June 22, 2020
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Top Stories

State budget takes $8.8 billion hit; "Everything is on the table."

The state's latest revenue forecast predicts an $8.8 billion decline through 2023. Budget cuts and new taxes are among the options to make up the difference, and lawmakers differ sharply on how to best respond.

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King County moves to Phase 2, but Inslee calls for further diligence statewide

Washington's most populous county moved into Phase 2 of reopening, and many other counties are in Phase 3. However, Gov. Jay Inslee on Saturday ordered that Yakima County residents wear a mask while shopping, as an outbreak in the central part of the state is becoming one of the nation's worst.

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Governor tells employers serious challenges remain in Washington's fight against coronavirus

Gov. Jay Inslee and the directors of the state's Commerce, Labor & Industries and Employment Security departments spoke with hundreds of AWB members and other community leaders during the final weekly Economy Recovery and Resiliency webinar last week.

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State offers free temporal 'no touch' thermometers to manufacturers

AWB and local chambers of commerce are working with the state Department of Commerce to distribute no-touch temporal thermometers to manufacturers across the state. It's a way to support this vital industry sector in returning safely to work. Register here for this free thermometer.

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Rebound and Recovery website connects thousands of employers with PPE

More than 3,500 email requests for personal protective equipment (PPE) have come through AWB's Rebound and Recovery website since its launch in late May, and thousands have downloaded the safe work plan template, employee safety poster, floor stickers and other items from the Business Tool Kit. The PPE Connect directory and Business Tool Kit are helping employers equip their employees to safely operate. A new resources page has a variety of useful, constantly updated links.

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Call for entries: Washington Excellence Awards and Manufacturing Excellence Awards

The Washington Excellence Awards program is your chance to showcase your Washington business. With three new categories for 2020, there are even more opportunities for your company to get recognition, and self-nominations are encouraged. The deadline to enter is July 31 and it only takes five minutes. Submit your entry or nominate a business now! This week, we are featuring two of our 13 award categories: The Washington Connect Award and the Washington Veterans & Families Award.

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AWB announces new webinar series focused on business management resources

AWB is pleased to announce a new webinar series coming this August for new and small business owners and managers. If you're just starting out or you need a refresher on what's new, the AWB Business Tool Kit webinar series provides a foundation for business management. Register for the whole five-webinar series and save $25 through August 12. Secure your spot now!

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AWB weekly webinar June 24 to cover how to get PPE for your business

The COVID-19 Employer Resources Webinar Series this week will walk you through some valuable resources to help you get back to business. This Wednesday, June 24, tune in to get the latest on how to get the PPE your business needs and other rebound and recovery resources. Register online now!

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Federal Issues

U.S. Chamber recognizes four Washington members of Congress for pro-business votes

Four members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington state were recognized today with a "Spirit of Enterprise Award" from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for their pro-growth votes.

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Guidance now available for expanded federal aid programs

Employers have until June 30 to apply for the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which has recently loosened and revised its forgiveness terms. Another federal aid program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, has once again begun accepting applications from qualified small businesses and farmers.

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Sen. Patty Murray requests special health insurance enrollment period

Washington's senior U.S. senator joined a letter by Democratic lawmakers from both chambers of Congress to ask top administration officials to open a special enrollment period for uninsured and underinsured Americans to sign up for health insurance coverage.

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Focus returns to infrastructure investments with proposals from House Democrats and the White House

U.S. House Democrats have unveiled a $1.5 trillion proposal aimed at rebuilding the nation's infrastructure. That comes as the White House is said to be mulling a $1 trillion proposal.

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Other News

Seattle now has two business tax proposals on the table

A new proposal from Seattle City Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda would raise more than $200 million a year from employers.

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Environmental groups sue EPA over its adoption of original Washington water quality standards

A long legal fight continues as environmental groups and the Makah Indian Tribe have sued the federal Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to adopt an earlier, more attainable set of water quality standards.

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State offers grants to help with child care shortfall

The Department of Commerce is providing grants to help solve problems with availability of child care.

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Department of Commerce offers webinar on market for unmanned aerial vehicles

The market is growing for drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Department of Commerce is hosting a webinar this week on opportunities in the $43 billion European UAV market. Register here.

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Deadline approaching to apply 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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June is Employee Wellness Month, meaning employee assistance programs are more important than ever

Although Employee Wellness Month is officially June, the AWB HealthChoice plan has tools that can help employers make every month count.

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AWB Events & Resources

Connect with Congress: Join the federal policy conversation online Aug. 11

Mark your calendars for August 11 and join us online for a series of federal policy discussions with Washington's congressional delegation, featuring some of our local members and some of our international trade partners. Now is the time to secure your spot to engage with your federal representatives. Register now.

Read more »

Best of the Blog

Coronavirus pandemic is causing major stress, employee burnout

Company leaders can help employees by communicating well, acknowledging challenges during the coronavirus pandemic and being flexible. And there likely won't be a COVID-19 vaccine ready by this fall, industry leaders said during AWB's weekly webinar last week. Read the full blog post here.



Tweet of the Week

Business Leadership



They Said It

Fighting Infections

"We're so far from being out of the woods on this." ~ Gov. Jay Inslee, noting that cases in Benton, Franklin and Yakima counties were of particular concern. The governor discussed COVID-19, the state budget and other issues at AWB's final Economic Recovery & Resiliency webinar on Friday. For two months, this weekly webinar has brought together top state officials to update local chambers of commerce, economic development groups and other community leaders.




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Now More Than Ever, Health Insurance Matters
Cut Spending


Raising taxes in Washington state makes no sense

By The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin Editorial Board

It has not yet been decided when the state Legislature will go into a special session to figure out how the state will deal with a drop in tax collections, expected to be about $8.8 billion through 2023...

The state won't have the money to cover its bills if the drop in sales tax revenue is as horrific as anticipated.

Emergency action is needed now, and we strongly believe that means the Legislature has to trim spending as soon as possible

The current two-year budget, which runs through June of 2021, is just shy of $53 billion. That was established on the assumption sales-tax revenue would continue to flow into state and local government coffers at a robust rate in a hot economy.

The economy is now warm, but barely. The official projections on tax collections were announced today, which boosted the loss from $7 billion to $8.8 billion over the next three years. The COVID-19 concerns are still in front us and the employment rate in Washington state, like the nation, has skyrocketed.

Lawmakers must accept that harsh reality. Asking the public to pay more taxes at a time like this feels irresponsible. Beyond that, seeking a capital gains tax makes little sense as it is unconstitutional in Washington state...

The Legislature needs to cast aside efforts to raise taxes this summer and focus on reducing spending now so that even deeper cuts won’t have to be made in January when the regular session begins.

Read the full editorial in The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin