January 7, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Federal Issues Other News AWB Events & Resources Key Hearings/Meetings Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Legislature prepares to return to work on Jan. 14

It's one week until lawmakers new and old return to Olympia for the start of this year's 105-day budget-writing session. While governmental tax revenues are steadily growing, so are calls for increased spending -- and new taxes on employers. Among the proposals are calls for increased B&O taxes on service businesses, a new capital gains tax, and increased real estate excise taxes.

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Seattle's rising cost of living and high cost of doing business are drawing national attention

While the "Seattle Way" once meant recycling and a love of nature, the Seattle Way of today has come to represent high housing costs, difficult business conditions, and a general transformation for the worse, according to recent stories in national news outlets like The New York Times and Vice, as well as local news reports.

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Register now for AWB's Legislative Day and Hill Climb, which will feature new format and locations

With just three week's until AWB's 2019 Legislative Day and Hill Climb, it's time to ensure you'll have a place at this special one-day event that offers new connections between state lawmakers and employers. New this year: The event will be hosted at AWB's office and at the Capitol. What hasn't changed: This is your chance to connect directly with lawmakers.

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Washington Research Council: Our state's budget sustainability rules work -- when followed

A timely new report from the Washington Research Council looks at the state's four-year balanced budget requirement and its constitutionally protected rainy-day fund. These proposals help ensure responsible, sustainable and balanced budgets -- so why is the Legislature pulling $2 billion from the rainy-day fund in this budget cycle?

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AWB's statewide Transportation Listening Tour concludes with stops in Spokane, Tri-Cities and Yakima

AWB is continuing to meet with employers across the state about transportation issues and to gather input on a possible new transportation package in the 2019 session. Mike Ennis, AWB's government affairs director for transportation issues, will seek input on potential revenue sources and projects from each region of the state, including fish culverts, bridge crossings and more. The series of meetings that began last month will continue tomorrow in Spokane, then conclude in the Tri-Cities and Yakima.

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Federal Issues

Employers boost economy by adding 312,000 jobs in December

U.S. companies provided a major boost to the economy in December by adding 312,000 jobs. Friday's welcome news helped boost markets and investor confidence.

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Other News

New year begins with $12 minimum wage and first collection of Paid Family and Medical Leave premiums

The start of 2019 meant an increase of the state minimum wage to $12 per hour, as set out by Initiative 1433, passed by voters in 2016. Other jurisdictions, like Seattle, SeaTac and Tacoma, have a higher minimum wage. The year also begins with the first premium collections for the state's new Paid Family and Medical Leave program.

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Boeing CEO named Person of the Year by Aviation Week

Citing his work to reshape the supply chain and big wins in defense, Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine named Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg as its Person of the Year, saying "his actions have reverberated across the aerospace industry."

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Amazon to open Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky air cargo hub in 2021

While Amazon's second headquarters search created many headlines in 2018, the company was also working to expand in mid-sized cities like Cincinnati. A new air cargo hub will likely break ground this year.

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Water managers recommend dam upgrades in Alpine Lakes Wilderness to help people, salmon

A working group of interested parties has recommended $82 million in dam and other improvements to create a more consistent water flow for Icicle Creek in Central Washington. Fish, orchards and the city of Leavenworth all rely on the creek.

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Nominations now open for outstanding Washington volunteers

Serve Washington is now accepting applications for outstanding volunteers in 20 categories, from social services to education and disaster preparedness. The deadline to nominate someone is Feb. 8 at 5 p.m.

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AWB Events & Resources

Jan. 9: Keep up with legislation that affects your business with AWB's Bill Tracking Webinar

Register today for a Jan. 9 webinar that can help you track legislation as it moves through the lawmaking process in Olympia. AWB is again working with the Legislative Information Center on a webinar that teaches people how to navigate the Legislature's website, www.leg.wa.gov.

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Jan. 11: Legislative Session Preview Webinar will offer look into issues before 2019 Legislature

Lawmakers will convene in Olympia on Jan. 14 for the long, 105-day session, where they will craft the state's two-year operating budget, debate new and higher taxes and tackle other issues that will impact Washington employers. The AWB Government Affairs Team will run down the issues they expect to see -- from education to environment and workplace laws to taxes -- and take questions during a Legislative Session Preview Webinar Jan. 11 at 8 a.m.

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Learn employment law basics for your business with AWB's popular webinar series

An early-bird discount is available for the 2019 installment of AWB's popular Human Resources and Employment Law Webinar Series, which begins in February. These six classes will give employers of all sizes an overview of topics like performance evaluations, wage and hour rules, accident prevention efforts and more. The first webinar begins Feb. 13. Register today for early-bird pricing, which expires Jan. 31.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

Career Connect Washington to meet with AWB Education and Workforce Committee on Jan. 17

Maud Daudon from Career Connect Washington (CCW) will meet with the AWB Education and Workforce Committee on Jan. 17, noon-1:30 p.m., at AWB. Daudon will present CCW's agenda and budget request. The AWB committee will also discuss some key legislation for the 2019 session. Contact Amy Anderson at 360.943.1600 to learn more.

Tweet of the Week

Rural Jobs Review

They Said It

More Power

"The biggest jet engines ever seen are set to roar on Boeing's 777X." ~ Headline in The Seattle Times in a look inside Boeing's Everett assembly plant at the "jaw-dropping GE-9X engines" that will power the new 777X.

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Legislative Day and Hill Climb Preview
Supporting Rural Areas

Let's work together to prioritize rural economic revitalization

By AWB President Kris Johnson

The mission of the Association of Washington Business is to bring people together throughout the state to promote economic prosperity -- from the urban centers to the most rural corners.

We know that parts of Washington have boomed since the end of the recession, but other areas -- particularly the rural communities that exist in each of our state's 39 counties -- have not realized the same economic opportunities.

Our state's overall success depends on not just talking about the many barriers holding back economic growth in rural regions but finding and implementing solutions discussed at the AWB Rural Jobs Summit in the Legislature and at the local level to move every community forward.

Whether urban, rural or somewhere in between, we're all in this together.

Read the full column in the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business
Taxing Employers

Legislature's return to work presents a challenge for business

By Bill Virgin

Laments from the business community about taxes, regulations and the high cost and frustration of doing business around here are typically met with two responses: "It can't be that bad, look at our booming economy," and "If you don't like it, leave" (the latter usually accompanied by a snide remark about Texas or the South).

To those points: The current success of the tech sector, however loosely that's defined, certainly fueled economic growth in the region. But other sectors are struggling for reasons of their own (retailing) or related to the boom (industrial businesses dealing with high costs). Tech's boom has papered over a lot of ills, and if the sector ever has another moment like the dot-com bust, that facade will be gone...

Eventually businesses reach a point at which the cost/benefit analysis tips from staying to going.

It hasn't happened in great numbers and it won't happen at the same time for all businesses. But those tipping points are out there. In 2019, we'll find out see how enthusiastically the Legislature pushes the region closer to them.

Read the full column in The News Tribune
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