June 10, 2019
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
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Employers Improving Lives

"Dick's is what really helped launch my adulthood. Their scholarships gave me opportunities I didn't have and opened a lot of doors." ~ former Dick's Drive-In burger flipper and manager Sean Antioquia, a newly hired avionics engineer with spaceflight company Blue Origin, describing how his life changed thanks to the extensive scholarship program that Dick's offers to its employees. All employees of the Seattle-based burger restaurants who work 20 hours a week for six months and at least 20 hours a week while going to school can access $25,000 in scholarships over four years, to be used for any college, vocational or self-improvement program. Further scholarships can bring that total up to $50,000. Dick's President Jasmine Donovan said the program, dating back to the 1990s, has paid for coding boot camp, nursing, law degrees and more. "Our employees don't have to work for us forever," Donovan said. "If we can help them work toward and accomplish their longer term goals, that makes them fabulous employees. We are excited for them and whatever they are passionate about."

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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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