December 7, 2015
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L&I confirms 2 percent average rate increase, nearly double what's required

While Oregon proposes reducing its workers' comp rates by 5 percent, Washington's Department of Labor & Industries confirmed last week that it will raise rates next year by an average of 2 percent. That's nearly double what would be required to keep the fund strong. Read more »

Supreme Court: SeaTac minimum wage applies to airport workers

The state's highest court will not reconsider its August ruling that the voter-approved $15 minimum wage in SeaTac applies to airport workers. The decision leaves few legal options for employers who had said the city does not have the legal ability to dictate pay inside the airport, which is run by a separate governmental agency, the Port of Seattle. Read more »

Carbon tax initiative headed to the Legislature, and likely then to voters

Initiative 732, which would tax carbon emissions and lower the state sales tax, has enough voter signatures to go before the Legislature, supporters said last week. After consideration by the Legislature, the measure is likely to go before voters in some form next fall. Read more »

PNNL receives Department of Energy grants to research clean energy solutions

From supercomputer control of the green energy grid to harvesting seaweed for biofuel, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory will pursue cutting-edge technologies to make energy cleaner and more efficient with new funding from the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Project Agency-Energy. Read more »

Postman takes over as chief of staff in governor's office

Gov. Jay Inslee announced last week that his top spokesman, former newspaper reporter David Postman, has been promoted to chief of staff. The governor's former chief of staff, longtime advisor Joby Shimomura, is stepping down to resume her former career as a glass artist.
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Becoming a Top Ten State

Opportunities begin here in Washington state

By AWB President Kris Johnson and Washington Roundtable President Steve Mullin

The central Puget Sound region and Washington have long been a center of global trade.

A look behind the numbers, however, reveals that many Washingtonians are falling behind. And far too many young people fail to get the education they need to succeed and compete for great jobs being created by Washington employers.
Click here to read the full op-ed from Kris Johnson and Steve Mullin
Investing in Jobs

Boeing incentives are good for WA

By Rob McKenna

We're not talking about tax giveaways here; they're incentives to keep incredibly valuable airplane manufacturing right here in Washington. Our state benefits enormously from Boeing's presence. Just ask governors and business leaders in other states -- they'd love to have even a fraction of Boeing's high-tech manufacturing jobs in their states.

That's why it's somewhat amusing to see the showy handwringing in Olympia recently about these incentives. The tax incentive package passed overwhelmingly in a special session in November 2013 precisely because most state leaders grasp that the economic activity Boeing produces, the high-paying jobs it provides, and the taxes it generates far outweigh the theoretical value of the tax incentives.

Simply put, the incentives are a good deal for the state of Washington -- no handwringing needed.
Click here to read the full blog post at Smarter Government Washington
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