Friday, July 30, 2010

Chamber Surveys Pierce County Businesses

Pierce County businesses are invited to participate in an online survey to measure their individual success in using today’s marketing tools as compared to nationwide business use of marketing tools.

The survey will also focus on the business climate to determine how supportive the local environment is for business success.

Businesses will get their own individual rating for a Small Business Success Index and through their participation will determine the Small Business Success Index for Tacoma and Pierce County . The Chamber and the City of Tacoma will use the survey’s results to improve their small business support services.

“The Chamber will share results with regional government, business and opinion leaders,” said David Graybill, President & CEO of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber.

The survey is under the direction of the Chamber which is working with the City of Tacoma and supported by Network Solutions and Rockbridge Associates.

The survey will be live beginning on Friday, July 30, 2010. It will close Saturday, August 14. Respondents will be anonymous.

This will be an online survey only. Businesses may participate by clicking here for the link.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Census Support Pays Off

Lilah Gael, U.S. Census Bureau, presented a Certificate of Appreciaton of the Chamber for its support of the constitutionally-mandated 2010 U.S. Census.

The U.S. Census data always results in an information-rich result that businesses use for marketing and location decisions. This data will form the basis for research and projections for the next decade. Additionally, the Census count will result in a reapportionment of the U.S. House of Representatives as well as state House and Senate redistricting. Local governments often bolster their federal fund requests and allocations with Census data.

Gary Brackett, representing the Chamber, received the Certificate. The Chamber provided facilities for training of local Census workers and included the Census information in its several communications products for many months. Gael said, there was a 9% increased response rate from Pierce County and "it could not have been done without the Chamber."

Brackett noted that Washington State is on the cusp of gaining a new (10th) Congressional House seat, so every citizen counted makes that opportunity and increased Congressional power more likely. Final Census numbers will be submitted to the President in December and be available for a rolling release in 2011.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ballot Resource For Business

Ballots for the August 17 Primary Election are in the mail this Friday, July 30.

Voting begins this weekend.

You can use the Chamber's Enterprise Washington's GROW program page to view voter guides, which include candidate information, responses to candidate questionnaires, incumbent voting records and information on voting in Washington state.

You can also find an editorial on "What to Look For in a Candidate" and frequent updates leading up to the Primary Election voting at the GROW Election Center.

Pierce County Library System Looking For New Board of Trustee

Help guide library services in your community! Apply to be a Pierce County Library System Board of Trustee:
  • Set Library System goals and objectives.
  • Approve annual budgets.
  • Adopt policies.

For more information and application visit the Pierce County Library System's website and enter "trustee" in the search field.

Application deadline: August 25, 2010.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Congress Eyes S.B. Financing

Elizabeth Stevens, VP & Senior Loan Officer, NW Business Development Association wrote to update us on the status of several aspects of federally-supported small business financing.

She said "All eyes are on Congress this week to see if critical business legislation is passed by this Thursday before Congress takes its August break (8/9-9/10)."

Originally the extension of SBA loan fee waivers were also included in HR 4213; its primary purpose was extending unemployment benefits.  But it was stripped from that legislation at the last minute.

"HR 5297," she said, "the small business lending fund bill, was amended on Thursday with SA 4500 (co-sponsors include our two Senators). On Thursday, Senate invoked cloture on SA 4500 to move this to the floor for a vote. All hopes are that Senate will vote on Tuesday, tomorrow. If passed by the Senate, this amended version goes back to the House, which has already approved this legislation. If the House approves, this goes for final signature by the President."

This legislation includes:
  • The increase on the SBA 7A guarantee to 90% through 12/31/10.
  • The maximum loan amounts under the 504 program to $5,000,000 and $5,500,000. This is an increase from $1,500,000 and $2,000,000.
  • Extension of the ARRA temporary fee waiver to 12/31/10.
  • Allowing straight refinance under the SBA 504 program not linked to any expansion.
  • Extension of the SBA Secondary Market ending date

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chamber Division Supports UP Licensing Option

The City of University Place is considering the transfer of the processing of business licenses from the City to the Washington State Department of Licensing.

This issue has been reviewed and discussed by the Chamber’s UP-Fircrest Division Board. A resolution supporting this change in procedure was approved by the UP-Fircrest Division Board and forwarded to the City’s economic development commission (EDC).

Recently, the EDC made their recommendations in part based on the Chamber’s support of this issue.

A final decision will be made by the City of University Place City Council in the near future.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Business Incentives May Expire Otherwise

From the U.S. Chamber comes this urgent message, as an advocate for business:

The Senate is working to renew some of the tax cuts and credits that directly impact all of your businesses, especially those impacting capital gains and dividends. As you might expect, Sen. Cantwell is key to this discussion and needs some evidence that her home state’s business community is solidly behind keeping the capital gains and dividends tax rates at a reasonable level.

The effects of this tax increase are significant and numerous – deterring the use of capital in ways that will grow the economy and create jobs, incentivizing companies to use excessive debt financing, and discouraging businesses from paying dividends. That hurts all Americans, especially seniors, who rely on investment income to supplement their retirement.

Unless Congress acts, the tax rate for capital gains will increase by 33 percent and the tax rates for dividends will increase by as much as 164 percent. The increased cost of capital caused by these increases will hamper economic growth and job creation for years to come.

So, here’s how you can help…please consider adding your organization's name to the business community's letter to Capitol Hill urging them to stop an impending tax hike on capital gains and dividends.

Please add your organization's name to this sign-on letter by Friday, July 23, 2010.

We know this is short notice, and appreciate your thoughtful consideration of this important issue.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Governor seeks feedback on budget plans

This year the Washington State Office of Financial Management will be conducting four executive budget hearings to share information on the budget and receive feedback from residents around the state.

OFM is hosting a public hearing on the state budget in Tacoma on July 19 at 7 pm. At this hearing, OFM budget staff will be presenting information on each major budget area to the public and the Governor’s Committee on Transforming Washington’s Budget. The committee is a group of individuals from around the state and from all walks of life whose charge is to question all of the current assumptions about Washington’s budget. The panel and the public will also have a chance to provide comments or ask questions during the hearing. We hope to see you there!

Date: Monday, July 19, 2010
Time: 7:00pm – 9:00 pm
Location:University of Washington-Tacoma, William W. Phillip Hall, Milgard Assembly Room
1900 Commerce Street, Tacoma

Directions to UWT: click here.

Campus Map of UWT: click here.

Please share this invitation with your networks.  For more information contact: Veronica Marohn, South Puget Sound Regional Representative, Office of Governor Chris Gregoire, 360-902-4114.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Money Flows Unexpectedly

With the recent Supreme Court decision freeing up campaign spending by corporations and labor unions, most of the media ink/electrons has focused on freed corporate spending dominating the campaign coffers, and ignoring the freedom extended to unions with the same decision.

Well, so far, that hasn't been the way it is happening.  The findings are an indication that corporate money is not yet flooding into campaigns as many predicted would happen after the landmark decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

The Washington Post reports that labor unions have dominated spending on independent campaign ads so far this election season, despite the recent Supreme Court decision.  The U.S. Chamber notes that so far this year, $24.7 million in independent spending has been reported to the FEC, campaign filings show. Unions have spent $9.7 million (39 percent of the total), compared with $6.4 million (26 percent) spent by individuals and $3.4 million spent by corporations (13.8 percent).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Call-Out for TPU Customer Volunteer Advisors

Tacoma Public Utilities is presenting an opportunity to its customers to apply as volunteer advisors for a newly forming editorial board.

The board will assist TPU’s Community & Media Services in shaping the external communications tools that are delivered, including newsletters, the website and special publications. TPU will seek opinions from board members about existing tools, tools under consideration and key messages. The opinions of the group will help the utility make decisions about its communication and marketing strategies.

The editorial board will meet quarterly in the evenings beginning in September and members will serve two-year terms. Applicants must be a TPU customer. Click here to apply.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

“101” for Hopeful Small Business Start-Ups

Small businesses make a up a large portion of our area’s big economic picture. Sometimes they even provide “fuel” and sustenance to larger organizations and businesses.  So, the Chamber developed a series of programs aimed at small business success.

Called “Operation Business Bootstrap,” this free-to-the-public resource series includes a workshop, Small Business Start-Up: 101. The workshop, to be held next Wednesday, July 7, provides help for would-be small business owners with information on starting a business.

Presentations from local experts at the July 7th workshop will address:

- “How to form your corporation,” by Evan Marques, Eisenhower and Carlson law firm

- “Common office set-up/start-up mistakes to avoid,” by Petra Perkins from Corporate FrameWorx

- “Insurance needs of new businesses,” by Steve Thomason from Tom Taylor Insurance

Partners for “Operation Business Bootstrap” include City of Tacoma , Pierce County Economic Development, Procurement Technical Assistance Center, SBA , Small Business Development Center, and South Sound Washington Business Center.

For more information and to register, (due to limited seating, registration is required to attend), contact Judy Singley, 253.627.2175.