November 25, 2019
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Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Federal Issues Other News AWB Events & Resources Key Hearings/Meetings Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Evening of Excellence shines a spotlight on state's top employers

Blackwood Builders Group took home Employer of the Year honors at AWB's best Evening of Excellence event yet. A record crowd attended this elegant awards gala that celebrated the achievements of Washington's employers.

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New video highlights need for affordable, quality child-care solutions

AWB's Amy Anderson lends the business perspective to a new video about the important conversation on access to affordable child care and the value of early childhood education. Child care is a workforce issue for today's employers, employees and families -- and quality, educational child care is a workforce issue for the youngsters who will be the workers of the future.

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Fall edition of Washington Business magazine hits mailboxes this week

Check your mailbox for the latest edition of AWB's print magazine, Washington Business. The full edition is also available to read online. The cover story digs into Washington's growing aerospace sector, including the historic creation of the first "moon buggy" here 50 years ago. Other stories cover barley malting, workforce solutions, international trade and even bug-themed license plates.

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Sound Transit to keep collecting car-tab taxes, for now

Drivers won't get holiday relief from Sound Transit anytime soon. The transit agency will continue collecting car-tab taxes despite the recent election victory of Initiative 976, which cut vehicle taxes statewide. Meanwhile, state leaders are getting ready for $478 million in cuts to the state transportation budget.

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State transportation officials to vote on pay-per-mile recommendation

The state Transportation Commission is scheduled to make recommendations to the Legislature soon on replacing the state gas tax with a new pay-per-mile system. The program could be phased in over many years, and would include options that don't rely on GPS tracking and location services.

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Federal Issues

Congress passes continuing resolution to fund government agencies

The president has signed a short-term funding bill to keep the federal government operating through Dec. 20.

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Bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act clears House Judiciary Committee

A measure to create a legal and reliable workforce for the U.S. agriculture industry has cleared a key House committee.

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Larsen introduces bill to address transportation workforce shortage

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash., is pitching a bill that would promote careers in aerospace, trucking and other critical transportation jobs. The industry faces a major workforce shortage in coming years as older workers retire.

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Other News

Initiative promoter Tim Eyman announces a run for governor

Fresh off a successful statewide tax rollback campaign, longtime initiative promoter Tim Eyman officially announced today that he will run for governor in 2020 as an independent. Incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee has already announced a run for a third term, and several Republicans are also in the race.

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No sign of recession for Washington and tax revenues still rising, economists say

The state's revenue forecast council said there's no sign of a recession on the horizon, although the state may see a slowing economy in the next few years. State tax revenues will increase by $299 million more than expected, due in part to new and higher taxes approved by the Legislature earlier this year.

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Irrigators lay out financial case for Snake River dams

The dams on the Columbia-Snake River system are invaluable to the irrigation sector, in addition to the electricity, transportation and other benefits they provide. A study from the Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association looks at the value of the dams and the costs if they were breached. The bottom line: hundreds of millions of dollars in costs and loss if even one dam is breached.

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State officials deal major setback to Kalama methanol plant

The Washington Department of Ecology said Friday further review is needed for a $2 billion methanol plant that would be built on the Columbia River near Kalama. The review could take about a year.

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AWB Events & Resources

Holiday Kids' Tree: Join us at the Capitol on Dec. 6 for a festive evening of generosity

The tree has been picked and hundreds of toys are being packed by Santa's elves. AWB is getting ready for this year's Holiday Kids' Tree Project, and the arrival of the tree to the state capitol. New this year: Donations are now accepted online.

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Land Use Committee to meet Dec. 11

State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon, D-West Seattle, will join a conference call with AWB's Land Use Committee on Dec. 11 at 1:30 p.m.. He'll be discussing a follow-up bill to last year's bill on residential building capacity, House Bill 1923. Contact AWB's Mike Ennis at 360.943.1600 to learn more and Tommy Gill for call-in information.

Tweet of the Week

Ready to roll



They Said It

Moving Forward

"I'd rather just get ahead of the game on this one ... Our job is to balance the budget and that's what we're going to try to do. ~ State Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, on transportation budget cuts as a result of Initiative 976.




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Evening of Excellence Highlights
Election Aftermath


Time for filing election challenges and grousing about ignoring 'will of the voters'

By Jim Camden, The Spokesman-Review

This is the time in the annual election cycle when people who tried but failed to defeat a ballot initiative begin filing legal challenges. It's also when people happy the initiative passed get upset and start talking about the will of the people.

The 2019 iteration has supporters of Initiative 976 calling or writing to complain about the lawsuit filed by the city of Seattle and others that contends the measure is unconstitutional.

Why should the courts get to overrule the voters, once the voters have spoken? they asked.

The answer is pretty basic to the separation of powers, which folks tend to like more when it works in their favor than when it works for the other guy...

Read the full column in The Spokesman-Review
Economic Impact


We can't afford to go down this road

By Howard Wright, chairman and founder of Seattle Hospitality Group

Transportation is a long-term, strategic investment that we make in ourselves, and it's that investment that will be gutted by the recent election results.

Currently, our mobility depends on a patchwork of local and state funding sources to move people and our economy forward. That is until I-976 took a sledgehammer to our fragile system, erasing much of our investment and creating massive uncertainty that weakens regional mobility and hurts the middle class.

To better protect our future, transportation should be funded using stable and permanent sources on which policymakers can rely...

Read the full column in The Puget Sound Business Journal