July 15, 2019
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Top Stories

Employers speak up on impact of major overtime-exempt salary change at first of several public hearings

As public hearings begin on a major increase in the salary threshold for overtime-exempt workers, AWB and employers were present in force today to speak out about the creation of a "super minimum wage." Hearings continue tomorrow in Seattle and then across the state. Read AWB's new issue brief on the topic or contact Bob Battles to learn more about how to speak up on this proposal to set the overtime-exempt salary threshold at $79,872 by 2026.

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Seattle income tax set for Supreme Court showdown after key lower court ruling

A new Court of Appeals ruling today seems primed to send Seattle's income tax measure to the state Supreme Court. The appeals court ruling struck down Seattle's 2017 local income tax as unconstitutional -- but the court also declared a 1984 state law banning local income taxes as unconstitutional.

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Forum aims to find common ground on housing affordability and access

With new housing stock failing to keep pace with Washington's fast-growing population -- especially at the entry-level rung of the housing ladder -- the state faces a housing crisis. There was consensus on that point at last week's Housing Forum, and plenty of ideas on how to tackle the problem. With lawmakers from both parties meeting with employers, government and academic leaders, the Housing Forum was a time to move forward on a crucial issue. Watch this video roundup of a unique event.

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Alaska Airlines and Sea-Tac unveil new North Satellite Terminal

The Port of Seattle unveiled eight new gates and a 15,800-square-foot lounge for Alaska Airlines passengers last week during a big ceremony at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It's the first phase of the North Satellite Terminal expansion project to upgrade and expand the fast-growing airport.

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'What just happened to me?': AWB joins tax panel to discuss legislative tax hit to employers

Employers like tax policy expert Rachel Le Mieux and AWB's tax and fiscal policy expert, Clay Hill, spoke today during the first-ever Washington State Tax Conference, held at Washington State University. Among the panel discussions was a recap of this year's legislative session called "What Just Happened to Me"

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Other News

SEL helps Nucor Steel with major electrical upgrade project

The nation's largest steel producer recently cut the standard commissioning time by more than 40 percent with an innovative solution from Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.

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AWB to join screening of 'No Small Thing' for talk on early childhood education

AWB will join Child Care Aware of Washington this week for a discussion on increasing access to accessible, quality childcare. AWB's Amy Anderson will be part of a panel discussion connected with a screening of "No Small Matter," a documentary about early childhood education.

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Employers sought for seat on state's Community Economic Revitalization Board

The Community Economic Revitalization Board is looking to recruit representatives from a large employer from east of the Cascades and one from west of the Cascades for open board positions.

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AWB HealthChoice includes 24/7 medical insights with Teladoc

The thousands of employers who are insured by AWB HealthChoice have access to medical care 24/7 through the Teledoc program for $45 or less per session.

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AWB Events & Resources

Get to know the people who represent you in the national government at AWB's Federal Affairs Summit

Mark your calendar for the 2019 Federal Affairs Summit. The event will be held at PNNL, operated by Battelle, Aug. 19-20 in the Tri-Cities. Your voice is essential in informing our state representatives about the policies and initiatives that will allow our state to thrive, so secure your spot to #ConnectWithCongress on federal policy that may impact your business. Registration is now open!

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Rep. Jake Fey to meet with AWB Transportation Committee on July 29

The AWB Transportation Committee will welcome state Rep. Jake Fey, D-Tacoma, during a meeting at AWB on July 29 at 1 p.m. Fey will provide an update on the transportation budget. There will also be committee discussions on the latest $30 car tab initiative, and the Road Use Charge pilot project. Contact Mike Ennis, AWB government affairs director for transportation and infrastructure, to learn more.

Tweet of the Week

Seeking Housing Solutions Together

They Said It

Housing Crunch

"Do you want that future for Washington, because that's currently the trajectory. It's called California. It's up to you and the people in this room to decide if that's what you want." ~ James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research, giving the keynote address at last week's Housing forum in Bellevue.

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Housing Forum Roundup
Time to Revise the GMA

Desirability doesn't have to be mixed blessing

By The Columbian Editorial Board

... the Growth Management Act should be revisited. As a 2016 guest opinion in The Seattle Times stated: "Ultimately, there is a point where a growth plan must be aligned with market realities. Rigid adherence to growth targets at a time when we are experiencing a dearth in land supply and far-greater-than-expected population growth is simply irresponsible."

In larger counties, demand has outpaced supply, leading to stressed housing markets and resulting in sharp price increases. In addition to many residents being priced out of the market and having to move elsewhere, the situation has contributed to a growing homelessness crisis in urban areas...

Read the full editorial in The Columbian
Helping Open Access to Higher Ed

Give our youth the support they need to grasp the rewards of a postsecondary education

By Suzanne Johnson (president of Green River College) and Alan Spicciati (superintendent of the Auburn School District)

Our region's rapidly changing and vibrantly growing economy requires education beyond high school. Whether a college degree or a career credential, postsecondary education and professional training is necessary to secure a living wage job and a meaningful career. We owe it to the students growing up in South King County to prepare them for careers and employment opportunities in their communities.

This is why Washington state set a goal for 70% college completion by the year 2030. Readers might think King County is steadily reaching that goal, but in reality, we are not even close.

In South King County, where our institutions call home, less than one third of our residents finish a two- or four-year degree by their mid-20s. And if you look more closely by race, household income and if a student is first in his or her family to attend college, postsecondary graduation rates are even more disheartening. Leaving this problem unaddressed fuels displacement of communities, exacerbates income inequality and increases unacceptable racial disparities.

The good news is that the overwhelming majority of high school students want to go to college. A recent Road Map Project report shows 96% of South King County high school students say they want to continue their education after high school. What they are not getting is adequate support and guidance to accomplish this goal. Getting students the support they need to achieve their dreams and contribute to our community will take a major investment...

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times