December 8, 2014
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Top Stories

Holiday Kids' Tree lighting attracts hundreds of visitors, gives nearly $20,000 to families in need

Friday's lighting of the state's holiday tree was the best attended in years. Generous donors gave nearly $20,000 for distribution to families in need. A Coast Guard boatswain and his family, helped by Gov. Jay Inslee, lit the tree and kicked off the Yuletide season.

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At Puget Sound ports, some shippers say damage from work slowdown already done

The work slowdown at West Coast ports has done damage that can't be repaired even if shipping were to improve today. And even as the economic impact builds, the labor dispute continues.

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U.S. House approves $42 billion retroactive tax break package, including sales tax, R&D credits

A last-minute retroactive 2014 tax break package passed the U.S. House last week. If it passes the Senate, Washingtonians who itemize their federal income tax return will be able to claim a sales tax deduction for this year. The plan also includes a number of business tax breaks.

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WSDOT report: Freight congestion could cost $3.3 billion, 27,000 jobs by 2030

Failing to improve highways will be costly, and a new WSDOT report details just how painful transportation could get if a funding and upgrade plan is not put into place soon.

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Minimum wage: protests and legislative hearing

As protesters demonstrated for a $15 statewide minimum wage, AWB members testified before a legislative committee about the realities and impacts of a big minimum wage boost on employers and employees.

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Other News

Bertha repair effort causing viaduct to sink

Digging a mammoth pit to access and repair the world's largest tunnel-boring machine is causing nearby soil -- and the Alaskan Way Viaduct -- to settle. Dewatering efforts have been halted while the problem is investigated.

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SMCC reorganizes; Schoesler takes Senate's top leadership post

The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus (SMCC) chose Sen. Mark Schoesler as majority leader, replacing Sen. Rodney Tom, who did not run for reelection. Schoesler had been leader of the Republican bloc within the SMCC for the past two years.

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US on pace for best job growth in 15 years

Hiring surged in November, putting 2014 on track to be the best year for job creation since 1999.

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Feds approve Seattle-Tacoma Seaport Alliance

The Federal Maritime Commission has approved the groundbreaking agreement between the ports of Seattle and Tacoma to merge many of their operations into what will be known as the Seaport Alliance.

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Error cancels 6,000 enrollments in state's health exchange

Washington Healthplanfinder accidentally canceled an estimated 6,000 new and renewing health insurance enrollees. Customers are being notified, but should also take their own steps to ensure coverage begins on Jan. 1.

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Inslee looking at tax on oil that arrives by rail

Oil arriving in Washington by rail could be taxed under a proposal being examined by the Inslee administration.

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Inslee names two retired judges to serve on Public Disclosure Commission

The five-person Public Disclosure Commission will have two new members: the Wenatchee judge who ruled in the disputed 2004 Gregoire-Rossi gubernatorial election; and the ex-chair of the state’s Utilities and Transportation Commission who helped lead the same-sex marriage referendum campaigns.

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Democrats pick Carol Gregory as top choice to fill seat of the late Rep. Roger Freeman

The King and Pierce county councils will choose a one-year replacement for the late Rep. Roger Freeman from three candidates offered by the local Democratic Party. Federal Way School Board President Carol Gregory, the former president of the Washington Education Association, is the Democrats' top choice.

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AWB Events & Resources

New workplace posters available with 2015 minimum wage

With the new year comes the need for a new set of workplace posters. AWB has updated posters available to pre-order for 2015.

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AWB Legislative Summit: Jan. 27 at the Olympia Red Lion

Mark your calendars for the 2015 AWB Legislative Summit, to be held Jan. 27 at the Red Lion hotel in Olympia. Register today!
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They Said It

Helping the State's Economy

"Contrary to what some might say, the tax incentives are not specific to Boeing." ~ Doug Alder, a Boeing spokesman, responding to calls for specific metrics on tax incentives. Boeing has added almost 30,000 jobs since aerospace tax incentives were put in place to encourage job creation in Washington. The tax incentives, which are used by more than 450 Washington aerospace companies, cost the state nothing and are projected to generate more than $21.3 billion in state and local tax revenue.




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WORKING TOGETHER

New 'business-blue' coalition focuses on protecting Washington's trade status

By Eric Schinfeld, Washington Council on International Trade

As an advocate for international trade, I'm fortunate to work with some of the most innovative global brands in America today, witnessing companies whose efforts both distinguish them across the globe and also bring jobs and prosperity back to America's middle class. Last week, following our annual Washington Trade Conference, I introduced a panel discussion convened by partners from Keep Washington Competitive, a new coalition of business and labor leaders.

READ MORE: Click here for the full op-ed column in the Puget Sound Business Journal
NO GUBERNATORIAL EXECUTIVE ORDER

Opinion: Gov. Inslee and Carbon Emissions Reduction Taskforce should carefully consider climate policy


By Mike Elliott, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen

The low-carbon fuel standard the governor is considering by way of executive order could raise prices at the pump anywhere from 13 cents a gallon to $1.50. I'm told the purpose of the fuel standard is to encourage sustainable fuel production and use, with the ultimate goal being a reduction in carbon emissions (largely from cars and trucks operating on our roadways).

When considering climate change on a global scale, few would dispute the need to seek reductions in carbon emissions. But without a thorough understanding of potential impacts on fuel prices and, ultimately, jobs connected to transportation costs, further study of the fuel standard as a means of achieving reduced carbon emissions is warranted. While I'm all for lower carbon, cleaner fuels and better efficiency in our cars, trucks, industrial processes and lives, I cannot support taking action without knowing for certain we're not sending jobs out of the state or, worse, overseas where few standards, if any, exist.

READ MORE: Click here for the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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