Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tell Congress to Reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States

Sign onto the letter to Congress
*Deadline - March 29 - at 12:00 p.m.*

Show Your Support for the Ex-Im Bank

For months now, the Chamber has been strongly urging members of Congress to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank.
Ex-Im's temporary reauthorization will expire on May 31, and failure to reauthorize its operations at an internationally competitive level will seriously disadvantage U.S. companies, both small and large, and their workers, potentially resulting in the loss of thousands of U.S. jobs.

Get involved! 
Sign onto the letter to Congress (Signatures due by noon Thursday)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jay Inslee, Candidate for Governor, Joins RAMP/SCATBd Meeting

Pierce County’s Regional Access Mobility Partnership (RAMP) and King County’s South County Area Transportation Board (SCATBd) are holding a joint meeting at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 at the Port of Tacoma’s Fabulich Center to welcome gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee.

Representatives from public and private agencies throughout the area look forward to hearing Mr. Inslee’s thoughts on how we can move toward a complete system with sustainable funding.

Both RAMP and SCATBd have encouraged the State Legislature and the Governor’s Office to recognize the importance of a fully functional transportation network connecting the entire South Puget Sound region.

Event Details:

Joint RAMP + SCATBd Mtg
8 – 9 a.m.
April 4th, 2012
The Fabulich Center
3600 Port of Tacoma Road
Tacoma, WA 98424

No cost to attend.

About RAMP:
RAMP is a regional coalition including business, labor, public and private organizations and citizens dedicated to improved mobility in the South Sound and Washington State. Our mission is to ensure a healthy regional economy associated with the development of an effective, efficient transportation system and the resources to sustain it. RAMP is co-chaired by Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, Port of Tacoma CEO John Wolfe and Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President & CEO Tom Pierson. For more on RAMP visit the On RAMP blog.

About SCATBd:
SCATBd is a collaborative effort of local elected officials who are committed to improving the regional transportation system. SCATBd represents an area that encompasses 16 cities, portions of two counties, three transit agencies, the Port of Seattle, nine legislative districts, nearly 700,000 people, and over 300,000 jobs. SCATBd is currently chaired by Algona Mayor David Hill. For more on SCATBd, please visit their website.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Still Working for Ex-Im Bank

Many have signed on to the Washington Council on International Trade’s letter to the Washington Congressional delegation, urging swift passage – at higher lending levels – of the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.

This week's Senate Ex-Im Bank vote seems to be more about political positioning than a final action on reauthorization.  Despite this week’s setback in the Senate, we continue to believe that Ex-Im Bank is a vital resource for a wide diversity of Washington state businesses that must be a top federal priority.

This letter – signed by business, government and labor leaders from across the state – demonstrates a strong and widespread commitment to this issue, and will be a powerful statement to our delegation. WCIT will continue its efforts, and asks all to please let them know if they can be of help in your related activities.

Click on images for a large view.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dollars for Small Businesses

Businesses look to all sources of funding to assist with working capital, capital expenses and other specific financial  demands.

The two major local governments (Pierce County, City of Tacoma) both have extensive assistance programs for small businesses for stretching those working capital dollars or looking for opportunities to replace equipment or expand operations.

Both have several loan programs available to assist businesses and developers to stimulate overall economic development with creation and/or retention of jobs as a primary objective.  These publicly funded programs are designed to support existing businesses (within Tacoma or Pierce County, respective to the business location) with expansion efforts or to finance development projects including acquisition of real estate, new construction, rehabilitation, leasehold improvements, equipment and working capital.

These programs are generally intended to provide partial financing with financial institutions normally providing the bulk of the financing for each project.  These funds are not designed as a substitute for conventional lending sources, but to fill the gaps in the existing financial market or to attract capital which otherwise would not be available.  With each project, the borrower must demonstrate sufficient cash flow to cover the additional debt, and all loans must have full collateral coverage.

Loan volume is dependent on need, funds available, application processing capacity, and marketing of loan programs.  Funding is presently available in each of the programs, and as the loans are repaid, via either monthly payments or full payoff; the funds are then available to be re-loaned to the community.

Programs, eligible use of funds, criteria and available funding are as follows:


HUD Section 108 Loans (subject to Tacoma Council approval)
Uses: Land/building, equipment
Criteria: Compliance w/CDBG national objectives
Approximately available: $8 million

CDBG Float Loan (subject to Tacoma Council approval)
Uses: Land/building, equipment
Criteria: Compliance w/CDBG national objectives
Approximately available: $1 million

Business Revolving Loan Fund (TCRA)
Uses: Land/building, equipment, working capital
Criteria: $25,000 - $250,000 per project; One job created/retained per $35,000
Approximately available: $25,000

Title IX Revolving Loan Fund (TCRA)
Uses: Land/building, equipment, working capital
Criteria: $25,000 - $250,000 per project; One job created per $35,000
Approximately available: $250,000

Fire Safety Loan Fund (TCRA) (Pilot Program)
Uses: Fire Code related items
Criteria: $5,000 - $50,000 per project
Available:  $250,000

Grow America Fund SBA 7(a) (in partnership with NDC)
Uses: Land/building, equipment, working capital
Criteria: $100,000 - $5,000,000 per project
Approximately available:  $3 million

Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Program (in partnership with WA Dept. of Commerce)
Uses: Cleanup of hazardous substances
Approximately available: $2,000,000

Tacoma Contact:
James Colburn, Associate Planner
Community & Economic Development Department
City of Tacoma
P:  253-591-5221


Revolving Loan Fund (RLF)
Direct subordinate loans to small businesses in Pierce County (Tacoma & Lakewood ineligible)
Uses: Inventory, equipment, working capital (construction ineligible)
Criteria: Lower-income individuals benefit from 1% of new jobs; One job created per $35,000
Approximately available: $190,000

Investment Loan Program (CIC)
Direct subordinate loans to small businesses located in or expanding in Pierce County
Uses: Inventory, plant expansion, equipment, working capital, accounts receivable
Approximately Available: $130,000 available

SBA 7 (a)
Loan guarantees for small business.  County serves as loan packager.
Uses: Land, building, equipment, working capital
Amount available: $5,000,000 (SBA maximum $3,750,000)

SBA 504 (with Evergreen Northwest Business Development Association, AmeriTrust)
Direct second mortgage loans to small business for expansion projects
Uses: Land, building, equipment
Amount: SBA maximum $5,000,000

Pierce County Contact:
Sheree Clark, Loan Office, Economic Development Division
Office of the County Executive, Pierce County
P:  253-798-6919

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chamber Opens Nomination for Business Environment Award

Earth Day is near and appropriately, the Chamber recognizes that there are many outstanding businesses in our community working hard to protect the environment and preserve our quality of life.

Do you know of a business that deserves recognition for surface water protection or restoration achievements? How about a deserving business that has achieved exemplary results in reducing waste dumped into area streams?  Who has the best air quality results?

The Chamber is accepting nominations of businesses that deserve recognition for their exemplary environmental protection or restoration efforts. The selected nominee will receive a business environmental award to be presented by Taylor-Thomason Insurance.

Nominations will be accepted no later than March 23. Please submit your nomination(s).For more information about nomination criteria or to participate in the Chamber’s Earth Day event, sponsored by Regence.  Contact Gary Brackett or at 253.682-1720. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Cong. Dicks Announces Retirement

U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) released the following statement today:
I am announcing today my intention to complete my service in the House of Representatives at the end of the current session but not to be a candidate for re-election to the 113th Congress.  After 18 terms representing the people of the 6th Congressional District of Washington, preceded by eight years on the Staff of Senator Warren G. Magnuson, Suzie and I have made the decision to change gears and enjoy life at a different pace.

The privilege of serving in the House of Representatives, with the endorsement of the voters every two years, is indeed an honor unlike no other profession in our country and I have truly enjoyed every day here and have cherished all of the friendships we have made with many of the finest public servants in the nation.  I am proud that many of these friendships have crossed the ideological and party lines that tend to separate us, and I have always believed that we can achieve greater results if we leave politics aside when the election season and the floor debates are over.

As I look forward to closing this chapter, I am proud of the work we have done over the years and the accomplishments that we have achieved for the people of the Pacific Northwest, including:

●  Protecting the waters of Puget Sound and Hood Canal: clean water is one of our region’s highest priorities.

● Community Development – Restoring vitality of downtown Tacoma and Bremerton

●  Maintaining a strong national defense and keeping our state’s numerous military bases modern and efficient, including recent efforts to rehabilitate and restore in-base schools for military dependent kids.

● Elwha River Restoration – An internationally-significant ecological project that is in its final stages, with deconstruction of the two Elwha River dams now occurring.  

● Supporting Boeing programs that employ tens of thousands of Washington workers, including helping to win the contract for the new Air Force refueling tanker.

● Addressing the many important human service needs in communities across the 6th District, including support for housing programs and for the establishment and continuation of Community Health Clinics, which often represent the only source of medical care for families who have lost health benefits due to job changes and unemployment. 

● And I am very proud of the work that my offices have done, throughout my career, to help individual constituents with the many thousands of problems and questions that are referred to us.  I have appreciated the work of my dedicated staff, who have always acted as powerful advocates seeking assistance from federal agencies.

It is my intention to work very hard over the next several months, as the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, to conduct our Committee’s hearings and to complete work on all of the FY 2013 Appropriations bills.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

MLK Surveys for Customers & Businesses

As part of the information gathering efforts of the MLK Subarea Plan, surveys are available for different members of the community.  These surveys will provide critical information that will be used to identify community issues which will be a focus of the Subarea Plan process.

The City is asking for broad participation in the surveys to get a robust view of the issues under concern.  Direct links to some of the surveys are:

MLK Area Employees
MLK Area Businesses
MLK Area Customers
MLK Area Adult Residents
MLK Area Young Adult Residents

The City of Tacoma is working with stakeholders to prepare a plan encouraging development in the MLK neighborhood of Tacoma.  More information on the MLK Subarea Plan, including printable versions of the surveys, is available at