant reception and Oscars-style awards reveal. Register here and we'll see you in Seattle!

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Judge rejects Seattle income tax ordinance, but legal fight continues as city vows to appeal

Seattle's income tax on high earners lost the first round of the legal fight over its constitutionality. A King County Superior Court judge ruled last week that the measure violates the Constitution, state law and legal precedent. The city is appealing the ruling.

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Seattle City Council pledges to keep employee head tax alive, with vote by next March

Despite narrowly failing a split vote this month, the Seattle City Council continues to push for a per-employee tax on large employers. Council members pledge another vote on the tax by March.

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Good news in latest economic revenue forecast

Washington tax collections are likely to come in hundreds of millions of dollars above expectations, the state's revenue forecast council said last week. That's good news for budget-writers.

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Join the festivities this Friday during lighting of the Holiday Kids' Tree

Secretary of State Kim Wyman will join AWB in hosting the 29th annual lighting of the tree in the state Capitol on Friday. AWB leads the Holiday Kids' Tree Project each year with the goal to help as many deserving families as possible during the Christmas season. Since 1989, the Holiday Kids' Tree Project has raised over $390,000 to purchase gifts at Christmas for families in need.

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Federal Issues

U.S. Senate on 'unusually fast' march to vote on tax measure

The U.S. Senate released the 515-page text of its tax reform legislation last Monday, with plans to vote on the bill within 10 days. That would be a quick move toward passage, following equally speedy votes in the House, which passed its bill within 14 days of releasing the full bill for review.

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Other News

'You'll still see the same Avista' after shareholders approve sale to Hydro One

Avista shareholders overwhelmingly approved the company's merger with Hydro One of Canada last week. Avista CEO Scott Morris called the deal a "merger of equals" that will see Avista continue to be headquartered in Spokane, with increased community giving and involvement.

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Port of Kalama files appeal in support of methanol facility

The Port of Kalama has filed a lawsuit asking the Cowlitz County Superior Court to reverse a state decision that would revoke key shorelines permits for a $1.8 billion methanol plant. The permits, issued in February, were later taken back after a hearings board decided that the plant must address the global environmental impacts of its products shipped to and used in other countries.

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Five Republicans vie for seat of retiring Sen. Kirk Pearson

The Herald looks at the candidates who are looking to fill the empty state Senate seat left when longtime legislator Kirk Pearson took a job at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Walmart pre-orders 15 all-electric Tesla semi-trucks

Walmart will test the new Tesla electric semi tractor-trailer in America and Canada. The company pre-ordered 15 of the all-electric semi-trucks after they were unveiled by Tesla founder Elon Musk.

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AWB Events & Resources

Registration open for 2018 Legislative Day and Hill Climb

Reserve your space now at one of AWB's most popular events, the Legislative Day and Hill Climb. Hear directly from top lawmakers in both parties and business and agency leaders during a day of policy talks and networking, then join our well-organized Hill Climb and meet with your legislators in person. The event will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Olympia.

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Tweet of the Week

Honoring Excellence

They Said It

Save, Don't Spend

"Let's not allow this increase to burn a hole in budget writers' pockets." ~ Rep. Terry Nealey, R-Dayton, urging restraint -- and an increase to the state's reserves -- after the latest state revenue forecast showed a $319 million increase over the coming two-year budget.

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Investments Denied

State regulatory agencies are killing our jobs

By John Stuhlmiller, Washington Farm Bureau, and Lee Newgent, Washington State Building & Construction Trades Council

The time has come to have "the talk" about Washington's economy and the role of government.

In a nutshell, it's not working.

For months now, regulatory agencies have been taking action that is basically killing jobs and private investment in our state. This has occurred in communities outside of Seattle and King County, where the economy has been slower to recover and tech jobs are few and far between...

In Longview, the Department of Ecology usurped five years of state regulatory process, denying Millennium Bulk Terminals a water quality permit for a proposed export terminal based on criteria wholly unrelated to water quality...

Another major regulatory hurdle interestingly also involving Ecology: the Hirst fix. This fight over water resources has held up the state's $4.2 billion capital budget for months now, putting construction for residential homes, K-12 schools and mental health facilities on hold -- along with the local jobs those projects create. This is to say nothing of the impact on rural landowners who find themselves with land, and wells, they cannot use.

Absent clarity from the state, this stalemate will likely drift on, leaving rural communities in the lurch...

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
Necessary to Compete Overseas

America needs a strong Ex-Im Bank

By Meghan Milloy, director of financial services policy at American Action Forum

A fully functional Ex-Im Bank is important to strengthen American competitiveness abroad. There are 27 countries that require support from an export credit agency before they will even consider a bid from an international company.

When Congress allowed Ex-Im's authority to expire in 2015, General Electric announced that it was forced to move 500 jobs to France as a direct result of lost export credit agency support, as 80 percent of its total sales for aviation-related turbines came from those 27 countries over the past three years. Many of the commercial aircraft deals awarded to Airbus, in contrast, benefitted from France's export credit agency...

If U.S. companies do not have a fully functional Ex-Im Bank, barring them from competing for many projects in these major markets, we can expect to see more jobs move overseas.

For an administration with an "America first" agenda, it is imperative that the remaining board nominees be confirmed, and that Ex-Im has a president who will support sufficient levels of export credit to keep jobs and companies in the United States.

Read the full op-ed in The Hill
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