Monday, December 27, 2010

Redistricting - A Zero Sum Game

The New York Times has an interesting story on the parties efforts to redistrict congressional seats throughout the nation.

Washington state's recent gain of a congressional seat means somewhere in the country another state will lose a seat. The additional seat(s) given to states in the South and West due to increases in population numbers will be off-set by the loss of seats in states from the Mid-west and East Coast region.

The Times also reports many of the decision makers involved in determining the congressional district lines have a lot of new friends. In Washington, the congressional district lines will be determined by a Redistricting Commission comprised of two Democrats and two Republicans selected by the legislative caucuses and a chairperson selected by those four commissioners.

More information can be found on the commission website although it needs to be updated once the new commission is officially selected.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Washington gets a 10th Congressional Seat!

It is official.

Based on the latest Census results, Washington will gain a new congressional seat.

The News Tribune has more information and an interactive national map produced by the Census Bureau outlining the population shift at this link.

Governor Gregoire, commenting on the new Census results said, “I’m proud of the work of our citizens – many worked tirelessly to ensure Washingtonians were counted, and because of their effort, our state’s mail back participation exceeded the national average. Their effort is an important part in ensuring democracy and representation.”

Lilah Gael, U.S. Census Bureau said, there was a 9% increased response rate from Pierce County and "it could not have been done without the Chamber." Many will recall the numerous marketing and advertising support and the use of office space for Census taker training that the Chamber gave the Census to increase our response rate.

It worked and it produced positive results!  In addition to more Congressional clout, the state and Pierce County will be advantaged by an enhanced federal allocation for the next decade.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

PCEI 2010-2011 Broadcast Times & Channels

Missed the Horizons 2011 economic forecast event this morning?

You still have the opportunity to hear both the keynote speaker Dr. Bob Baur and the PCEI forecasters Drs. Bruce Mann and Doug Goodman on TV Tacoma - both in the City and in Pierce County public television.

Broadcast Replay Times:

Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011
8 a.m. & 5 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011
1 a.m., 3 p.m. & 8 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 3, 2011
4 a.m., 2 p.m., 8 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2011
4 a.m. & 11 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2011
9 a.m. & 8 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011
1 p.m. & 9 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 7, 2011
2 p.m. & 10 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011
8 a.m. & 5 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011
1 a.m., 3 p.m. & 8 p.m.

TV Tacoma is carried on both the Click! and Comcast cable systems.

On Click! TV Tacoma can be seen on Channel 12 in the Tacoma city limits and in Pierce County, with the exception of University Place, where it is found on Channel 21.

On Comcast, TV Tacoma can be seen on Channel 21 in Pierce County. It is NOT carried on the Comcast system in University Place.

TV Tacoma is also streamed on the internet at  here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Mystery of the Economy: Get Clues from an Exclusive Local Forecast

The Pierce County Economic Index (PCEI): what is it and why is it important?

  • Designed to measure the economic well-being of Pierce County, the PCEI report is constructed from more than 25 local, regional and national data sets.
  • The data sets for the report were chosen for their tested relevance, timely availability and consistency of reporting.
  • The report is unique to Pierce County and an exceptional business tool rarely duplicated in other communities.
There have been 20+ years of annual PCEI reports unveiled at the Chamber’s Horizons economic forecast event, which serves as the initial presentation of the PCEI. Authors of the PCEI, Drs. Bruce Mann and Douglas Goodman, professors of economics at the University of Puget Sound, present the forecast in a general conference session.

Attendees of this year’s event (scheduled for the morning of Thursday, December 16, 7:30 a.m.), will be treated to an audience-friendly, part humorous, part somber, comprehensive and always significant presentation by the professors (adept from 23 years of informative reporting).

With the help of their “magnifying glass” scrutinizing our area’s economy, get clues that will assist in clearing the economic air of mystery surrounding the upcoming year by joining us at the 2011 Horizons Economic Forecast event next Thursday at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center.

Would-be economic detectives can sign up by clicking here—but remember, the hourglass is emptying quickly as online registration is cut off at 10 am, Monday, December 13.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

State Sets Up Small Business Reference Site

The Washington State Department of Commerce website which lets small businesses and individuals search for training, technical assistance, and other types of support is now available.

The address for the site is . The site allows users to perform a simple search to locate the service or services they are interested in and that are offered in their county, or they can select “statewide” to see all available services.

What are YOUR hiring plans?

During the month of December, WorkForce Central is asking Pierce County employers to share their confidential insights about hiring plans for 2011.

It will take approximately two minutes to confidentially answer the 10 question survey - click here. Your input will provide important feedback that WorkForce Central could use to effectively serve Pierce County employers during the coming year.

To receive the results of the survey directly, include your e-mail address at the end of the survey.

You may share this survey with fellow Pierce County employers by sharing the survey link:

Friday, December 3, 2010

Forecast Incentivized for Small Business

Small businesses are offered a special price for the Chamber’s Horizons 2011 Economic Forecast event on Thursday, December 16, 2010, 7 to 9 a.m. at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center.

Cost for small businesses (with zero to five employees) is $50 per person. Regular price for the event is $65 per person.

"Small businesses, who don’t have their own economist or market forecasters will find this event especially helpful,” said Gary Brackett, the Chamber’s Business and Trade Development Manager. “Small businesses can use the Pierce County Economic Index, chart their historical sales or revenues against the forecast and generate their budgets for next year.”

The annual forecast of the area’s economic well-being, the Pierce County Economic Index (PCEI) report, will be presented by Drs. Bruce Mann and Douglas Goodman, professors of economics at the University of Puget Sound. Attendees will receive copies of the PCEI, (an incomparable business tool rarely duplicated in other communities), at the breakfast event.

In addition, Keynote Speaker Dr. Robert Baur will report on national and region economies in his presentation. As Principal Global Investors’ managing director and chief economist, Dr. Baur establishes and directs global economic policy and strategy, oversees and conducts macroeconomic and quantitative research, forecasts economic trends and anticipates market movements.

Expert insights on the local, regional and national aspects of the economy make this an invaluable event for businesses who want assistance in determining their business outlook.

To register click here.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Local Projects Get Money

Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Washington State Department of Commerce announced today that nine jurisdictions have been granted authority to issue more than $77.8 million of Recovery Zone Bonds and $5.3 million in Small-Issue Private Activity Bonds.  Local projects:

Jurisdiction           Authority           Project

Pierce County         $5.3 million         Frederico Enterprises: Acquisition and remodel of 82,000 square-foot facility to process salmon for distribution to local supermarkets.

City of Tacoma       $9.4 million         Tacoma Dome Parking Facility: Construction of a new parking garage at the Tacoma Dome.

The Bond Cap Allocation Program helps state and local jurisdictions provide tax-exempt bond financing for projects with substantial private investment and resulting in public benefits such as job creation, environmental protection, creating affordable housing, assisting first-time home buyers, and improving public infrastructure.

Learn more about the Bond Cap Allocation and Community Renewal Program here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

City Follows Thru on B&O Tax Breaks

Tuesday night, the Tacoma City Council unanimously passed Ordinance No. 27958 adopting breaks on the local B&O tax.

Lead by Mayor Marilyn Stickland, who spoke directly to the issue at the Chamber's Board of Directors during their January 2010 meeting, the Council's action will directly positively impact many smaller businesses. 

The ordinance increases the floor amount of the gross taxable minimum threshold from a set $75,000 (2010) to $250,000 (2011 and beyond), exempting those businesses less than that amount.  As an assistance to those smaller businesses on the margins of the new minimum floor, the Council added an incremental tax credit for gross income between $250,000 and $300,000.

Those incremental steps are:

Gross Income                            Tax Credit % of total tax due
  • $250,000                                  $0
  • $250,001 thru 260,000               90%
  • $260,001 thru 270,000               80%
  • $270,001 thru 280,000               70%
  • $280,001 thru 290,000               45%
  • $290,001 thru 300,000               25%
These changes will apply for tax reporting periods beginning January 1, 2011.

The Chamber expresses its appreciation to the Council and the leadership of Mayor Strickland on behalf of the businesses in the City of Tacoma for this most positive step benefitting the competitiveness of city businesses and improving the economic climate of the community.