February 16, 2015
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Priority Legislation Key Hearings/Meetings Other News AWB Events & Resources They Said It
Top Stories

The state of manufacturing is resilient and robust

NAM President Jay Timmons visits Olympia and Spokane to deliver upbeat message on manufacturing tempered with concerns that regulations and talk of higher taxes could hurt America's competitiveness.
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Bipartisan Senate bill kick-starts transportation revenue package discussions

Four high-level Senate Democrats and Republicans unveiled a $15 billion transportation package, mostly funded by an 11.7-cent gasoline tax, which would pay for major projects throughout the state, including $1.3 billion for preservation and maintenance.
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Pressure building on both sides to resolve port dispute as employers, consumers suffer

President Obama ordered his labor secretary to California on Saturday in hopes of jump-starting stalled labor negotiations between shipping companies and longshore workers. A survey of AWB members shows the dispute is impacting businesses throughout the state.
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AWB Tax Webinar series: Sign up now for upcoming conversations with Reps. Reuven Carlyle and Ross Hunter

AWB began its three-week series of webinars on the state budget and proposed tax increases with a Q&A last week with the Office of Financial Management as well as policy expert Richard Davis. Register now to hear from and ask questions of House finance leader Rep. Reuven Carlyle at this Friday's discussion. Next week's webinar will feature House budget leader Rep. Ross Hunter. Read more »

Democratic leaders take the floor for Lobby Lunch

Top House Democratic leaders addressed AWB's Lobby Lunch last Thursday, discussing the state budget, taxes and transportation as the Legislature marks the end of the first quarter of its 105-day session. Lobby lunch continues this week with discussion of transportation. Register now. Read more »

Priority Legislation

HB 1354, 1355 and 1356: Minimum wage, anti-retaliation, mandatory paid safe and sick leave

A trio of bills that would affect workplaces and employer-employee relations go before the House Appropriations Committee this afternoon. The bills would increase the state's minimum wage to $12 an hour, allow more "anti-retaliation" legal action against employers and mandate paid sick and safe leave. Read more »

HB 1314: Gov. Jay Inslee's carbon cap-and-trade program

House Bill 1314, implementing a carbon cap-and-trade program, passed out of the House Environment Committee and has been referred to the House Appropriations Committee to assess its costs to state-run universities and other parts of government. As with workplace bills and minimum wage boosts, most of the costs to the government based on this proposal would be carried by the private sector and taxpayers in general.
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HB 1394 and SB 5921: Preserving the common law interpretation of vesting rights

AWB will testify at hearings this week in House and Senate on bills preserving the common law interpretation and application of the vested rights doctrine. Read more »

SB 5449 and HB 2111: Creating a tax division of the court of appeals

House Bill 2111, a companion to Senate Bill 5449, was introduced last week in the House. The bills would reform the state's tax appeal system by creating a tax division within the court of appeals.
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Internet Tax Freedom Act for Washington state

AWB supports a consumer protection bill that would ensure Internet service in Washington is not taxed. The Internet Tax Freedom Act, which was recently extended at the federal level until October, ensures that Internet access is not taxed. If that federal law isn't renewed, Washington law would force the Department of Revenue to collect state tax. The proposed state Internet Tax Freedom Act would prevent Washington citizens from being taxed on Internet access. Contact AWB's Amber Carter to learn more.

SB 5511: Reducing the frequency of local sales and use tax changes

This AWB priority bill passed the Senate Ways & Means Committee last week and now moves on to the Senate Rules Committee.
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Key Hearings/Meetings

The AWB Health Care Committee will meet this Thursday from 3 to 4:30

AWB's Health Care Committee will meet this Thursday at AWB from 3-4:30 p.m. This is a regular meeting of the committee. Contact Sheri Nelson for more information.

Other News

Lawmakers express concern over $125 million budget request to operate health insurance exchange

The Democratic chair of the House Appropriations Committee "isn't happy" and a top Senate Republican is even less pleased with requests from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange for $125 million to run the exchange over the next two years. Read more »

Economic and Revenue Update: Washington employment, state revenues both higher than forecast

The update last week from the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council said the state's economy and state government revenue collections are looking better than expected. Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

Using Workplace Policies to Minimize Employer Liability: Training for Human Resources and Managers

Your company's policy handbook can be a great resource to ensure a well-functioning workplace -- or it can be a legal minefield. Register today for this March 18 seminar, presented by Selena Smith of Davis Grimm Payne & Marra. Read more »

They Said It

A Bright Future

"Part of my job is to inspire young people about #mfg careers but yesterday I was blown away by the young men & women of WA." ~ Jay Timmons, president and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers, tweeting about his two-day State of Manufacturing visit to Olympia and Spokane.

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Time for Olympia to clear roadblocks for a transportation package

By The Seattle Times editorial board

For at least two years, the state Legislature has been seized in an unproductive argument about whether and how to approve a multibillion-dollar transportation investment package. It's past time to end the melodrama and get the state moving again. ...

One meaningful reform would be to end the sales tax on transportation projects. Currently, $71,100 is due in sales tax for every $1 million spent on state-owned highway maintenance and improvement projects, according to a 2014 study by the Joint Transportation Committee. In taxing itself on the total contract price, Washington is an outlier nationally.

Click here for the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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