May 11, 2020
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Top Stories

Counties petition to go to phase 2; push continues to reopen manufacturing

With the governor laying out a phased-in approach to reopening, AWB is urging the state to safely reopen manufacturing sooner than later. With proper precautions in place, manufacturing can again lead the way for Washington's economy.

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State revenue forecast shows possible $7 billion shortfall

Washington's tax collections could fall $7 billion short of expectations through 2023 due to the impact of COVID-19 and economic shutdowns to fight the virus' spread. That preliminary estimate was released last week. It increases the likelihood of a special session.

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Unemployment claims continue to pour in; one-third of applicants haven't yet received payment

Washington state has sent out more than $2.1 billion in unemployment payments since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. There have been more than 1.4 million claims filed since early March. However, a third of applicants have not yet received payment -- and reports of fraudulent applicants are on the rise.

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Employers encouraged to look ahead, think of business differently

Several Washington employers who have successfully transitioned to more e-commerce and other changes shared their stories during AWB's Monday webinar. Listeners were encouraged to create meaningful connections with their customers, think broadly about the future and tell their story.  Read more »

U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse to speak to AWB members this Wednesday on ag issues

This Wednesday, U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse will speak on agriculture issues and other topics. The AWB webinar is free, but pre-registration is required.

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Nomination deadline extended, categories added for AWB's business excellence awards

AWB's annual awards program is a chance to celebrate and showcase all that Washington employers have to offer. This year's awards have a new name -- the Washington Excellence Awards -- and it's not too late to nominate your company. The deadline to apply has been extended to Friday, July 31.

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AWB Rebound and Recovery page offers resources for reopening

Restarting Washington's economy will be a deliberate process that will take place carefully and with worker and public safety top of mind . To help employers as they prepare to reopen, AWB is collecting resources on a new Rebound and Recovery page.

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Federal Issues

Proposed bill would include chambers of commerce and other 501(c)(6) nonprofits in Paycheck Protection Program eligibility

Chambers of commerce would be eligible for Paycheck Protection Program funds under a congressional bill co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-WA, and other bipartisan lawmakers.

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Other News

Direct payments, tax credits and other federal tax resources can help employers weather the storm

The Internal Revenue Service is highlighting several resources that can help Washington employers survive the economic challenges posed by the coronavirus. The agency's People First Initiative includes postponing certain payments and enforcement actions. The Get My Payment tool can lead to a faster direct stimulus payment, and new filing deadlines and tax credits are also included in the agency's COVID-19 response.

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Filing week begins today; key local, state and federal positions open

While the presidential election gets the most attention, less prominent positions can often carry a great impact for employers. Today is the opening of filing week for legislative and other positions.

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Several AWB members named to governor's new business advisory group

Gov. Jay Inslee announced three new "Safe Start advisory groups" last week. Several AWB members are among the employers represented in the groups. Also included: nonprofits, tribes, labor unions, government, hospitals, social service, community groups and others.

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Do you have personal protective equipment available? Sign up for AWB's new PPE marketplace

As Washington moves forward with a phased reopening, access to personal protective equipment (PPE) is becoming key for employers. AWB is building a PPE marketplace to help connect suppliers with customers. Are you producing PPE? Sign up to be part of our marketplace!

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Department of Commerce and private partners offer drive-up broadband access

Free drive-in Wi-Fi hotspots are being launched statewide to help offer universal public broadband access. A public-private partnership will provide hundreds of places for people to access high-speed internet. Microsoft and the Avista Foundation are among the private-sector partners.

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Bechtel donates $100,000 to Tri-Cities coronavirus relief fund

The Bechtel Group Foundation is pledging $100,000 to the United Way of Benton and Franklin Counties to help those nonprofits assist the needy during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Washington Business Week kicks off virtual events

For more than 40 years, Washington Business Week has helped introduce high school students to entrepreneurism. Its robust series of camps and in-person events isn't possible during the coronavirus, so the classes and leadership programs will now be available virtually.

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Employee Assistance Programs are more important than ever

AWB's HealthChoice coverage includes a free employee assistance program, giving your employees someone to talk with 24 hours a day.

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Applications open for Don C. Brunell Scholarship for Future Leaders

Applications are now being accepted for the Don C. Brunell Scholarship for the 2020-21 school year. The scholarship of up to $1,000 is available for college, vocational, certificate or graduate programs. Applicants must be the child or grandchild of an AWB member or employee. The deadline is June 30.

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AWB Events & Resources

Spring Meeting will now be virtual -- and free!

AWB's Spring Meeting brings Washington's business community together to focus on challenges and solutions to help all employers thrive. Climate and energy policy will be key topics, plus updates on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Join us for a day of engaging content and policy discussions that will keep you up to date on the state policy issues that may impact your company and employees

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HR & Employment Law Webinar on May 20: Performance evaluations

Learn the latest developments in laws about performance evaluations, disciplinary actions and terminations so that your organization can focus on compliance and avoid administrative claims during AWB's next HR & Employment Law webinar on May 20. There will be more relevant topics in the months ahead, including the latest on L&I, non-competition agreements, and more. Register online for this and other timely webinars!

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AWB weekly webinar covers communication tools for your business through COVID-19 and beyond

Coming up on May 18, our speakers will discuss how to communicate effectively through COVID-19 and beyond. With insights in using multiple tactical resources, the key principles of communications and best practices coming out of a crisis, this webinar will provide you with all the tools you need. Check our webinar landing page for who's on the agenda to connect you with the latest information, direct from trusted sources.

Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Safely and Quickly Reopening



They Said It

$7 billion budget shortfall

"There are two things that worry me: one, that it might be right and two, that it may be worse." ~ State Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, who as chair of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council asked for an estimation of the hit to the state's tax collections from the pandemic shutdown. The unofficial forecast shows more than $7 billion in lost tax revenue through mid-2023.




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Don't Punish Job-Creators


State crisis demands prompt budget fix

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Gov. Jay Inslee and lawmakers must quickly and transparently cut state spending to get through the virus-induced economic crisis.

The urgency of their task is driven home by a new forecast estimating a $7 billion drop in state revenue through 2023...

Washington's recent era of regular state spending increases is now over. This concludes a decade during which the state budget grew 69% (through 2021, based on the budget passed in early 2020) as population grew around 12% (as of November 2019). Recent budget surges include belated and necessary increases in basic-education funding.

Business activity supporting that growth is no longer a given. Residents struggling with high unemployment and reduced opportunities will also expect legislators and governors to be more restrained with their tax dollars...

Read the full editorial in The Seattle Times