June 28, 2019
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Advocacy

Graphic highlights impact from new taxes

The professionals that anchor our communities -- architects, engineers, attorneys, and doctors -- will pay the bulk of the increase in B&O taxes that lawmakers approved this year.

That's one of the key takeaways from a new AWB graphic that we're inviting you to customize by adding your chamber logo and then share with your members. Feel free to download it today.

A big part of our work at AWB is communicating with employers about how the Legislature impacts their business. This graphic highlights the real impact of House Bill 2158, breaking down by industry sector who pays and how much.

''This was the biggest tax bill of the session, impacting the most taxpayers,'' said Clay Hill, AWB government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy.''The one-pager shows that Main Street business bears the primary burden -- the fiscal impact numbers tell another narrative than the one in initial press coverage of this bill being about the tech sector stepping up to fund higher ed.''

For instance, Hill also noted that as the bill was being written, revised and debated, AWB's Government Affairs team brought up information and advocated for clarification on details of how the tax would be administered, resulting in amendments that save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. The total savings comes to more than $331 million by 2025.

By doing so, the AWB Government Affairs team's firm advocacy on education policy set the table for where investments should be directed: workforce development.

To learn more, contact AWB's Clay Hill.

Need help with adding your logo to this graphic, or other technical advice? Contact AWB's Andrew Lenderman at 360.943.1600 or AndyL@awb.org.



Public comment now open for new overtime rules

New overtime rules announced by the state Department of Labor & Industries could have a big impact on Washington employers, especially nonprofits and small businesses. Now's a great time to speak up during the public hearing process, and reach out to local employers that may be impacted.

Thousands of professional salaried employees in Washington state could be converted into hourly workers if the new rules go into effect.

Some workers may see a pay cut. Or, employees could end up making about the same salary, or perhaps more if overtime pay is added to their base pay.

As Jim Camden in the Spokesman-Review wrote,''By 2026, a salaried executive, administrative or professional worker would have to be making nearly $80,000 per year to be exempt from overtime pay after working more than 40 hours in a work week. That's 2.5 times the current salary that can exempt those workers from overtime pay.''

Of course there's no guarantee that Washington's employers can afford this. Also, as AWB President Kris Johnson has pointed out, the new rules could trigger several unintended consequences including less flexible schedules, fewer opportunities to advance, and big impacts to the bottom line that could force cuts in services.

The first public hearing kicks off Monday, July 15 in Tumwater, followed by hearings in Seattle on Tuesday, July 16 and in Bellingham on Wednesday, July 17. Click here for times and more details. 

You can also send comments via email at EAPrules@lni.wa.gov, or by mail to the Employment Standards Program, P.O. Box 44510, Olympia, WA, 98504-4510. 

In August, there are hearings in Ellensburg, Kennewick and Spokane from Aug. 5-7. Stay tuned for more details. To learn more, receive talking points and get involved, please contact Bob Battles at BobB@awb.org.



Join the conversation at July 8 Housing Forum

The lack of good workforce housing is making the news almost every day in Washington. From Pullman to Seattle to Thurston County, community leaders are debating the best way to move forward.

Washington employers can join the conversation and help create new solutions at this year's Housing Forum. Please join us and nine other leading Washington organizations July 8 at the Hilton Bellevue for a full day of panel discussions and brainstorming.

The event will include keynote addresses from experts in growth management and housing markets, panels that will dive into cost drivers and the legislative outlook, and several breakout sessions.

The affordable housing crisis won't solve itself. That's why AWB has joined forces with the Association of Washington Cities, the Building Industry Association of Washington, Greater Spokane Inc., the Rental Housing Association of Washington, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber, the Washington Public Ports Association, Washington Realtors, the Washington Roundtable and the Washington State Association of Counties to advance the conversation.

Register today.



Need a Speaker?

AWB's issue experts happy to help

AWB's Government Affairs team and President Kris Johnson are happy to hit the road and travel to your chamber to share the latest insights and information about what's happening in Olympia and our nation's capitol.

The AWB team is available throughout 2019 to meet with your members to discuss issues that impact economic growth and opportunity in your community. Contact Bonnie Millikan or Vice President, Government Affairs Gary Chandler at 360.943.1600 to arrange a speaker.


Events

Registration now open for Federal Affairs Summit

Federal issues from immigration to infrastructure and international trade impact Washington employers everyday. That's why it's critical that Washington businesses engage with our federal delegation and government agencies.

Please join us at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in the Tri-Cities for our 2019 Federal Affairs Summit this Aug. 19 and 20.

We'll have great discussions, and networking, with our state's congressional delegation and the many Washington companies that power our state's economy.

Register here or contact Jacob Sodeman at JacobS@awb.org for more information.



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On the Road with Rich

By Rich Hadley, coordinator, AWB Grassroots Alliance

VANCOUVER -- We had sunny skies and some of the best scenery in America when my wife Rita and I left Vancouver last April.

We were in Vancouver for AWB's Executive Committee meeting. Once that was done, we left to cover Southwest Washington and meet local chamber of commerce directors as we headed east across the state to our home in Spokane. My goal was to connect more local chambers with AWB's Grassroots Alliance, a winning partnership for Washington's employer community.

What a great trip. We started on State Route 14 on the north side of the Columbia River. It was a beautiful day as we travelled the gorge, passing by Skamania, North Bonneville and The Bridge of the Gods.

Our first stop was in Stevenson, where we met with Angie Waiss, executive director of the Skamania County Chamber of Commerce. I wanted to be sure and thank her for joining recently. It's great to meet new executives, and so much fun to put a face with a name.

That night we had a tasty beverage at Everybody's Brewing in White Salmon, and tried the amazing Goan Curry Chicken at Henni's Kitchen and Bar. I definitely recommend both.

The next morning, we continued on to Goldendale, north of the river on U.S. Highway 97. We had amazing views of Mt. Adams and dozens of beautiful farms with wheat, hay and vineyards. You could really see the diversity of the area's economy with tourism, timber and agriculture.

We stopped at the Greater Goldendale Area Chamber of Commerce, and met some helpful folks. But we missed Executive Director Dana Peck, and left a message.

Next, we moved on to Toppenish, which is a place I've never stopped before. What an interesting town. There are more than 70 murals in Toppenish that feature historical scenes from the region's Old West past.

I stopped in to say hello to Paul Newman, executive director of the Toppenish Chamber of Commerce.

Like many people in our Grassroots Alliance, Paul is the only paid staffer for the town's chamber. He's fun to talk to and serves as a great example of the kind of community spirit that really provides strong roots for Washington's private sector.

I told Paul maybe I could answer his first question -- it's free. There's no cost for local chambers to join the Grassroots Alliance. AWB is here to offer technical assistance, support and information, and the local chambers can be our eyes and ears on the ground to help us understand how we can help employers in all communities. Paul signed up right away.

On the way home to Spokane, Dana Peck from Goldendale called. Turns out he's from Iowa, like me. We started talking about the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones, and the next thing you know he signed up too.

I've found over many years in business and public life that if you engage people, and start asking questions, there are so many times you have something in common. And isn't that what we wish we had in our politics today?

By the time we got home, we had three new members of the Grassroots Alliance. Today our total is 87. I'm really proud to help get this project off the ground, and connect with so many great advocates for Washington's employers and entrepreneurs. Together we can accomplish great things, and build a strong future for our state.