March 23, 2015
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Priority Legislation Other News AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

'Show me the money': Budget rollouts expected soon

With a month until the scheduled end of the legislative session, budget negotiations are about to hit a new level of intensity with the anticipated release of the House Democratic budget.
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House to hear transportation funding bills Thursday

Two major pieces of the bipartisan transportation package will be up for their first hearing in the House of Representatives this Thursday afternoon. AWB will lead panels of employers to testify.
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Differing carbon reduction plans range from job-costing carbon price to greener investment in state

While plans to cap-and-trade or tax carbon would cost the economy and consumers, a different proposal to reduce carbon -- SB 5735 -- would allow power companies to invest in Washington to meet the requirements of I-937, boosting the economy and reducing carbon emissions at the same time.
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Legendary auto executive Bob Lutz to speak on leadership at Spring Meeting

Registrations are now open for the May 12-13 AWB Spring Meeting at the historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane. Bob Lutz, who worked at BMW and all Big Three automakers, retiring as vice chairman of General Motors, will give the keynote address on leadership.
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Leadership Washington visits Vancouver; applications being accepted for 2015-16 class

Leadership Washington members visited Vancouver and Portland last week as the latest leg of their yearlong statewide tour of the region's industries. As this class prepares to graduate at AWB's Spring Meeting on May 12, the AWB Institute is now accepting registrations for membership in the 2015-16 Leadership Washington class. Read more »

Treasurer Jim McIntire gives state finances, tax system update on AWB webinar

Washington's elected treasurer, Democrat Jim McIntire, spoke to AWB members Friday during the latest in a series of taxation webinars.
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Priority Legislation

SB 5449: Creating a tax division in the Court of Appeals

AWB continues to push for a reform that would increase the effectiveness, efficiency and expertise of the state's tax appeal system by creating a specialized division for tax appeals within the court system. The change would improve Washington's COST rating from a 'C' to an 'A-'.
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Minimum wage, paid sick leave to be heard in Senate March 30

House bills that would raise the state's minimum wage to $12 an hour and would mandate paid sick leave will be heard in the Senate Commerce & Labor Committee next Monday.
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SB 5510: Creating a workers' compensation benefits study group

A hearing this week will offer the chance for input on a bill that creates a working group to develop recommendations on simplifying the calculation of workers' compensation benefits.
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SB 5921: Preserving common-law interpretation of the vesting rights doctrine

Senate Bill 5921 is scheduled for a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
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SB 5511: Reducing the frequency of sales and use tax changes

AWB testified last week on a proposal to reduce how often local sales and use taxes can be changed.
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HB 1645: 95 percent tax on vaping products

Hundreds of people came to a hearing last week on a proposal to tax e-cigarettes. Nearly all were opposed to the bill.
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HB 2166: Federal Internet Tax Freedom Act

House Bill 2166, which would prevent the state from automatically creating a tax on Internet access, will be up for a public hearing this week.
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SB 6019: Adjudicative proceedings by state agencies

Senate Bill 6019 works to address concerns over possible undue influence over a judge in the Office of the Insurance Commissioner last year.
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HB 1472: Chemical Action Plans

AWB is bringing the employer community's perspective to a bill on use of Chemical Action Plans. The bill is up for a public hearing Tuesday.
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Other News

'Deep concern' after federal Treasury agents investigate Washington Auditor Troy Kelley

Gov. Jay Inslee and lawmakers have called for Auditor Troy Kelley to fully explain and cooperate with an investigation by the federal Treasury Department.
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Port slowdown cut GDP by $40 billion in just December; impacts will be felt for a long time

While cargo is finally moving again through most West Coast ports, the impact of the prolonged slowdown will leave a lasting mark.
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Statewide jobless rate holds steady at 6.3 percent

Washington employment increased by 94,700 jobs last month compared with February of 2014 and the unemployment rate remained the same last month compared with January of 2015.
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Expert tells New York Times: Shutting down Ex-Im Bank will empower China, especially in Africa

The Export-Import Bank, formed during the depths of the Great Depression, is "critical, now more than ever," a Brookings Institution expert writes in the New York Times.
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Chairman of the Crow Tribe calls for input on coal export terminals

The Crow Tribe in Montana is asking for input into decisions about permitting of export terminals for coal and other bulk commodities in Washington, saying the terminals are vital for tribes living on coal-rich lands.
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AWB accepting board of directors nominations

Nominations are open to serve on AWB's board of directors. Help guide Washington's largest and oldest business advocacy organization by nominating today.
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AWB Events & Resources

Labor law update on franchises, handbook policies, one-day strikes and ambush elections

This update on the latest in NLRB decisions and labor law is scheduled for May 28. Registration is now open for this event.
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Workers' compensation best practices webinar: How to spot red flags and when to hire an attorney

Your company can face huge expenses by failing to fight unwarranted workers' compensation claims. AWB's "Best Practices" webinar will teach employers how to spot red flags and when it pays to hire an attorney. Read more »

Tweet of the Week


They Said It

A Heavy Tax Burden on Businesses

"We really have to take a look at the competitveness of our tax system." ~ Treasurer Jim McIntire, speaking in an AWB's taxation webinar Friday. He said Washington's B&O tax system is burdensome compared to other states.

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Our Voice: Inslee's Cap and Trade a Bad Idea for Washington

By The Tri-City Herald Editorial Board

Our state's governor has made it clear he is a champion of the environment.

Good for him. We're all for stewardship of the earth and making our world a better place for all those who inhabit it.

But Gov. Inslee's job starts at home -- in the state that elected him to represent all of its residents.

And for a former Eastern Washington guy, Inslee sure seems to have forgotten those who live on this side of the state. Nowhere is that more apparent than in his cap-and-trade proposal.

Click here for the full editorial in The Tri-City Herald

Don't let political games kill Export-Import Bank

By The News Tribune Editorial Board

The bank's critics say they don't like seeing taxpayers subsidize corporations, but in fact the Ex-Im operates on fees charged to its users. It actually makes money for the U.S. Treasury -- $6.9 billion in the past 20 years -- while helping create or support manufacturing- and trade-related jobs in thousands of American communities. Can its critics point to another federal entity that does that? ...

As the nation's economy continues to slowly recover, killing an entity that promotes jobs and trade would be a penny-stupid, pound-foolish move.
Click here for the full column in The Seattle Times
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