April 1, 2019
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Nikki Haley, former U.N. ambassador, to give keynote address at Spring Meeting

AWB's Spring Meeting in Spokane will feature a keynote from Nikki Haley, the former United States ambassador to the United Nations. Prior to serving as America's 29th permanent representative to the U.N., Haley was elected twice to serve as governor of South Carolina. Her keynote address, sponsored by Boeing, will mark the second time that AWB's Spring Meeting has been held in the Davenport Grand hotel's spacious ballroom.

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Senate Democrats unveil $52.2 billion budget plan with new taxes

The Senate majority offered its budget proposal on Friday, setting the stage for final negotiations over the next two-year state spending plan. Senate Democrats would spend $52.2 billion, with new funding from real-estate excise taxes, closing tax incentives, and using a new capital gains tax to lower some other taxes for small employers and families.

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AWB's Clay Hill on TVW's The Impact: Building a budget on capital gains tax is 'extraordinarily reckless'

Clay Hill, AWB's government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy, appeared on TVW last week to discuss the House budget proposal. Hill, speaking on The Impact, took note of the need for Washington to remain competitive, and the costs that come with higher taxes.

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Newspaper ads in Spokane, Port Angeles, Longview and Vancouver tell lawmakers: $5.6 billion in rising tax revenue is enough

AWB and local chambers of commerce joined forces again this weekend to publish a series of newspaper ads questioning the need for new and higher taxes at a time when the state budget continues to grow at a significant rate. The ads note that tax revenues are already up by $5.6 billion, and yet lawmakers are calling for an additional $1.4 billion in new and higher taxes.

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AWB Action Alert: Oppose HB 1110, the costly Low-Carbon Fuel Standard

A Low-Carbon Fuel Standard bill will be up for a public hearing this Thursday. AWB is encouraging employers to weigh in on the LCFS bill, which would increase fuel prices and drive up the cost of consumer goods. To learn more about the bill or to sign up to testify this Thursday, contact AWB's Mike Ennis.

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House Transportation budget hits $10 billion mark for the first time

The House and Senate have both released their biennial transportation budgets. Neither proposal would increase taxes. The House budget crosses the $10 billion mark for the first time. The Senate version would spend $9.8 billion over the next two years on a variety of upkeep and priority projects. They would also allocate money for some culvert replacement.

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Rep. Fitzgibbon shares his passion to address climate change at AWB's final Lobby Lunch

The chair of the House Environment and Energy Committee, Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, discussed carbon, energy and other issues at AWB's final Lobby Lunch meeting of the year.

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Spring Meeting
A Better Way Forward

Four reforms to rein in state spending, avoid higher taxes

By Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn

Last week, House Democrats unveiled their $53 billion state operating budget proposal for the upcoming 2019-21 biennium. Unsurprisingly, their budget dramatically increases state spending -- funded by new taxes on businesses, home sales and capital income -- proving yet again that it's easy to spend money that isn't yours.

All told, their proposal grows spending by more than $8.5 billion beyond current levels. For context, when I was first elected in 2014, the state budget spent $33.7 billion. Between economic growth and new taxes, state revenue will have increased by about 57 percent in five years.

Has your salary grown by 57 percent since 2014? Probably not, as average annual wage growth is hovering below 4 percent.

Structural issues are largely responsible for this alarming rate of budget growth. Each year, lawmakers enact all sorts of new programs and services, predicated on promises of long-term savings and improved social and health outcomes. Once enacted, these programs are almost always automatically funded in subsequent years, with virtually no oversight or review by the Legislature.

The result: spending persistently outpaces revenue, enabling our most essential services to be held hostage in exchange for new taxes.

There is a better way...

Read the full guest editorial in The Seattle Times
Facts From the Tri-Cities

Salmon and dams can coexist

By Kennewick May Don Britain; Pasco Mayor Matt Wakins; Richland Mayor Robert Thompson; and West Richland Mayor Brent Gerry

For more than 20 years. there has been an ongoing debate about the impact of the four Snake River dams on the Pacific Northwest's salmon population. Since the 1970s, billions of dollars have been spent to upgrade the dams and to improve salmon habitat.

The results? According to the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the average number of returning salmon and steelhead are more than double what they were when counts first began when the Bonneville Dam started operations in 1938. Despite this clear evidence that dams and fish can coexist, the debate continues.

More recently, the struggles of the southern resident orca population have further stoked the debate. No one disagrees that the health and future of the orca population must be preserved. However, the numbers clearly show that removing the dams will not save the orcas...

Ironically, at the same time there is a push for the Washington state Legislature to fund this study on the impacts of removing the dams, there are also several bills to push for carbon reduction. If the goal in Washington is to reduce carbon, the existing clean hydropower resources play an essential role in keeping our air clean. These dams generate some of the cheapest, most reliable, carbon-free electricity in the Pacific Northwest...

Read the full guest column in The Seattle Times
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