May 29, 2018
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Top Stories

'It's a gamble': As other cities court Seattle's jobs, move to repeal employee head tax gains steam

The push to revoke Seattle's new tax on jobs is gaining momentum. Meanwhile, leaders across the state are trying to send a message that Seattle's attitude toward job-creators is not shared by the rest of the state.

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Apply now for AWB's Manufacturing Excellence and Evening of Excellence awards

Washington is home to employers making new strides in sustainability, manufacturing excellence, innovative employee benefits, and many other categories of achievement. It's time once again to nominate your company, or others for the Evening of Excellence and the Manufacturing Excellence awards. The deadline for nominations is June 30.

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Mariners commit to 25-year, $650 million investment

The Seattle Mariners have made a long-term commitment to staying in Seattle by signing a new lease that could run through 2049. The team will invest about $650 million in stadium improvements, maintenance and operations and rent over the life of the agreement. The end result is the continued presence of a top-notch ballpark and solid anchor for Seattle's SoDo District.

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New Opportunity Washington score: Improvement, but still not in the Top 10

The latest ranking of Washington's key measurements against other states, the Opportunuty Washington Scorecard, shows improvement in Achieve (education) and Connect (transportation), but overall the state is still not in the Top 10 nationally.

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Federal Issues

Canada, U.S. begin Columbia River Treaty negotiations today

Canadian and American officials are meeting in Washington D.C. today to start new negotiations on the Columbia River Treaty. The agreement will have a huge impact on the Pacific Northwest, from power generation to flood management to support for agriculture and industry.

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Washington manufacturer, SCAFCO, approved for first Ex-Im loan to Cambodia

SCAFCO Grain Systems, a Spokane manufacturer of agricultural equipment, has been approved for the first-ever private sector buyer term financing in Cambodia by the Export-Import Bank. The loan will support jobs in Washington state at no cost to the American taxpayer -- in fact, Ex-Im loans generate a profit for the federal Treasury.

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Other News

Open government champions Brian Sonntag and Rob McKenna endorse pro-transparency I-1608

Bipartisan leaders with a long history of championing open government have jointly signed on to endorse Initiative 1608, which would open public collective bargaining negotiations to the public eye.

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Scam alert: Secretary of State warns against misleading 'payment due' letters sent to businesses

Business owners should be wary of misleading letters that purport to be an official bill related to business registration requirements. The official-looking letters say "your state annual report will not be filed until payment is received." The Attorney General's Office is investigating.

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Avista to roll out smart meters for 450,000 customers

Energy company Avista has launched a $165 million plan to install smart meters for nearly half a million Eastern Washington customers. Company officials say the new meters will help customers better track energy use and allow the utility to respond to power outages more efficiently.

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Boeing and employees on track to donate $200 million to charity this year

The Boeing Co. has donated more than $104 million in grants to over 500 nonprofits. The new federal tax cuts have allowed the company to increase its corporate giving programs, company officials say.

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Employment Security Department to host program on business-friendly layoff aversion strategies

WorkSource will host a seminar in Bremerton on June 6 with tips on layoff aversion strategies, from the state's SharedWork program to ways of controlling unemployment insurance rates.

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AWB's Mary Catherine McAleer leaving Government Affairs department

After helping lead AWB's environmental efforts, Government Affairs Director Mary Catherine McAleer is moving to Weyerhaeuser.

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Passages: Pete Hildebrandt, longtime expert on environmental issues

A longtime friend of AWB and an expert voice in environmental issues has passed away. Pete Hildebrandt worked in the Department of Ecology, then became an environmental consultant for Alcoa and the Western States Petroleum Association.

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AWB Events & Resources

AWB's 2018 employment law webinar series continues with session on non-competes, confidentiality agreements and more

AWB's popular employment law webinar series continues in June with a session on "Non-Competes, Confidentiality Agreements, Non-Solicitations & Intellectual Property Protection" with Clemencia Castro-Woolery and Chrystina Solum of Ledger Square Law, P.S. This is part of an ongoing series as legal experts walk employers through 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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Reserve a spot at AWB's Federal Affairs Summit

Hear from members of Congress and help shape the debate by attending AWB's second-annual Federal Affairs Summit. This year's event will be held Aug. 14 at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center. Join employers, thought leaders and members of the state's congressional delegation at this timely gathering.

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Tweet of the Week

Trade Matters



They Said It

Trying to Darken Our Economy?

"So, here we are today, enjoying the economic success of our collaborative efforts over the past 47 years, and now the Seattle City Council wants to turn out the lights again." ~ The Northwest Ironworkers Council, in a statement opposing the Seattle City Council's employee head tax, with a nod to the famous 1971 billboard reading, "Will the last person leaving Seattle -- turn out the lights."




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Spring Meeting Video
Improving Infrastructure


Sandpoint rail project benefits Spokane region's economic flow

By Greater Spokane Incorporated President Todd Mielke and AWB President Kris Johnson

Rail remains the safest, most efficient, and environmentally friendly means of moving products over land.

As residents of the most trade-driven state in the country, we all need to be paying attention to what's happening right now, just across the state line, in Sandpoint, Idaho.

At issue is a proposal by BNSF Railway Co. to construct a second rail bridge over Lake Pend Oreille. Those in agriculture, aerospace, wood products, and other trade-dependent industries are acquainted with the bridge, which transports thousands of goods and commodities each day from the Midwest to ports on the West Coast.

With this second bridge, we also have an opportunity to make a significant investment in our trade infrastructure. Unfortunately, opponents are challenging this second line because of just two commodities: coal and oil. It would be shortsighted to allow objections over two commodities to jeopardize the transport of thousands of others, including food, medicine, timber, computer parts, and other manufactured products we use in our everyday lives...

Read the full guest column in The Spokane Journal of Business
Ideology Over Solutions


Seattle, it's time to take back City Hall

By Christopher Kirk, Seattle architect

The head tax and Amazon's response have been the big local news story for several weeks, but it is not Seattle's biggest problem. It is only the latest issue to emphasize the dysfunction of Seattle city government.

The big problem is that our city government does not listen and does not care about the opinions or needs of the majority of Seattle's residents. In the case of the head tax, the city ignored the input from a large variety of affected businesses and business experts and economists, articles and editorials in this and other news media, and the input of large numbers of residents, and proceeded blindly with a program based on predetermined, left-wing ideology...

Christopher Kirk, a Seattle architect since the 1970s, has served on public historic preservation and design review boards.

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times
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