July 22, 2019
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Top Stories

AWB and employers speak up at public hearings against new 'super minimum wage' overtime proposal

Raising the state's overtime-exempt salary threshold to nearly $80,000 will make it difficult for nonprofits to fulfill their missions. That was one of messages delivered to state officials last week as hearings began on a proposal that would link overtime to the minimum wage, creating a new "super minimum wage."

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Political fights intensify over constitutionality of income tax in Washington

State Sen. Steve O'Ban, R-University Place, called on Attorney General Bob Ferguson to defend a 1984 state law prohibiting cities from levying an income tax, after an appeals court unexpectedly declared the law unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the bigger question of whether Washington's Constitution bans an income tax remains a question for the state Supreme Court.

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Transportation Commission considers pay-by-the-mile charge as gas tax revenue declines

Electric, hybrid and high-efficiency vehicles are good for the environment and the pocketbook, but they are hurting the state's transportation fund, which is directly linked to gasoline consumption through the gas tax. To bulk up the transportation fund, the state Transportation Commission will vote later this year on a proposed pay-per-mile system.

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New speakers confirmed for Federal Affairs Summit August 19-20

Hear from U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and U.S. Reps. Dan Newhouse, Derek Kilmer and Kim Schrier at this year's Federal Affairs Summit. The event will be held at PNNL, operated by Battelle, Aug. 19-20 in the Tri-Cities. This face-to-face networking opportunity is your chance to ask questions and discuss federal policy that may impact your business and industry. Come away informed. Register now online!

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Other News

State's jobless rate stays steady at 4.6 percent

The state unemployment rate held steady at 4.6 percent in June, and the state added 6,000 jobs, a new report shows.

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Amazon's contributions to Seattle: Billions and billions

Amazon has released a summary of its impact on the Seattle community after 25 years in business. Highlights include billions in employee compensation, charitable contributions and capital investments.

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WSDOT Study: Ultra-high-speed rail could have $355B economic impact

Ultra-high-speed ground transportation between Portland, through Seattle, and to Vancouver, B.C., could spur more than $355 billion in economic growth throughout the Pacific Northwest, according to a new study by the state Department of Transportation.

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AWB's communications team wins national award for AWB Amplified and AWB News

The new AWB Amplified and AWB News communications channels were honored last week at the annual meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives meeting in Long Beach, Calif. The video and digital communications channels help tell the story of employers, especially during busy times at the Legislature.

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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.

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Tweet of the Week

Time for the Trade Deal

They Said It

Advantages of No Income Tax

"I think we'll be one of only six teams in the entire league that has no state income tax. So that's going to be appealing for players to want to come and play here." ~ Ron Francis, the newly announced general manager of Seattle's new NHL team, saying that the lack of an income tax in Washington will help the team recruit players.

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Connect With Congress
Career-connected Learning

Steer our students to the many paths for productive lives

By State Sen. Lisa Wellman and State Rep. Vandana Slatter

We know that today's jobs require education beyond high school. But our graduation rate is still under 80 percent, and only 40 percent of our high school students earn a credential or degree after high school by the time they are 26 years old.

Meanwhile, businesses can't find workers with the skills they need. This means that despite the state's strong economic growth, thousands of Washington students are being left behind every single year.

The situation is serious and getting more urgent. In the next few years, Washington employers are anticipating 740,000 job openings with jobs that require technical certification, apprenticeship or college degrees. We need to get students ready...

Career Connect Washington provides a fundamental new framework for connecting students to high demand, high potential jobs, and higher education, job training and actual employment. Through a regional approach of supporting localized networks focused on the needs of our diverse state, each area of our state will be able to help students learn about, explore and prepare for their careers...

Read the full op-ed in The Seattle Times