Monday, June 29, 2009

Payback Time - Count on It

Is $1,000 worth your effort?

If an economic interest doesn't influence your action, would knowing that the U.S. Constitution, at the behest of the drafting conferee Benjamin Franklin, contains a requirement for a decennial census, motivate you?

Yes, the Census is not just a pesky bureaucratic exercise in making the citizenry comply with data gathering wishes.

Besides, it serves useful purposes. It's the basis for most businesses marketing data. And, the Census is the basis for much of the grant allocations from federal program to states, local governments and non-governmental organizations. See how it's used in the recently announced Community Indicators.

And, it is also the basis of allocating the seats in Congress among states. It's been twenty years since Washington gained a seat. Another gain, to 10 Congressional representatives is very possible - if our state counts enough population in the 2010 Census.

So, the payback of $1,000 per person counted - or lost if individuals are not counted, is only part of the gain for full participation in the upcoming Census.

Remember, three things:
  • there are only 10 questions - so it's easy
  • it is safe and private, your info is not shared with anyone, not even the IRS or the ICE
  • it's the basis for Congressional seats and funding

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Photo courtesy of Chip Van Gilder, Chip Shot Photography

Small Business: Group Services Northwest

Minority-owned Business: Pearly Whites Laser Dentistry

Medium-sized Business: Davies Pearson, PC

Large Business: Sprague Pest Solutions

Non-Profit: Mullticare Center for Healthy Living

Thursday, June 18, 2009

ARC Sparks Cash

Just this week, the SBA has begun a loan program to give viable small businesses some temporary cash flow relief.

Called the ARC (America’s Recovery Capital) loan program, a deferred-payment loan of up to $35,000 made by commercial lenders, not SBA but fully guaranteed by SBA.

ARC loans are to be used for principal and interest payments on existing, qualifying loans including mortgages, term and revolving lines of credit, capital leases, credit card obligations and notes payable to vendors, suppliers and utilities. 100% guaranteed by the SBA, there are no SBA or lenders fees. There are no interest charges.

There is a disbursement period of up to six months, followed by 12 months with no repayment of the ARC loan principal. Afterwards, the borrower pays back only the ARC loan principal over five years.

This program was funded by Congress for $255 million. It will only last until all funds are loaned or September 30, 2009, whichever occurs first. See your local bank or these:

Local bank coordinators:
  • Key, Jennifer Riggenbacher
  • Wells Fargo, Taralee Muhli
  • Heritage, Lyn Hamilton
  • Columbia, Craig Chance
  • US Bank, Eric Allison
  • Northwest Commercial, Jay Mayer
  • Washington Business Bank, Janie Sacco
  • Sterling, Mike Miller
  • Twinstar CU, Jim Minder
  • Shorebank Enterprise Cascadia, Che Wong

If you need assistance in preparing documents, call Sheree Clark or 253-798-6916 at Pierce County Economic Development Department.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

09 Legislative Tax Changes Online

The Washington Department of Revenue has posted online a summary of tax-related legislation approved during the 2009 Legislative session.

The summaries are meant to help businesses become aware of changes to the state tax system. The 2009 summary covers 43 bills.

To review the summary, click here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chamber Announces Inaugural Issue for Advocacy

Look for an upcoming inaugural edition of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber's Chamber Advocacy.

This e-newsletter is designed to highlight the Chamber's many efforts and programs that "speak out" for our local and regional business issues and priorities.

Members have consistently supported the advocacy role of the Chamber as being one of its top roles and values. Be sure to watch for future editions.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Legislative Job Unfinished

The Regular Session of the Washington Legislature adjourned April 26.

Gov. Gregoire WILL NOT at this juncture call lawmakers into a Special Session although there has been some hint of an October special session when the Legislature is already in Olympia for Committee days.

What this means today is the 2009-2011 Biennial budget is still slightly out of balance because several cost saving bills (largely correction system related) were not adopted by the Legislature prior to the end of the Regular Session on April 26.

The bottom line…
  • no new major tax increases on business

  • large cuts in K-12 and Higher Education

  • and cuts in most State programs which go into effect soon (as estimated 7,000 to 8,000 jobs total)…reducing the number of folks on the Basic Health Plan, etc…

but we most definitely will have budget issues to contend with in the future.

For a full recap of the legislative report, including the status of the Chamber’s T.E.A.C.H. agenda, go here.

Guest blogger: Michael Transue, Contract State Lobbyist for the Chamber

Monday, June 8, 2009

Your Voice Heard 3,000 Miles Away

It was an outstanding trip this year with over 17 participants led by the Chamber’s Vice Chair Toby Murray. The group highlighted the Chamber’s RAMP funding priorities, which include SR 167 and a portion of I-5 from Nisqually to Thorne Lane.

We discussed with our Congressional Delegation and various Departments in the Executive Branch, support for Boeing with the tanker issue, school facilities at Fort Lewis and alternative energy projects

The delegation was comprised of Pierce County business leaders and civic officials ranging from corporations and family-owned businesses along with officials from the Port of Tacoma and the cities of Tacoma and Lakewood.

The trip took place over the course of a three-and-half day period in mid-May 2009. During that time, the Chamber met with most of the congressional delegation members for Washington State, officials from the Pentagon including Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, representatives from the Boeing Company, U.S. Chamber and the Association of the United States Army. In all, the group participated in over 25 different meetings spread mainly throughout Capitol Hill and reaching as far as Virginia.

It is evident the Chamber’s constant and continuous communication over the last twenty-four years with these officials and congressional members in Washington, D.C. has resulted in funding for our infrastructure, security, trade, transportation and military bases.

The Chamber would like to especially thank this year’s sponsors for their commitment and dedication to making our organization and our advocacy at the federal level better: Waste Connections, Simpson, The Boeing Company, Comcast and Totem Ocean Trailer Express.

This year’s trip to Washington, D.C. was the 24th taken to the nation’s capital by the Chamber. If you are interested in participating in next year’s trip – the Chamber’s silver anniversary trip – please contact Mike Weinman.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chamber Joins State-wide Benefits Program

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber has joined a statewide network for health and other employee benefit programs. Called the Business Health Trust, the plan provides insurance products and services through chambers of commerce in Washington state, such as the Greater Seattle, Greater Spokane and Tri-Cities Chambers.

70% of our members are small business...

Business Health Trust will be available to the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber member companies that employ between two and 99 people beginning August 1, 2009. Products include the full range of health insurance and employee benefits, including medical, dental, vision, life, long-term disability, and employee assistance plans.

...bringing enhanced benefits to our members.

Business Health Trust (BHT) has contracted with some of the state’s largest carriers, including Regence Blue Shield, Group Health Cooperative, Washington Dental Service, Lifewise Assurance Company, and Vision Service Plan. The organization also partners with Brown & Brown of Washington for program management and the Benefit Administration Company for trust administration. The BHT is represented by the top brokers in the region.

Approximately 70% of our members are small businesses, and we are excited about bringing these enhanced benefits to our membership. The Business Health Trust group provides competitive prices and numerous plans to choose from, said David Graybill, President & CEO of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber.

Health care insurance is the dominant labor and employment-related concern for small and medium-sized businesses according to the National Small Business Association’s 2008 Survey of Small and Mid-Sized Businesses.

Being part of Business Health Trust’s network gives our South Sound members even more large-group buying power than before. Small businesses fuel our economy and we are committed to supporting their growth by providing the latest industry products that increase productivity and lower absenteeism. said David Graybill.

Helping small businesses succeed is a top priority for chambers of commerce, said Emmy Jordan, Business Health Trustee and Senior Vice President of Membership and Business Development at the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. The Business Health Trust provides group buying power. This translates into affordable, high quality benefits for small businesses.

For more information about Business Health Trust and enrollment, visit our web site or contact the Chamber at 253.627.2175.

About the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber
The mission of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is to create an environment of economic opportunity in our community. Our membership consists of the most powerful and influential decision-makers in the region. We bring small and large businesses together to advocate for economic development and a more livable community. For more information, visit our website or contact us at 253.627.2175.

About Business Health Trust
Business Health Trust is committed to providing employers with 2-99 employees the advantage of "large group" purchasing power. Business Health Trust works with Chambers partners throughout Washington state. Our business partners include Benefit Administration Company, Wells Fargo Insurance Services, and Brown & Brown of Washington (Tacoma). To find more or to obtain a proposal, please visit or contact your member insurance agent.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Filing Week Nears End

The filing week for candidates running for office this year is quickly coming to an end. The deadline for filing is this Friday, June 5 at the close of business at the Pierce County Auditor's office.

To see the current list of candidates, click here.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Congressional Bacon

The Washington Policy Center has aided in ranking spending which can be difficult, as has been shown on earlier blogs here about stimulus spending and with the links on our page.

But a new law requires members of Congress to post projects they've requested via earmarks on their official websites. The Washington Policy Center's website contains a listing of transportation funding requests, along with a tally of how much money each member has requested.

The grand total so far is $1.57 billion, and the congressman with the most is Rep. Adam Smith, whose requests total $377 million.

It would be hoped that the federal transportation budget could supplement some more of the needs of Pierce County as reflected in the state transportation budget, just as the stimulus funding did.