December 19, 2016
Fast Facts
Bringing Business Up to Speed
Top Stories Key Hearings/Meetings Federal Issues Other News AWB Events & Resources Tweet of the Week They Said It
Top Stories

Gov. Inslee proposes $8 billion tax increase

Employers and energy users would bear the brunt of the cost of more than $8 billion in new taxes Gov. Jay Inslee proposed last week. Inslee's proposal would increase B&O taxes on service businesses, create a carbon tax on energy, institute a capital gains income tax, revoke tax incentives on employers, and more.

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Inslee releases McCleary education funding proposal with 'firehose of money' from new taxes

Gov. Jay Inslee last week laid out his plan to complete state compliance with the Supreme Court's McCleary education funding ruling. The plan focuses on new taxes to pay for teacher pay increases. It includes property tax reductions, especially in richer districts, but there was little talk of education reform as part of the new 'firehose' of increased tax dollars.

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Minimum wage increases in a patchwork on Jan. 1 -- $11 an hour statewide, up to $15 hourly in Seattle

The minimum wage will increase on the first of the year, but how much will depend on the location. Whether in Tacoma, Seattle, SeaTac or elsewhere, Washington's patchwork of minimum wage rules will be on full display Jan. 1.

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Registration now open for Generation Workforce summit in Seattle

Join Rebecca Ryan, a noted futurist, economist and "brain shaker," at the AWB Workforce Summit on March 22 in Seattle. This new event will look at generational change in the workplace and highlight the strengths that each generation brings. Read more »

AWB's Legislative Day & Hill Climb less than a month away

Join AWB, fellow business leaders and elected and state agency officials to learn more about the Legislature on Jan. 17. Lend the employer perspective to Olympia at the annual Legislative Day and Hill Climb, presented by Microsoft. The morning will be filled with panels on key issues and a keynote address by Skylar Olsen, a senior economist at Zillow. The afternoon Hill Climb will be followed by a reception with lawmakers. Register here!

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Key Hearings/Meetings

AWB Employment Law Committee to meet Jan. 5

Save the date for the next AWB Employment Law Committee meeting on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 1:30 at AWB. More details to come in the Jan. 3 edition of Fast Facts.

Federal Issues

President Obama signs 21st Century Cures Act

In what is likely to be one of his last bill signing ceremonies before leaving office next month, President Barack Obama last week signed the 21st Century Cures Act. The bipartisan bill expands medical research, invests in mental health resources, and combats the prescription and opioid drug epidemic.

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Other News

Sen. King, Rep. Clibborn announce bipartisan legislation to comply with federal REAL ID Act

In just over a year, the federal government will no longer accept Washington driver's licenses as sufficient ID to board an airplane. Last week the heads of the state Senate and House transportation committees unveiled a plan for a two-tiered license system to bring Washington into compliance with the federal REAL ID Act.

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State begins pilot pay-by-the-mile plan as possible alternative to gas tax

The state is looking for 2,000 volunteer drivers to be part of a pilot program to pay for road usage by miles traveled. Long-term, a road usage charge is one proposed way to replace the gas tax, which is losing its funding power as more electric, hybrid and highly fuel efficient vehicles fill state highways and roads.

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New WSU medical school had more than 700 applications for just 60 spots in inaugural class

Spokane's new Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine received over 700 applications in less than a month for the inaugural medical school class, which only has 60 spots.

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Washington Council on International Trade welcomes new president

Lori Otto Punke is the new president of the Seattle-based Washington Council on International Trade. She has held senior public affairs positions at Microsoft and Starbucks, and has served as a senior policy advisor to U.S. Senate leadership

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Watch for AWB year-end email this Thursday; no Fast Facts next week

AWB will look back at a remarkable year during our 2016 year-end email, arriving in your inbox Thursday. There will be no Fast Facts next week. It will resume Tuesday, Jan. 3. Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

AWB Events & Resources

Early bird deadline is Jan 6 for 2017 Employment Law webinar series

Employment law is a crucial part of navigating today's business world. Learn the basics along with the latest legal changes during AWB's 2017 Employment Law webinar series. Ensure access to all six, and save money through our early bird pricing, by signing up before Jan. 6.

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Join AWB Jan. 5 for a free 2017 Legislative Session Forecast Webinar

AWB's Government Affairs team will offer their insights and take participant questions on what may come up in the 2017 legislative session during a live webinar on Jan. 5. This event is in preparation for the beginning of the 105-day session that begins Monday, Jan. 9.

Read more »

Tweet of the Week

Higher Education and Employers Working Together

They Said It

New Taxes on Employers

"The cumulative impact of these tax proposals -- combined with other rising costs such as new water quality standards, a carbon rule on employers, increasing minimum wage and more -- makes it difficult for businesses to compete in a global market." ~ AWB President Kris Johnson, responding to Gov. Jay Inslee's proposals for $4.4 billion in new taxes in the next biennium and $8 billion for the next two-year budget cycle.

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Sustainability in Action

Aslan Brewing Company: Refreshing Environmental Success

By Washington Business magazine

Taking beer and building to a new, sustainable level, a craft brewer demonstrates how a time-honored cold beverage can take the edge off the climate.

With a commitment to organic ingredients, locally-sourced goods, and low-impact practices, the owners offer the community something new and refreshing, the sustainable way .
Read the full article in Washington Business magazine
Workforce Matters

We must train next generation for the jobs Washington is creating

By Amy Morrison Goings and Gary Oertli

In these politically stressful times, there's one priority everyone can agree on: putting people to work in Washington. People need great jobs just as employers need great talent.

The most recent proof comes in the form of research by the Boston Consulting Group and the Washington Roundtable. The report projects there will be 740,000 job openings in Washington over the next five years. Most of those openings will be filled by people who have postsecondary education or training.

The jobs range from entry-level positions, to "pathway" jobs that then lead to well-paying careers. Many positions require not just a high school diploma and not necessarily a bachelor's degree, but somewhere in between -- such as an associate degree, or a certificate backed by industry need, or an apprenticeship. Others require a bachelor's degree or higher.

That's why it's so important for the Legislature to fund the entire pipeline of education in Washington, from pre-kindergarten through college. At the center of that pipeline is Washington's community and technical college system.
Read the full op-ed in The Puget Sound Business Journal
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