November 18, 2019
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Top Stories

Drivers, governments and transportation planners still sorting through I-976 fallout

Nearly two weeks after voters approved Initiative 976, there are several unanswered questions about the impact of the measure, which lowered car-tab taxes. State licensing officials are unsure when the lower car tabs kick in for drivers. Also, it's unclear when -- and if -- lower car-tab taxes related to Sound Transit take effect. The measure also faces legal challenges from Seattle and King County.

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AWB kicks off statewide solutions tour for child care and early childhood learning

After releasing a major report on the mounting costs of child care, AWB continues to work with state and national leaders to find solutions to ensuring quality, affordable options for child care and early childhood education. Last week AWB's Amy Anderson joined former Seattle Mayor Tim Burgess and former state Rep. Ruth Kagi in Aberdeen to kick off a statewide tour on the issue.

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Washington and Oregon governors announce new plan to replace I-5 Columbia River bridge

Governors from Washington and Oregon formalized a new partnership this morning to replace the aging Columbia River bridge along Interstate 5. The bridge, which needs safety upgrades to protect it from earthquakes, is more than 100-years-old and forms a vital link between the two states' economies.

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THIS WEEK: Join us as AWB highlights the best of Washington companies Wednesday in Seattle

Live jazz, champagne and celebration: AWB's fourth annual Evening of Excellence will be a night on the town that's not to be missed. Plus, the best of Washington businesses will be in the spotlight as we announce our 2019 annual award winners. Registration has closed and the only way to attend is to contact Paulette Beadling to get placed on the waiting list. We will see you on Wednesday!

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High-speed rail advocates push for bullet train through Pacific Northwest

Supporters are still bullish about the possibility of a new high-speed rail network connecting Vancouver, Portland and even Spokane. At the Cascadia Rail Summit, hosted by Microsoft, state and local officials described a $50 billion investment that could connect Seattle and Portland in two hours.

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Federal Issues

U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal coming together

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, reports that Democrats and the president are moving toward a deal on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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House passes bill to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would reauthorize the Export-Import Bank for another 10 years.

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Other News

Housing shortage creates new normal in Washington real estate market

Washington's real estate market continues to struggle with low inventory and strong demand. It's a great place to be a seller, perhaps, but not a buyer.

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Passages: Dale Stedman, advocate of Spokane's north-south freeway and longtime business leader, dies at 91

A man who had a tremendous influence on the shape of transportation in Spokane and eastern Washington died last week. Dale Stedman spent decades in a successful push for construction of the north-south freeway, now called the North Spokane Corridor. He was also a longtime chamber leader in Spokane.

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AWB Events & Resources

Holiday Kids' Tree: One week closer to arrival

The holidays are approaching and AWB is getting ready for this year's Holiday Kids' Tree Project. AWB members have donated more than $420,000 since 1989 to help rural families in need. New this year: Donations are now accepted online.

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Best of the Blog

AWB to raise awareness of child care challenge

AWB is reaching out to local chambers of commerce all over Washington this month and next to raise awareness about the high costs of child care, and the impact to our state economy. Read more at Olympia Business Watch.

Tweet of the Week

Employers Advocating for Families

They Said It

A Seller's Market

"It's not going to happen any time soon. The market has settled into a circadian rhythm of sorts." ~ Dick Beeson, principal managing broker at RE/MAX Northwest in Gig Harbor, on the idea that buyers could gain the upper hand in the current real estate market.

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The Holidays, and Kids' Tree, Approach
A New Path

The college-or-bust message leaves a majority of our students behind

By Tom Halverson, Special to The Seattle Times

In the past decade, Washington state has poured tremendous resources and energy into getting students ready for and directly admitted into a four-year college: structured "college-prep" curricula in most every high school; aggressive outreach programs from two- and four-year institutions; and campaigning from parents and educators pushing the necessity of a college degree.

For all of that, our best estimate is that only 40% of Washington high school freshmen will go on to get any sort of postsecondary degree. That's the high end, and it effectively shuts out at least 60% of our students, leaving them with no viable options for getting on with their lives after high school.

A 40% success rate is not a system parents or policymakers should applaud or accept...

Read the full column in The Seattle Times.
Economic Impact

Child Care Is Important Issue for the Health of Our Families and Economy

By AWB President Kris Johnson

The lack of access to affordable, high-quality child care isn't just a problem for families. A recently released report shows that it's also a major issue for employers and for the overall economy.

The report, titled "The Mounting Costs of Child Care: Impacts of Child Care Affordability and Access to Washington's Employers and Economy," found that a lack of child care is costing Washington businesses more than $2 billion per year in employee turnover or missed work. The total cost to the state economy tops more than $6.5 billion per year.

The report was developed through a collaboration of the Washington State Child Care Collaborative Task Force partners, which include the Association of Washington Business Institute, Child Care Aware of Washington, Children's Alliance, the Washington state Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Read the full column in The Chronicle.