June 8, 2015
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Top Stories

Budget negotiators may -- or may not -- have reached agreement on overall spending figure

House and Senate budget writers met daily last week in Gov. Jay Inslee's office and by Friday had reportedly agreed on "the size of the box" -- the overall level of spending for the 2015-2017 budget, although by this afternoon even that tentative deal was uncertain.
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Transportation package remains important as lawmakers finish budget work

With the second special session focused on the state budget, AWB continues to hope lawmakers also reach agreement on a much-needed transportation package.

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As June 30 deadline for Ex-Im Bank approaches, supporters looking at options

The agency that guarantees credit for American exporters and supports thousands of American jobs in Washington state needs reauthorization by June 30. With Congress gridlocked on the measure and the deadline fast approaching, supporters are looking at "resuscitation" later this summer.
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Deadline extended: Apply now for 2016 class of Leadership Washington

The new program to develop the next generation of Washington's business and industry leaders is accepting applications for the 2015-16 Leadership Washington class. Submit your application today for this nine-month look at Washington's economy and the issues that will shape its future.
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AWB named a finalist in Chamber of the Year competition

For the second year in a row, AWB is a finalist in the Chamber of the Year competition held by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives. Judges will pick a final winner in August.
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Key Hearings/Meetings

All three 9th District candidates will attend June 18 AWB candidate interviews in Pasco

AWB will interview the three candidates for the open House seat in the 9th Legislative District during a June 18 meeting at the Pasco Chamber of Commerce. All AWB members from the district are invited to attend.
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Other News

Don't send the message that Washington renegs on its deals

The aerospace incentives that guaranteed construction of the 777X and its high-tech carbon wings in Washington were approved with strong bipartisan margins during a special session called by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee in 2012. Now some lawmakers want to go back on that deal. That's the wrong message to send. Read more »

Health insurers request an average of 15.2 percent rate increases

As health insurance companies realize the true cost of the Affordable Care Act, they are raising premiums by double-digit rates. Figures released last week show an average increase in Washington of 15.2 percent.
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New head of Department of Revenue has 45 years experience in the department

Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed a 45-year veteran of the Department of Revenue to lead the agency. Read more »

Gov. Inslee creates subcabinet on military downsizing

Governor directs 11 state agencies to begin planning for how to respond to potential military force reductions from Lakewood to Spokane.
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WSU dedicates new Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Wine Science Center

The state's largest winemaker, Ste. Michelle, is the namesake of the new WSU wine sciences center in Richland. Read more »

AWB files friend of the court briefs in case involving "Envision Spokane" measure

AWB and a coalition of business associations and county governments have filed briefs in support of a pre-election challenge to a measure known as "Envision Spokane."
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Washington Climate Collaborative to hold meeting in Bellingham on alternatives to cap-and-trade

The Washington Climate Collaborative will hold a meeting in Bellingham next week to discuss alternative solutions to Gov. Jay Inslee's $1.3 billion cap-and-trade tax proposal. Read more »

Ports of Tacoma and Seattle vote to send Seaport Alliance plan to feds for approval

The port commissions of Seattle and Tacoma both voted unanimously Friday to move forward with joint operation of their marine cargo operations. The Northwest Seaport Alliance plan now goes to the Federal Maritime Commission for approval. Read more »

Tacoma's "15 Now" initiative qualifies for the November ballot

A measure that would immediately lift the minimum wage in Tacoma to $15 an hour for businesses with gross revenues of more than $300,000 now has enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot. Meanwhile, a group that includes employers is working to craft a separate measure that works for both employees and employers. Read more »

WSU President Elson Floyd taking leave of absence to fight cancer

The Washington State University Board of Regents voted last week to give leave to President Elson Floyd to battle cancer. The university's provost will fill in during Floyd's medical leave.
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AWB Events & Resources

Registration now open for 2015 Policy Summit

The 26th annual AWB Policy Summit will be held Sept. 15-17 at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum. Online registration has now opened. Don't miss the chance to hear from political and business leaders from around the state and nation. Register today!
Read more »

Tweet of the Week

SEAPORT ALLIANCE SAILS FORWARD



They Said It

TRADE BRINGS PROSPERITY AND FREEDOM

"The post-WWII leaders who brilliantly designed an international order to support free markets understood that either we would write the rules of the game or someone else would. They were haunted by the protectionism of the 1930s that worsened the Great Depression and arguably contributed to World War II. They believed that free trade was an essential pillar of economic liberty, prosperity and peace." ~ Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, supporting President Barack Obama's request for trade-promotion authority.




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HYDRO-AWARE

Be thankful for Northwest dams

By Kris Johnson, AWB president

Gov. Jay Inslee recently declared a statewide drought emergency. Snowpack is just 16 percent of normal, the governor said, and officials are predicting $1.2 billion in crop losses as a result. Firefighters are bracing for the worst. For many in our state, this is going to be a challenging summer.

It would be even worse, though, without the Northwest dams.

For decades, the Columbia and Snake River dams have provided Washington's economy with huge economic advantages over other regions, both in the form of water to irrigate crops and clean, renewable low-cost electricity to power manufacturing companies.

And once again, the dams are giving us a boost. On the same day the governor announced the drought emergency, Maia Bellon, the director of the state Department of Ecology, called hydroelectric power one of two bright spots in Washington's drought picture.
Click here to read the full column in The Wenatchee Valley Business World
NO CASE FOR NEW TAXES

How a more moderate GOP dominated the legislative session

By Danny Westneat, The Seattle Times

...this year unexpected revenue is pouring into state coffers under the existing tax system. Since Gov. Jay Inslee called for $1.5 billion more via a capital-gains tax and a cap-and-trade pollution permit system last December, the state has forecast nearly a billion dollars more in regular revenue.

So right there most of the urgency for raising taxes evaporated.
Click here to read the full column in The Seattle Times
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