April 13, 2015
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Top Stories

As budget negotiations deepen, poll shows a divided electorate

With less than two weeks left until the scheduled end of the legislative session, House and Senate budget-writers are negotiating a compromise budget deal. How to spend the state's $3 billion increase in tax revenues, and whether to increase taxes further, are among the biggest points of disagreement.

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Senate approves bill to modify class size initiative

One of the few points of agreement in the Legislature is that last year's unfunded class-size intiative, I-1351, should not be fully implemented. How exactly to modify the costly measure, however, is still up for debate.

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House leaders say transportation funding package vote will wait for bipartisan deal

Negotiations on a final House-Senate compromise transportation investment and reform package will begin this week. The Senate's $15 billion plan would increase the gas tax by 11.7 cents and fund projects throughout the state, as well as implement needed reforms to WSDOT.

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Unions closer to approving longshore deal; impact of monthslong slowdown at ports still being felt

Exporters are continuing to deal with the long-term impacts of the four-month slowdown at West Coast ports. Meanwhile, the prospects of rank-and-file approval for the negotiated settlement appear bright.

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Priority Legislation

HB 1396: Incentives for alternative fuel commercial use vehicles

The House Transportation Committee will hold an executive session this week on HB 1396, an AWB priority bill that would help reduce carbon emissions without implementing new regulations.

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SB 6089: Health Benefit Exchange funding

A newly-introduced bill would change funding for Washington Healthplanfinder, removing one of the three funding sources for the state's health exchange and potentially creating new costs for all health plans Read more »

Other News

Starbucks expands employee college plan to cover all four years

Seattle-based Starbucks has expanded and revamped its college benefit, and will now cover full tuition for all four years of college for its employees.

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Survey: R&D tax incentives are most important consideration for companies looking to expand

When large companies are looking to expand, the presence --  or lack -- of research and development, or R&D, tax credits are a major factor influencing location decisions.

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Washington has highest sales and excise taxes

A survey by WalletHub finds Washington has the highest burden of sales and excise taxes -- coming in at 51st out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., in a ranking of affordability. A similar survey finds Washington in the five states with the heaviest level of state and local sales taxes.

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I-BEST is Washington's most-copied community college program -- and it's working

Learning while doing is a tried-and-true method for academic success, and a state community college program that mixes topics like math with hands-on machining is showing results.

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Avista and Schwietzer Engineering Laboratories unveil 'game-changing' megawatt batteries

Battery technology developed in Washington and unveiled earlier this month could bridge one of the biggest gaps in renewable energy -- storing green power for those moments when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.

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Lend your voice to the 2015 McGladrey Manufacturing and Distribution Monitor survey

AWB encourages members to take part in the 2015 McGladrey Manufacturing & Distribution Monitor survey to better gauge the real-world insights of manufacturers, distributors and industry trade groups. Submissions will be accepted until April 23.

Read more »

AWB Events & Resources

Webinar: Public Charter Schools in Washington State

Learn more about public charter schools in Washington in this April 27 webinar with Thomas Franta, CEO of the Washington Charter Schools Association.

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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 »

One month away: Register now for Spring Meeting

Registration is 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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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.

Read more »

AWB forklift safety and training seminar set for June 8

Don't let forklifts become a hazard in your workplace. AWB's forklift safety seminar June 8 will help keep your employees and workplace safe.

Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Educating for the Jobs of the Future



They Said It

It's Time to Build

"We can't let 95 percent [of the conversation about transportation] be related to social special interests. The economy isn't social special interest. The economy is business." ~ Greg Root, president of Seattle manufacturing company GM Nameplate, during a discussion about the need for transportation solutions. Root said commute times for his employees have tripled in recent years.




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Focus on Common Priorities

How to get closer to solving state's budget mess

By The Seattle Times Editorial Board

Washington state tax revenues have snapped back from the Great Recession because of the white-hot Seattle economy, even as much of the state is still struggling to recover. More revenue eases the Legislature's difficult job of molding a 2015-17 budget, but lawmakers should remember the painful fiscal lessons of the very recent economic past, when it was forced by austerity to prioritize.

Two new proposals for the budget, emerging from the Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate, start with broadly similar themes and worthwhile priorities. Commonality should breed negotiation, and that should help Olympia avoid the marathon overtime sessions that plagued recent budget negotiations...
Click here to read the full editorial in The Seattle Times
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