AWB Statement on the 2015 Legislative Session
OLYMPIA — Kris Johnson, president of the Association of Washington Business, issued the following statement on the conclusion of the 2015 legislative session:
"It took longer than anyone wanted, but we are pleased that lawmakers approved the first statewide transportation reform and revenue package in a decade. It is past time to invest in Washington’s roads, bridges and highways. Like previous transportation packages, this agreement took cooperation and hard work from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, as well as the governor, to craft a statewide solution. As a result, work can begin soon on a long list of projects that will make our roads safer, reduce congestion, get goods to market and improve our economy.
"It's important to note, too, that lawmakers didn't just approve a transportation funding package, they also passed important reform measures that will help ensure tax dollars are spent efficiently.
"We are also pleased that lawmakers approved a two-year operating budget that makes needed investments in K-12 education, reduces college tuition and provides raises for teachers and state employees — without imposing major new taxes. It isn’t perfect, but this is a good budget for taxpayers and employers. We wish it did not include the elimination of some tax incentives, but lawmakers relied primarily on the growing economy to fund increased spending. Even without raising taxes, the state is on track to collect $3.2 billion in increased taxes, representing a 9.2 percent increase over the last budget. And after months of debate, lawmakers wisely chose not to risk derailing the slow recovery by adopting a capital gains tax or a cap-and-trade energy tax. We know that budgets can either help or hinder a state’s ability to retain and attract jobs, and we look forward to working with lawmakers during the interim and again next session to find solutions for our state’s ongoing economic challenges in a way that increases competitiveness and improves the quality of life for all Washingtonians."
About the Association of Washington Business
Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington' oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes more than 7,900 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB’s members employ fewer than 10. For more about AWB, visit www.awb.org.