Monday, February 1, 2016

Carrie Davis
PR & Communications Manager
P: 253.627.2175

February 1, 2016

Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber Discusses the TPP with the White House

TACOMA, Wash. –

On Friday, January 29th, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber in collaboration with Business Forward welcomed Gaurab Bansal, Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Cabinet Secretary, and Congressman Derek Kilmer, Representative from the 6th District, to discuss international trade.

Mr. Bansal provided an overview of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Obama Administration's international trade agenda and its effect on the greater Tacoma-Pierce County region and Washington State. This was an opportunity for business leaders to speak with a senior Obama Administration official on how trade policies affect their businesses and the larger Puget Sound economy.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce has a deep interest in the progress and future of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Chamber is dedicated to supporting the business interests of the community – a direct alignment with the TPP’s expectation to increase job growth, boost trade, open up new markets, and create an overall positive impact for not only the local economy but the Country’s as well.

At the meeting it was discussed that an estimated $27 billion is exported from Washington to TPP countries despite existing tariffs.  These exports support 400,000 jobs both of which would expand with the passage of the TPP.

The TPP is not only good for business but it is good for people as well as worker rights language is embedded directly in the agreement creating labor provisions and protections for workers across the globe. This is an advancement in worker protections that has not typically been present in past trade agreements.

With a long road ahead in Congress, the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber looks forward to more discussions on trade and continuing to build its relationships with federal representatives.


The Chamber’s most important function is job creation. Supporting job creation plays a large part in the Chamber’s commitment to the economic revitalization, growth and prosperity of Tacoma-Pierce County. Forming strategic partnerships, keeping abreast of news and information that impact business interests and staying on the forefront of issues like job retention, expansion and attraction are just a few ways the Chamber constantly works behind-the-scenes for member businesses.

Representative Kilmer & Deputy Bansal leading a discussion on trade.  (Courtsey TPCC) 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Tacoma’s Minimum Wage Rules Finalized

Tacoma will host Public Information Sessions in Downtown Tacoma Public Library on Jan. 20 and 21 for finalized minimum wage rules.

After a public process that included four meetings to solicit community feedback, Tacoma’s minimum wage rules are now final and available HERE.  These rules will guide the implementation of Initiative Measure No. 1B, which was approved by Tacoma voters in November 2015.

Initiative Measure No. 1B called for the Tacoma minimum wage to increase to $10.35 per hour on Feb. 1, 2016 (the same effective date as the Paid Leave Ordinance passed in January 2015). The Tacoma minimum wage would increase to $11.15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017 and to $12 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018.

There will be two public information sessions in the Downtown Tacoma Public Library (1102 Tacoma Ave. S, Olympic Room) for employers and other community members who wish to learn more about both minimum wage and paid leave:

Wednesday, Jan. 20
5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Jan. 21
2 – 3 p.m.

Information on both minimum wage and paid leave is also available by calling (253) 591-5306 or visiting HERE.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

US Already Has FTAs with 6 TPP Countries

U.S. trade with our free trade agreement (FTA) partner countries supports more than 17.7 million American jobs and billions of dollars in U.S. exports.

The United States has routinely increased exports to FTA partners following implementation of the agreements with those countries.

The United States exported more than $739 billion in goods and services to six Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries that are already FTA partners — Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Singapore.

For more information on the value of trade and the TPP to the WA economy, click HERE.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tacoma Council Will Choose Click! Option

After last week's recommendations by the Tacoma Public Utilities Board, the Tacoma City Council will consider two proposals this Tuesday night for future action on Click!.

The two resolutions are distinct choices and have significant consequences for Tacoma Power ratepayers, Click! users and businesses.

As noted in the Chamber's correspondence to the Councilmembers below, the Chamber recommends the lease option for the best future course of action.  The Chamber was an initial supporter of establishing Click! as a means to bring broadband service to Tacoma.  As an industry-defined "second city," that was an unlikely outcome at that time. The subsequent existence of a competitive marketplace is frequently cited for lower rates locally.  But, the marketplace has changed.

With continuing financial losses, Tacoma Power ratepayers have subsidized Click!'s operational losses.  The "all in" option, which represents Tacoma's substantial development of Click!, represents a $38 million bill over 10 years to bring Click! up to desired standards of service.  Even the City's attorney has opined that the existing subsidy of Click! by Tacoma Power may contravene state law.

Additionally, local small, family-owned firms providing ISP in partnership with Click! are expected to be adversely impacted by the "all in" option.  These local firms also represent jobs and investment, as well as their history of partnership.

The operation and fate of Click! is a continuing conflict between the Tacoma Public Utilities Board and the Tacoma Council.  To resolve these continuing disagreements, resolve possible legal conflicts and simplify the oversight of Click!, the Chamber suggests that Click! be reorganized under the auspices of general government with direct oversight and responsibility by the City Council.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Reminding Tacoma of Campaign Promises before Tax Implementation

Before Tacoma Council action to implement the utility tax portion of the recently voter-approved Prop. 3 to Fix Tacoma's Roads, the Chamber reminded Councilmembers of promises to voters to apportion dollars among all types of road and transportation projects.

It is important that from the very beginning of this Tacoma roads package that promises be kept with voters and all the advocates for the needed and necessary transportation projects.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Deadline for Public Comment on Draft Minimum Wage Rules and Minimum Wage Workplace Notice Set for Dec. 18

A deadline of Friday, Dec. 18 has been set for public comment on the draft minimum wage rules and minimum wage workplace notice.

Initiative Measure 1B, which passed last month, called for the minimum wage to increase to $10.35 per hour on Feb. 1, 2016 (the same effective date the Paid Leave Ordinance passed in January 2015). The Tacoma minimum wage would then increase to $11.15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017 and to $12 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018.

Public comment on the draft minimum wage rules and minimum wage workplace notice can be submitted at one of the two remaining public meetings:

• Tuesday, Dec. 15, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, Dec. 17, 10 - 11 a.m.

Both public meetings will take place at the Tacoma Public Library’s Main Branch (1102 Tacoma Ave. S, Olympic Room, Tacoma 98402). Those who are unable to attend a public meeting can send comments or questions HERE.

More information is available HERE.