May 20, 2019
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Housing Forum announced for July 8, with focus on affordable workforce housing solutions

In an unprecedented collaboration, AWB and nine other diverse business and statewide advocacy groups are joining forces to host a forum on housing availability and affordability July 8 in Bellevue. The forum will bring together problem-solvers from across the state and political spectrum to make headway on ensuring affordable housing for workforce and families in all the state's communities. Register today!

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Nearly 40 lawmakers from both parties ask Gov. Inslee to veto sales tax increase aimed at border communities

Employers and chambers are being urged to contact Gov. Jay Inslee to ask him to veto a tax that would hit retailers and employers in border communities. The provision would end the sales tax exemption on out-of-state shoppers, creating a competitive disadvantage for businesses on this side of the state border.

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Snake River dam removal would be a serious problem for hydropower and ag, with little help for salmon and orcas

U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., hosted a discussion last week and answered questions from about 100 attendees about salmon, energy, transportation and the lower Snake River dams. Their conclusion: removing dams wouldn't really help salmon and orcas, and would hurt a vast swath of the region.

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Budget analysis shows 18% state tax and spending increases 'unlikely to be sustainable'

The Washington Research Council's latest policy brief looks at the state's newly approved $52.9 billion budget. That is 18.3% bigger than the current budget and the biggest increase in at least 25 years. After four years of double-digit spending increases in Olympia, the next economic downturn is likely to make this budget unsustainable, the researchers conclude.

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Employers and farmers applaud EPA for restoring Washington's 2016 water quality rules

Washington state can use the water quality rules it established in 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ruled. AWB, farmers and other employer advocates say that's the right decision to ensure both that waters are clean and that businesses can actually achieve the water quality standards.

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Housing Forum
Moving Backward

Gov. Inslee is wrong to flip-flop on liquefied natural-gas facility in Tacoma

By The Seatte Times Editorial Board

Gov. Jay Inslee is doing an outstanding job staying on message in his presidential campaign, making climate change his signature issue and a focus of the primaries.

But Inslee went too far last week when he pulled support for a project in Tacoma that will cut emissions and create jobs.

Early in his governorship, Inslee championed the Tacoma liquefied natural-gas (LNG) facility. That pragmatic, nuanced approach provided certainty for local companies to commit more than $500 million to a project that will substantially reduce emissions from ships sailing between Puget Sound and Alaska.

That stance no longer jibes with the current mantra of his far-left environmental base, which now advocates for halting additional fossil-fuel consumption. It also had put Inslee in conflict with one of the state's wealthiest tribes, the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, which opposed the project.

Moving goal posts late in the game may discourage companies from innovating and investing in cleaner ways of doing business, at least in Washington....

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
A New Challenge for Border Towns

Lawmakers changed the sales tax exemption. Will Oregon residents still want to shop Tri-Cities?

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

Of all the new, last-minute tax measures approved by the Legislature two weeks ago, one in particular likely will cause headaches for Mid-Columbia retailers in coming months.

Oregon residents will no longer get a sales tax exemption right away at a Tri-Cities checkout counter.

Thanks to ESSB 5997, out-of-state shoppers will have to pay the sales tax upfront, save their receipts and file for a one-time, yearly reimbursement from the state of Washington.

They will qualify only if the amount they are requesting exceeds $25.

Clay Hill, government affairs director for the Association of Washington Business, said approval of ESSB 5997 was "especially disheartening" because there was a unified voice of opposition by business and retail organizations.

Democratic lawmakers are betting they will raise $53 million for a two-year budget from out-of-state shoppers who don't turn in their paperwork or who don't meet the $25 minimum threshold.

But it is the border communities that will pay the biggest price for the tax grab, and it isn't right to put the burden primarily on the edges of the state.

Read the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald
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