June 10, 2019
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Minimum overtime-exempt salary would jump to nearly $80,000 by 2026 under new L&I proposal

Washington could more than triple the salary threshold for overtime-exempt employees under a proposal released last week. The rule would require employers to pay salaried employees at least $79,872 per year by the time the rule is fully implemented. The current rule needed updating, AWB President Kris Johnson said, but he called the proposal "an astonishing increase" over the current overtime rule and predicted it will be a shock to many small businesses and nonprofits.

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Calls emerge for Ex-Im Bank's reauthorization to be extended to 10 years

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck issued a strong call for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank during a congressional hearing last week. At the same time, supporters of the bank called for it to be reauthorized for 10 years, rather than the three to five years normally allotted. Sen. Maria Cantwell also spoke in support of the Ex-Im Bank in a Spokesman-Review op-ed published yesterday. Without congressional action, this aid to American manufacturing exporters will lose its authorization in September.

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Boeing invested $14 billion in Washington state in 2018

The latest numbers are out, and Boeing's impact in Washington continues to be a major pillar in the state's economy. Boeing invested over $14 billion in Washington last year, including $8 billion in payroll, $5 billion in supplier purchases, millions in charitable contributions and hundreds of millions of dollars in state and local taxes paid.

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Calculating the hit to employers from new state taxes

The Legislature passed a slate of new and increased taxes this year. A new set of business & occupations taxes on service-sector employers will have a major impact. AWB has put together a graphic showing the extent of the new taxes -- how many employers will pay, and the dollar amount per industry sector.

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Congressman Denny Heck to speak at Housing Forum July 8

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck will give the opening remarks at the Housing Forum to be held July 8 in Bellevue. He'll be joined by experts on housing affordability and access as AWB and nine other diverse business and statewide advocacy groups join forces. The goal: to bring together problem-solvers from across the state and political spectrum to make headway on ensuring affordable housing for the workforce and families in all the state's communities. Register today!

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Evening of Excellence and Manufacturing Excellence award nominations due by June 30

It's time to nominate Washington's top employers for AWB's annual awards. The Evening of Excellence and Manufacturing Excellence awards are a chance to showcase excellence and best practices. From entrepreneurship to green manufacturing, it's time to shine. Learn more and nominate your company or another outstanding employer today.

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Housing Forum
Manufacturing Solutions

A way forward on immigration

By Edmund O. Schweitzer III and Jay Timmons

Manufacturers are in the business of building solutions. When we see a need to be filled or a problem to be solved, manufacturers go to work innovating and making the products that improve our daily lives. But we don't stop there. When we see our nation facing a challenge, we don't just call on our legislators to fix it; we also provide solutions.

That's exactly what manufacturers have done to help fix our nation's broken immigration system. Earlier this year, the National Association of Manufacturers released "A Way Forward," a plan for comprehensive immigration reform that bolsters border security while strengthening the economy and providing certainty for those immigrants who are anxious about their future...

Legislation soon up for a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives and similar bills recently introduced in the U.S. Senate would provide a solution for these two populations, and manufacturers are calling on Congress to act swiftly. While this is not a comprehensive solution, these bills are a way to move our nation one step closer to a more functional immigration system, and for that reason, they should command strong, bipartisan support. It is simply the right thing to do...

Read the full op-ed in The Spokesman-Review
Unsustainable Budget Growth

State budget growth puts Washington in tight spot during next downturn

By AWB President Kris Johnson

State government will spend more than $52.8 billion over the next two years. This is an increase of about 18.3 percent over the previous two-year budget and one of the biggest increases in the last 25 years.

It's true there are many competing demands for resources, but lawmakers had $5.6 billion more to work with, before raising taxes. Rather than look for cost savings, they chose to raise more than $1 billion in new taxes.

It's a safe bet that most Washington families and small businesses did not increase their spending by 18.3 percent this year. This pace of expansion is unsustainable. When the tax collections drop, that usually means painful budget cuts and more tax increases.

Lawmakers made progress on important issues this year, but it came at a high cost. As they work through the interim and prepare for the next budget, our hope is that lawmakers will tap the brakes and slow the growth in state spending.

Washington has enjoyed years of strong economic growth, but we need to be prepared for the next downturn.

Read the full op-ed in The Wenatchee World
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