May 6, 2019
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It's here! Join us in Spokane for Spring Meeting this Wednesday

There is still time to reserve your spot at the AWB Spring Meeting this Wednesday in Spokane. Join United Nations ambassador and governor Nikki Haley, economist Bill Conerly, top state legislative leaders, innovative CEOs, transportation experts and more at the Davenport Grand. Register now!

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Updated #BuildWA report highlights the needs and opportunities with investing in Washington's infrastructure

As Congress and the president push forward on a possible $2 trillion infrastructure bill, AWB and other leading state groups are ready with an up-to-date look at Washington's infrastructure needs -- and the opportunities that come with addressing them.

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A deeper look at the legislative session

With the Legislature adjourning as the clock struck midnight on the last day of the session, the dust is still settling around the state's largest budget in history, fueled by a slate of new taxes on businesses and others. As analysts examine the details of the 2019 legislative session, details are emerging about its impact. The Seattle Times concluded that lawmakers advanced some important policies, but the progress came at a "breathtaking cost."

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Strong national jobs report highlights lowest national unemployment rate in 49 years

Employers added 263,000 jobs in April as the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to a five-decade low of 3.6%. (By comparison, Washington's statewide March unemployment was 4.6%.) The tight job market is leading to increased wages, as average hourly pay increased 3.2% from a year ago. The current economic expansion has seen 103 straight months of hiring.

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Spring edition of Washington Business magazine highlights growth and employer excellence

The new spring edition of Washington Business takes a 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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Spring Meeting
Last-Minute Legislating

Spin Control: Doing the budget the way it's always done doesn't make it the best way

By Jim Camden

Legislators are apt to defend their budget process as "this is the way it's always done." If that was a good reason, one might think we would still be hanging horse thieves, placing miscreants in the stocks and throwing debtors into prison for not paying bills, or doing any number of imperfect things we've stopped doing.

In truth, the "always done" defense is only applied by people who do it that way because it suits them.

It suits legislative leaders to hold on to the budget until the very end of the session to have some leverage over hard-to-handle lawmakers. It suits budget writers from each chamber to sequester themselves somewhere away from the madding crowd of colleagues and lobbyists to avoid being pestered for everyone's favorite six-, seven-, or eight-figure project. And then there's always that familiar refrain that negotiators can't speak freely if discussions are in the open, because they might be criticized for suggesting something that doesn't sit well with the folks back home, even if it does break a logjam that leads to the deal.

This process keeps the people and businesses who will pay for all the programs and salaries out of the loop for most of the key decision points...

Read the full column in The Spokesman-Review
Talent and Capital

The Seattle-area economy punches above its weight -- and that's a huge strength

By Jon Talton, The Seattle Times

Newcomers -- and there are many -- might think that the Puget Sound region's economy is so hot because of two Big Tech headquarters, along with the "legacy" power of Boeing.

It's understandable. Amazon and Microsoft are two of the five giants that make up America's technology royalty (Apple, Facebook and Google are in the Bay Area). We're on the cutting edge of software, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and so much more.

Boeing's operations, especially commercial airliners, anchor one of the world's top aerospace clusters (the other being Airbus in Toulouse, France). The company is not only the nation's largest manufacturing exporter, but also, especially with its defense divisions, a strategic asset.

Together, the three employ about 166,000 here in well-paid, high-skilled jobs. Boeing is Washington's largest private employer, with a workforce of 69,830 as of February.

It's hard to think of another similar-sized metropolitan area in the United States with anything close.

But this is only a start in explaining why Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue enjoys one of the strongest economies in the nation. How strong? Per capita gross domestic product, adjusted for inflation, was nearly $81,000 in 2017. That compares with $61,000 in San Diego and $63,000 in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Larger Phoenix lagged in at $45,000...

Read the full column in The Seattle Times
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