January 29, 2018
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Federal Issues Legislation of Note Other News AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Major business tax changes and increases proposed; bipartisan manufacturing tax relief also on the table

The state House is considering a change to business and occupation (B&O) taxes that would increase the tax rate on many employers by 6 percent to pay for a tax credit for Washington's smallest businesses. The bill is up for a public hearing on Tuesday. Meanwhile, lawmakers from both parties have introduced bills to reinstate the B&O tax relief for manufacturers that Gov. Jay Inslee vetoed last summer.

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AWB ongoing video campaign highlights how manufacturing tax relief would support employers, employees

As part of last year's two-year budget, the Legislature overwhelmingly passed a business and occupation tax reduction aimed at supporting the state's small- and medium-sized manufacturing operations. However, the governor vetoed the tax relief before it could take effect. In two new videos, AWB members -- small, family-owned manufacturers -- explain what tax relief would mean to their business, employees and job creation.

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Gov. Inslee rejects permit for Vancouver Energy project

Gov. Jay Inslee has rejected permitting for the proposed Vancouver Energy terminal after four years of work and a record $10 million spent by the company for environmental reviews for the project. The terminal would have provided more than 1,000 jobs while bringing oil from the upper Midwest to domestic oil refineries in Washington, California and Alaska.

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Lobby Lunch series begins Thursday with update from governor's staff

Olympia's "power lunch" resumes this Thursday as the AWB Lobby Lunch series returns for 2018. Keith Phillips, the policy director for Gov. Jay Inslee, will meet with AWB members to give an update on the legislative session from the gubernatorial perspective. The series will continue with updates from Republican and Democratic legislative leaders.

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2018 Redbook now available in print and online

Rich with information and completely up-to-date, the 2018 Redbook is now available in print and in a mobile-friendly online version. Find out the ways that Washington is a competitive place to do business -- and areas where there is room to improve.

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AWB HealthChoice members can get access to medical care anytime, anywhere

AWB members enrolled in the HealthChoice Trust Premera plans have access to Teladoc, which offers 24/7 access to U.S. board-certified doctors via phone or video consults. Teladoc doctors can diagnose, treat, and send prescriptions to the pharmacy of your choice, all from the comfort of your own home.

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Federal Issues

FedEx, Starbucks among latest employers to pass tax break on to employees

Corporate icons FedEx and Starbucks are two of the latest companies to take the savings from the recent federal tax cuts and pass them on to their employees.

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USDA Secretary of Agriculture releases administration's priorities for 2018 Farm Bill

Farm production, exports and crop insurance are some of the top priorities of the newly-released legislative priorities from Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

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Trump says he would re-enter TPP trade deal if it's made 'substantially better'

Speaking to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last week, the president opened the door to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but it may be too late.

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Rep. Reichert 'optimistic' after weekend meeting on NAFTA renegotiations in Montreal

Work continues to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement. Over the weekend, U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-WA, led a congressional delegation to Montreal to meet with negotiators from all three countries in the trade pact.

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Administration applies tariffs to solar panels, washing machines

The president has approved new tariffs on imported solar panels and large washing machines, and Mexico and China have expressed dissatisfaction.

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State of the Union preview: Expect a focus on immigration, infrastructure, trade and national security

The president's first State of the Union Address will reportedly highlight agenda focusing on immigration, infrastructure, trade, and national security.

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Legislation of Note

SB 5191 & HB 2200: 'Internet privacy' bills would affect any business with an online presence

Most businesses in the state would fall under the regulation of a pair of bills that take a broad approach to the issue of internet privacy. AWB opposes SB 5919 and HB 2200 and is working to alert employers that, if they have any online presence, they are affected by this proposed legislation. Contact Mike Ennis to have your logo included in a one-pager on the issue.

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HB 2749: Rural broadband

Rural counties would have more funds to devote to broadband internet infrastructure under House Bill 2749.

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SB 6563: Aviation biofuels Senate Bill 6563

Senate Bill 6563 would reestablish the sustainable aviation biofuels work group, which is an issue of interest to a number of AWB members.

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SB 5667: Off-duty conduct

Senate Bill 5667 would effectively eliminate employer's zero-tolerance drug policy by putting in place protections for employees or prospective employees who engage in conduct that is legal under state law.

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Other News

Washington Research Council takes a deeper look at four-year outlook on governor's budget proposal

A new policy brief by the Washington Research Council looks at the budget outlook adopted by the state's Revenue Forecast Council last week regarding the governor's proposed budget. That document departed from precedent by including the governor's proposed carbon tax. Fortunately, the council stuck with the state's important four-year balanced budget requirement in its analysis.

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Health care industry to benefit by $31 billion from provision that ended federal government shutdown

The deal that ended a short government shutdown last week also included a provision that will suspend or delay three health insurance taxes that are part of the Affordable Care Act. Health care and insurance providers will see a $31 billion benefit.

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Ex-Boeing executive Ray Conner joins Alaska Air board

Ray Conner, the former president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, has joined the board of Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and Virgin America. Alaska Air Group said the appointment affirms the company's commitment to its Northwest roots.

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AWB Events & Resources

AWB's 2018 employment law webinar series begins in February; early bird pricing available until Jan. 31

AWB's popular employment law webinar series is back for the third year. Top legal experts will again look at the many facets of increasingly complex labor laws, offering up-to-date information to keep your workplace in compliance with the latest legal changes. Sign up for all the classes now to receive an early-bird package discount and a complete kit of all presentations.

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Hear from apprenticeship advocate at AWB Institute Workforce Summit March 21 in Bellevue

Back by popular demand, the AWB Institute Workforce Summit will be held this year at the Hilton Bellevue on Wednesday, March 21. Matt Poischbeg, vice president and general manager at Sea-Lect Plastics, will give the keynote, offering an enthusiastic and experienced take on apprenticeships and workforce development. Registration is now open!

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A new home for Spring Meeting -- the Davenport Grand hotel

Reserve your room May 15 and 16 in the AWB room block now for the 2018 Spring Meeting, to be held in the new Davenport Grand hotel in downtown Spokane. AWB's annual meeting in Spokane is only going to be bigger and better as it moves to this deluxe new hotel near the city's Riverside Park.

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Tweet of the Week

New Look at AWB

They Said It

Moving Out of Seattle

"Seattle has been our home for 20 years, and its increasingly challenging business climate makes it a good time to move." ~ Mark Pedersen, president and CEO of Keyport, announcing his seafood processor's move to Edmonds. Keyport was founded in the Ballard area of Seattle, but the city's higher costs, heavy traffic, anti-business rhetoric from City Hall and other issues have made it an increasingly difficult place to do business, Pedersen told The Herald.

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Not the Solution

Look to B.C. for evidence carbon tax doesn't work

By Brier Dudley

If Washington wants to reduce pollution and fare better on its climate-change goals, it should reject Gov. Jay Inslee's proposed carbon tax.

Instead, the state should put its efforts into environmental regulations that directly and measurably reduce harmful emissions.

As proposed, the carbon tax is a grab bag of handouts for the powerful and politically connected, funded by a steep new tax largely on the middle class. Many of the handouts have dubious benefits in reducing emissions.

Carbon taxes also don't work as promised. North America's first such tax, in neighboring British Columbia, is failing to reduce emissions.

Emissions from driving are rising faster than population growth in B.C., despite a carbon tax higher than Inslee's proposal...

Read the full column The Seattle Times
Snake River Dams

Washington's dams balance clean energy needs, fish protections

By AWB President Kris Johnson

Construction of the four Lower Snake River dams -- Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite -- began in 1962. Back then, the focus was on the efficient production of energy, transporting goods and supplying water to Washington's vibrant agricultural sector.

Today, the dams produce 40 percent of the region's energy through clean hydropower generation, support agricultural production and transportation, and improve our quality of life by lifting the economy and supporting recreation. They are also integral to flood control.

Equally critical, they support healthy fish and wildlife populations and their complex life cycles, thanks to a series of improvements to the dams set out in Federal Columbia River Power System's (FCRPS) 2014 biological opinion, or BiOp...

Read the full guest column in The Spokesman-Review
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