March 18, 2019
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Legislative update: Session passes halfway point and house of origin cutoff

Last Wednesday marked the day for bills to pass out of their house of origin to remain alive (except for budgetary bills). The 105-day session is also just past the halfway point. Here's where key issues stand.

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AWB joins chambers in Spokane, Port Angeles and Longview to run ads highlighting the growth of state tax revenues

Full-page ads questioning the need for new and higher taxes during a booming economy appeared Sunday in The Spokesman-Review and The Peninsula Daily News and a similar ad ran in The Daily News in Longview. The ads were co-sponsored by AWB and the local chambers of commerce in each community, as well as several small businesses. The ads show the growth of state tax collections, including $4 billion more to spend this session, and make the point that lawmakers have more money to spend without asking businesses to pay even more.

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AWB leads trade mission to Japan to celebrate Business and Baseball

Dozens of state business and political leaders are touching down in Tokyo today for the "Business and Baseball" trade mission. AWB and the Seattle Mariners, in cooperation with a number of other groups in Washington and Japan, are leading this mission to focus on the deep and important trade ties between these two thriving economies.

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State Supreme Court to consider Gov. Inslee's clean air rule

The state's highest court will consider whether Gov. Jay Inslee and the Department of Ecology were within their rights to impose a Clean Air Rule through executive action. A lower court had struck down the 2015 regulations.

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Washington House passes costly clean-fuels legislation sought by Gov. Inslee

A new and costly bill requested by the governor to create a Low-Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in Washington state passed its first hurdle last week as the state House voted to approve the measure 53-43. The California Energy Commission recently released its February report showing California's LCFS increased the cost of gasoline by 16 cents per gallon and the cost of diesel by 16.6 cents per gallon, rising to an additional cost of 46 cents per gallon by 2030 and 50 cents per gallon for diesel fuel.

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At Lobby Lunch, Sen. Hobbs seeks middle ground on new transportation package

State Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens and chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, told business leaders he's willing to work with the employer community as he attempts to usher a $15 billion transportation package through the Legislature. He spoke at last week's AWB Lobby Lunch. This week's Lobby Lunch will feature Sen. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle and chair of the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee.

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Report: Washington's tax structure brings in considerable revenues

Washington state taxpayers pay an average of $5,050 per person. That's higher than the national average of $4,946 and puts Washington at the 17th highest taxes paid per capita in the nation. The Washington Research Council detailed these numbers in response to a recent erroneous media report that said, "Washington's taxes are low compared to other states, on average." The facts say otherwise.


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Competitiveness Matters


State won 'economic lottery;' it doesn't need new taxes

By Kris Johnson and Steve Mullin

Imagine winning the lottery tomorrow. You'd have $10 million to spend on whatever you wanted in an instant.

Of course, the prudent thing would be to get a financial adviser and plan for the future. Ensure you have a strong foundation and adequate savings, then decide what you can splurge on. This scenario is not unlike the position our state finds itself in after years of economic recovery and expansion.

Economic and tax revenue growth in Washington state has been extraordinary over the last decade.

So much so that state and local tax growth in Washington was the highest in the nation from 2015 to 2016. The state expects tax collections will top $50 billion for the first time during the next two-year budget cycle. That's $4 billion more than the last cycle and nearly $11 billion more than it had in 2015-17.

Washington has leveraged this growth to invest in important programs, dramatically increasing state funding for public education, for example.

But we need to recognize that this lottery-like period of growth is far from normal. And it has come at a time when Washington also steadily increased the cost of doing business here...

Read the guest commentary in The (Everett) Herald
Competitiveness Matters


Former Rep. Chandler: Inslee threat to prosperity

By Charles H. Featherstone in The Columbia Basin Herald

MOSES LAKE -- Gary Chandler has a message for Gov. Jay Inslee.

"Don't take away our opportunity to be competitive."

The drive for 100 percent clean energy would deprive the Pacific Northwest of its competitive edge on power prices, and the governor's proposed $4 billion in new taxes would hit the state's small business people particularly hard, Chandler said.

"The economy is good, but the economy is starting to slow," Chandler said. "Don't spend everything, don't tax everything."

Read the full story about Chandler's recent talk in The Columbia Basin Herald
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