April 29, 2019
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Legislature ends on time -- barely -- with 17 percent spending increase

Lawmakers passed a $52.4 billion budget with just minutes to spare on Sunday night, ending a fast-paced week that saw many Democratic priorities enacted into law. State spending increases by 17.5 percent in the next budget, with new taxes on businesses and fresh authority for schools to run higher levies. Overall, state spending increases $8 billion from the last budget.

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'Levy lid lift' adds new taxing authority for local districts, with some new oversight

With many school districts poised for teacher layoffs, lawmakers heeded a call to give higher local school levy taxing authority. Supporters say the bill was crucial; detractors say it returns to a system that gives more money to richer districts, with a return to the McCleary days of unequal, inadequate state funding of education.

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Transportation and capital budgets pass with bipartisan support

Both sides of the aisle worked together on capital and transportation budgets. These bipartisan bills pay for new infrastructure across the state and stand in sharp contrast to the large partisan budget passed in the final hours of the session.

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Lunch keynote announced, plus more on what to look forward to at Spring Meeting

The newly announced Spring Meeting lunch keynote, Northwest economist Bill Conerly, Ph.D., will provide insights from over 30 years of experience helping companies thrive in changing economic conditions. The May 8 keynote speaker will be Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2017-19. These and other policy-makers and business leaders at AWB's 2019 Spring Meeting will have new information and ideas to help you and your business succeed. Register now!

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Spring edition of Washington Business magazine is in the mail

AWB's magazine is coming to your mailbox. The spring edition of Washington Business takes a close look at AWB's multi-year Grow Here employer image campaign. It also kicks off a new series, "How I Did It," with a profile of Seattle Chocolate CEO Jean Thompson. There's an interview with Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier, a look at education and workforce, and much more. You can also read it online.

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AWB's Clay Hill looks at ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness of state spending

Washington's state spending is up by 44 percent since the start of the Great Recession -- but accountability hasn't grown with expenditures. AWB's Clay Hill looks at some simple but important reforms to help lawmakers ensure that state spending is efficient. Read the full blog post here.

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Spring Meeting
Teaching for Tomorrow


STEM skills vital to rural students, too

By Kevin Chase, superintendent of ESD 105

In the next five years an estimated 225,465 jobs that earn a family-sustaining wage will require credentials that many of our Washingtonian students are not on track to earn. In south-central Washington, 14,455 high-paying jobs will need a credential in the next five years.

I see the chasm between education attainment and how that translates to employment and jobs. We have to make changes in our education system that allow our families and kids to visualize their path forward and to have local employers be able to recruit and train their workforce in novel ways. Career Connect Washington, a statewide initiative, is bringing together business, labor, government and education leaders so that young people have the education and skills needed to connect with high-demand, family-wage careers across Washington and in the Valley...

Even though we are an agriculture-based region we are not immune from changing workforce demands, as agriculture becomes more and more automated. Our students are ready and willing to step up to the challenge of 21st century work demands. It is up to us to prepare them...

Read the full op-ed in The Yakima Herald-Republic
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