June 10, 2019
Fast Facts
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Washington's health insurers propose record-low rate increases

Washington's health insurers have proposed average rate increases of less than 1 percent for the individual market, after several years of major increases.

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Washington is pioneering a way to help seniors age in their homes

Washington's new Long-Term Care Trust Act is making national headlines. Kaiser Health News writes that this new plan is a "pioneering experiment to help Washington state seniors age at home."

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Grays Harbor PUD passes resolution in support of dams on lower Snake River

Citing the dams' importance for providing stable, affordable electricity, the Grays Harbor Public Utilities District Board has taken a strong stance of support for the hydroelectric dams on the lower Snake River.

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Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories to build new 80,000-square-foot event center in Pullman

SEL has outgrown its current event center and has announced plans to build a new event center on the company's Pullman campus. The event center will total 80,000 square feet and would be available for community use as well.

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Rep. Derek Stanford is the top pick of party leaders to fill seat of former Sen. Guy Palumbo

In the 1st Legislative District, Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, is the top choice of Democratic party leaders to fill the seat recently vacated by Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby. The party also ranked candidates to fill Stanford's seat, should he be chosen for the Senate seat. The final choice is up to the elected leaders in King and Snohomish counties.

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Applications open until June 30 for Don C. Brunell Scholarships

There is still time for the children or grandchildren of AWB members to apply for the 2019 Don C. Brunell Scholarship for Future Leaders. The scholarship, in honor of AWB's longtime former president, can fund up to $2,000 for students attending undergraduate, graduate or career/vocational programs.

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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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