October 29, 2018
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Top Stories

Eight days until election that will decide ballot measures, control of Congress and Legislature

Voting is underway in an election that carries important consequences for the health of Washington's economy, from the makeup of the state Legislature to the cost of energy for families and employers. Please participate by checking out AWB's elections homepage and returning your ballot by Nov. 6. The website offers details about Initiative 1631, which will increase the cost of energy and transportation while creating a major new bureaucracy to spend billions in new tax dollars, plus a list of candidates AWB has endorsed for the state Legislature. The bipartisan list is composed of candidates who demonstrated an understanding of the issues facing employers.

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Join business, local leaders next week at AWB's 2018 Rural Jobs Summit in Longview

As a new national report highlights the challenges facing rural areas, AWB is continuing to lead the work of finding solutions. Next week, the 2018 AWB Rural Jobs Summit will host dynamic conversations ranging from broadband and natural resources to workforce development and access to capital. The summit takes place Nov 8-9 at Lower Columbia College in Longview. Reserve your spot today!

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State Supreme Court upholds charter schools

Public charter schools are now officially the law of the land in Washington after the state Supreme Court upheld their constitutionality last week. The ruling upholds a bipartisan 2016 law that re-instituted a 2012 voter initiative which the high court had ruled unconstitutional.

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New state overtime rules will impact employers, employees

AWB is encouraging the state Department of Labor & Industries to "slow down" on proposed changes to overtime rules for professional workers. These changes could significantly expand the number of professionals who would receive time-and-a-half pay, including those who make up to $74,880 a year in one scenario.

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AWB works with state officials, Gov. Inslee on childcare solutions

AWB and other employment community leaders explored affordable childcare and early childhood education solutions as part of the Governor's Results Washington Initiative on Wednesday. Suggestions included reviewing building requirements for businesses that want to build their own childcare centers.

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Public hearing Tuesday for PSE's liquified natural gas facility in Tacoma

Puget Sound Energy's liquified natural gas facility (LNG), currently under construction at the Port of Tacoma, will allow ships to switch from dirty conventional fuels to clean LNG, improve reliability for natural gas customers on the coldest days of the year and create high-paying family-wage jobs at the port, which serves as an economic driver for Pierce County and the entire state. The Puget Sound Clean Air Agency will hold a public meeting Tuesday in Tacoma to receive comment on a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement released earlier this month. More about the project's environmental and economic benefits is available here. To learn about the permit process and how to submit your letter of support, click here or send an email to publiccomment@pscleanair.org.

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New AWB 'Business Builder' series helps entrepreneurs expand

Unlock the true potential of your business by joining AWB and Integrity Financial for a three-part series this fall. The weekly sessions begin Nov. 1 and include expert advice on practical topics such as profit-and-loss statements, balance sheets and cash flow, and managing growth in a high-performance business.

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Other News

Costco gets green light for major new expansion of Issaquah headquarters

The city of Issaquah has approved a long-awaited expansion of the corporate headquarters of Costco Wholesale. The company will add 1.2 million square feet of office space at its 30-acre corporate campus.

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Celebrate Apprenticeship Week in Everett on Nov. 8

Nov. 12-18 will be celebrated across the nation as the fourth-annual National Apprenticeship Week. In Washington, the party starts a few days early: The second-annual celebration at the Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center in Everett will be held on Nov. 8 with free food, panel discussions, hands-on demonstrations and representation from dozens of different industries.

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Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson named one of the Most Influential People by Seattle Magazine

Seattle Magazine has recognized Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson as one of the publication's Most Influential People of the Year, since he "has demonstrated that some corporations can do the right thing." The magazine noted his swift response to the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia store for allegedly trespassing, and his commitment to helping homeless kids and families.

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Energy Northwest to build Washington's first utility solar power and battery storage system

Energy Northwest is expanding Washington's clean energy portfolio with a new project near Richland that includes a 5-megawatt solar energy generation and battery storage system. The project breaks ground in 2019 and is expected to draw hundreds of technicians each year for training.

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M3 Biotechnology makes 'Top 100 Global' tech list

Seattle's M3 Biotechnology, which is researching cures for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, was recently named to a list of the top 100 global tech companies. AWB recognized M3 Biotechnology founder Leen Kawas as the inaugural Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016, and featured the company in the association's Grow Here commercials.

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AWB Events & Resources

Nov. 14 webinar covers 12 most common mistakes to avoid in selling a business

Expert panelists Kristofer Gray CFP, Robert Hild, and Gregory Russell will walk through many of the common challenges affecting business owners on the subjects of selling a business and succession planning during a Nov. 14 webinar. Registration for the webinar is now open.

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Celebrate Washington's extraordinary employers at AWB's Evening of Excellence Nov. 28

AWB will roll out the red carpet again this year for its third-annual Evening of Excellence awards gala at Benaroya Hall in Seattle on Nov. 28. It's AWB's chance to celebrate innovation, environmental stewardship and the overall community spirit of Washington's diverse employer community.

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Best of the Blog

Manufacturing careers in the spotlight throughout October

October is all about manufacturing. The month began with the governor proclaiming it "Careers in Manufacturing Month" and the launch of a website -- created jointly by WorkSource, the state Employment Security Department and AWB -- aimed at connecting skilled workers with the manufacturing sector.

Tweet of the Week

Bicycle Delivery

They Said It

Investing in Children

"I think that as employers we need to look at childcare ... like an investment in infrastructure."

~ Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories' Kelly Fukai, speaking last week at a Results Washington summit on affordable childcare and early learning challenges in Washington

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Rural Jobs Summit
Oppose a New Tax on Energy, Fuel

Initiative 1631 carbon fee raises costs for families and employers

By AWB President Kris Johnson

Washington state voters are facing a full fall ballot, from House, Senate and congressional races to several initiatives. The costliest measure is Initiative 1631, which would create a new carbon "fee."

The Association of Washington Business is opposed to the initiative for three reasons:

1. Washington employers care about the environment and are committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, the state is already a low-carbon leader in the nation and the world. Port Townsend Paper, a company we visited recently on a statewide tour of manufacturers, has reduced its emissions 65 percent since 2007. But I-1631 offers no guarantee it will reduce carbon emissions.

2. The impact of I-1631 on energy, fuel and natural gas would put Washington businesses at a competitive disadvantage to their neighbors in other states. Consumers would be hit with higher energy costs, making it more expensive to get to work, take children to school, heat homes and buy groceries.

3. Lack of transparency and accountability with the billions of dollars I-1631's fee would generate.

Read the full guest column in The Puget Sound Business Journal
Union Opposition to I-1631

Building Trades voices opposition to Initiative 1631

By Mark Riker and The Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council

The revenue from I-1631 is not project specific -- a detail that could make it difficult to gain voter approval of future infrastructure proposals. Recent gas tax increases have been difficult enough to absorb, and voters know how those dollars were going to be spent. The state transportation package returned $16 billion in infrastructure work for a 10-cent increase.

I-1631 has no definitive plan for how the tax money would be spent, and that will make it more difficult to adequately fund a new transportation package. Gas prices go up even more every time there is a transportation proposal in the state, and with a 14-cent increase in the first year of 1631, that's going to hurt the chances for any new transportation infrastructure projects. The overall effect of just this portion of the Initiative is detrimental to traffic, thereby actually increasing carbon emissions and hurting the environment even more. It's just poorly done.

Read the full commentary in The Wenatchee World
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