February 12, 2018
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Top Stories

As house of origin cutoff nears, B&O tax among those items awaiting legislative action

This week will see a major milestone in this off-year legislative session -- the deadline for bills to pass their house of origin. AWB is monitoring hundreds of bills that could affect employers and the state's competitiveness. Among the most significant bills: B&O tax relief for the state's manufacturers. The Kitsap Sun joined those calling for "equal footing" for all manufacturers in an editorial published over the weekend.

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AWB Government Affairs team gives mid-session update; listen to it on AWB's new podcast channel

From carbon to capital gains taxes, transportation to education, AWB's Government Affairs team gave a complete but succinct update on the state of the Legislature during a mid-session update webinar last week. For those who didn't catch the live update, the full recording is available for download through your favorite podcast app by locating "The AWB Podcast" and clicking "subscribe."

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Administration unveils outline of infrastructure plan

The presidential administration released a broad look at its infrastructure plan this morning. The $1.5 trillion plan includes $200 billion in federal funding that aims to incentivize another $1.3 trillion in local investment. Anticipating infrastructure spending, last year AWB and other statewide groups put together a detailed infrastructure report.

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State hires consultant to analyze Washington's competitiveness for new Boeing airplane

Competitiveness matters, and to help see how Washington stacks up in the competition to land the next generation Boeing jetliner, the state has hired a national expert. The big question: "How competitive are we for landing Boeing's new jetliner?"

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Potential energy tax "devastating" for Washington, Senate Republican leader says at AWB Lobby Lunch

State revenues are strong, but more tax bills are underway in the current Legislative session that could harm small businesses and middle-class families, Republican leaders said last week at AWB's second 2018 Lobby Lunch. Olympia's "power lunch" concludes this Thursday with updates from Democratic legislative leaders. Seats are still available for this informative discussion as lawmakers head into their final few weeks of work.

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Congress approves two-year budget after short governmental shutdown

In a pre-dawn vote on Friday, Congress approved a massive new two-year spending bill, ending months of short-term budget extensions. Reluctant lawmakers pushed the vote past a midnight deadline, causing a brief government shutdown that most Americans slept through.

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Legislation of Note

HB 2177: Rural county jobs program

An AWB-supported bill to help train rural workers for high-demand jobs passed the House unanimously last week. House Bill 2177 now moves to the Senate, where AWB will continue to advocate for the bill.

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HB 2338: Low-carbon fuel standards

A growing list of employers and advocacy groups is joining AWB in opposition to a low-carbon fuel standard proposal that would increase fuel costs and would import a shaky system that is still not yet fully implemented in California.

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HB 1298: House votes in favor of 'Ban the Box'

A proposal to delay when employers can ask about a job applicant's prior arrests and convictions has passed the House by a 52-46 vote.

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HB 6203: Carbon tax

The revised version of Gov. Jay Inslee's carbon tax will come up for a public hearing this Thursday at 3:30 p.m. in the Senate Ways & Means Committee. Based on feedback from stakeholders, its Senate sponsors are developing another substitute draft.

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HB 1506 & SB 5140: Pay equity

AWB working to amend a pay equity bill being considered this year. The employer community is asking for four key amendments to ensure that workers in small towns are treated equally to those in urban centers.

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Other News

Boeing's Washington workers get record bonuses; double last year's

2017 was a great year for Boeing, and nearly 66,000 employees will receive about $600 million in bonuses as the company shares the windfall with its workers.

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Four airlines sue state over new Washington sick-leave law

Alaska, JetBlue, Southwest and United Airlines have sued the state of Washington in U.S. District court over a new sick leave law that was put in place with passage of Initiative 1433 in 2016. Airlines say conflicting regulations will increase costs and delays.

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A closer look: What might Amazon's approach to health care look like?

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase have announced a joint effort to bring innovation to the health care arena. While the nature of their effort isn't yet known, there is clearly plenty of space to bring creative disruption to the health care space.

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Avista announces Catalyst project for Spokane's University District

This $50 million project will revitalize the University District, with 1,000 students from Eastern Washington University to move in at a future date.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Tax & Fiscal Policy Council to meet Thursday

AWB's Tax & Fiscal Policy Council will meet 8:30-9:30 a.m. this Thursday at AWB. Among topics of discussion will be two important bills that will be heard Friday in the House Finance Committee: House Bill 2947 (B&O tax relief for rural manufacturers) and House Bill 2967 (enacting a capital gains tax and providing property tax relief). Contact Clay Hill at 360.943.1600 to learn more and Connie Carlson for call-in information.



AWB Events & Resources

Seminar: Anti-Harassment training and investigations in the era of #MeToo

No employer can afford to be lax in enforcing its commitment to anti-harassment. But how do you deal with the he-said, she-said scenarios? What is expected of employers in this era of heightened awareness of harassment? These are the questions we will address in a Feb. 28 seminar, along with practical guidance for minimizing the risk of liability in your workplace.

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AWB's 2018 employment law webinar series begins this Wednesday

AWB's popular employment law webinar series is back for the third year, starting with the first session this Wednesday. Sarah Swale of Jensen Morse Baker PLLC will talk about pre-hire, hiring and job descriptions. Over the coming months, other legal experts will 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.

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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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Labor relations for beginners: for union and non-union workplaces

Whether or not your employees are represented by a union, recent changes in federal labor law impact your workplace. Join us on April 26 to learn more about employers' rights and obligations under key federal labor law principles.

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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 Riverfront Park.

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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. Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Workforce Development



They Said It

We're in the Money

"We have so much money coming in that no one with a straight face can tell you that we've got a shortage of dollars." ~ House Republican Floor Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, speaking at last week's AWB Lobby Lunch, discussing the continued high rate of tax collections coming into state coffers. Democratic leaders will speak at this week's Lobby Lunch.




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#SupportWAmfg
A Backdoor Gas Tax Increase


Inslee's carbon tax bill unfair to middle class

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

Senate Bill 6203 will burden some people more than others, and that isn't fair.

The proposal -- also known as the carbon tax bill -- would impose an additional $10 per metric ton on carbon dioxide emissions in 2019. The amount would increase over time to $30 per metric ton by 2029.

The money raised would go to clean energy efforts and projects that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It also might encourage more people to buy vehicles that don't run solely on fossil fuel, Inslee said.

But adding that extra tax will mean gas prices will go up, and so will heating bills.

An analysis by the Washington Policy Center estimates the average family will spend $125 more on gasoline per year in 2019, and $375 more a year in 2029 if the tax is approved...

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
Supporting all Washington Manufacturers


Equal footing for economic growth

By The Kitsap Sun Editorial Board

On the whole our state's B&O is seen as a misguided tax by many, since its collections are based on gross rather than net profits, and cities, including here in Kitsap, have been working to minimize its impact on small businesses by gradually lowering local B&O rates. It's a particular tax reform that's generally helpful to small business without creating an unaccountable giveaway that hurts public coffers, when implemented wisely.

Last summer's state budget agreement included a provision to expand the lower state B&O rate beyond the aerospace sector, applying it to all manufacturers. The provision, pushed by the Republican caucus but agreed to by Democrats in budget negotiations, wouldn't have completely eliminated state B&O, but it would have put all manufacturers on equal footing. That's a fair request in a state where Boeing and aerospace receive a deserved share of economic credit but aren't the only engine driving our future.

The measure was vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee, who stated at the time he disagreed with being caught off-guard by its inclusion in a budget deal. In our view that was disappointing, given the work that went into the agreement, but this session the idea is back -- actually, two versions of it are. Competing Senate bills were in the Ways and Means committee as of Friday, both of which would gradually lower the B&O rate for all manufacturers to what's paid by the aerospace industry to the tune of about $64 million over the next four years...

Read the full editorial in The Kitsap Sun
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