Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cleaning the Metro's Air

We are well on our way to removing approximately 1,000 old, uncertified wood stoves and inserts from the Tacoma-Pierce County Smoke Reduction Zone! 
The wood stove program officially launched last week and we will hold the first drawing this Friday to select our first round of lucky winners to receive replacement funds.
What:  Wood Stove Program Replacement Drawing
  • 5 free-replacement grand prizes
  • 50 $1500 discounts
  • 100 $1000 discounts
When:  Friday, 11/30, 11 a.m. to noon
Where:  PSCAA Tacoma – 747 Market Street, Suite 1520, Tacoma, 98402
Tom Pierson, Tacoma-Pierce Co. Chamber, and Frank DiBiase, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, will be drawing the grand prize winners.  
If you’d like to be a part of this process, please RSVP to Melissa Paulson, Communications Specialist, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, by noon on Thursday.  Although this is a relatively informal event, it’s also a reflection of your months of effort and input.  We plan to showcase the wood stove program’s success in the future, as well, and a second drawing will be held in mid-February.
Please feel free to contact Melissa with any questions you might have.  More information about wood stove program details and Tacoma-Pierce County outreach is available online at www.airsafepiercecounty.org.

Non-Profit Healthcare Taxes Increase, Again

It was about a year ago that we first started talking about the holes in the City of Tacoma's budget.  Since then, we've seen the City Council increase taxes on the non-profit healthcare sector by about $1M per year.

Now the City Council is back to it again.  After last week's compromise provision including a reduction in the B&O tax after two years was rejected by five councilmembers - a provision intended to give the City two years to help right its finances - they are expected to vote on the tax increase tonight.

In light of the ordinance as it stands today - quadrupling the B&O tax while targeting two businesses - the Chamber submitted the attached letter to the City Council yesterday.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Connecting to a Key Economic Partner

Respecting the economic partnership between Alaska and Tacoma, the Chamber’s President & CEO Tom Pierson attended the 33rd annual Alaska Resources Conference held Nov. 14-15 in Anchorage.
Joining Tom from Tacoma was John Parrott, Pres., Totem Ocean Trailer Express, Inc. for a whirlwind series of conference sessions and meetings with local businesses.  Thanks to the support of Carlile Transportation System, Tom was able to strengthen his relationships with Alaska business leaders.
His contacts included Bill Popp, Pres., Anchorage Economic Development Commission, Kara Moriarity, Executive Director, Alaska Oil and Gas Association and Karen Matthias, Alaska representative for the Port of Tacoma.
Alaska Governor Sean Parnell (recently hosted in Tacoma by the Chamber’s Alaska Committee) and Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan (visited by the Chamber-led Tacoma delegation to the Alaska State Chamber Conference), honored the Resource Development Conference with remarks directed to the economic opportunities in Alaska.
Tom recently published comments in his October op-ed piece for the Business Examiner, were read and praised by numerous Alaskans as he visited their state again.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tacoma City Council Opening

New District 2 Boundaries
With the election of Councilman Jake Fey to State Representative Jake Fey, there will be a vacancy on the Tacoma City Council come January.  To stay on top of the process, the City is expected to open the application process for interested parties on December 4th.

Three years ago, the City went through the same process with two seats vacated by then councilwomen Marilyn Strickland, now Mayor, and Julie Anderson, now Auditor.  This process gave us Councilmen David Boe and Ryan Mello.

As the Chamber continues to encourage advocacy on behalf of business, we also encourage our business people to take direct action through boards, elections, and appointments - like this one.

If you'd like more information on the process, please contact the Chamber at 253.627.2175 and ask for David.  You can also read The News Tribune's report on the process here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/11/19/2372981/city-council-prepares-to-fill.html

The Council District in question is District 2, generally, Puget Park to North Union Avenue to 6th Avenue to Tacoma Avenue to I-5 and all of the Port and Northeast Tacoma.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chamber’s Score for State Election

This last general election has given us all suspense, if not satisfaction on all election issues. While the state has as of Tuesday afternoon counted 93.6% and Pierce County 99.5% of ballots in hand, several measures have the slimmest of margins and at least one remains too close to call.

Too close to call, where it’s numerically possible to change the current trend is Pierce Transit Proposition #1, to raise the transit benefit area’s sales tax by 0.3%.  There remains the possibility that either proponents or opponents of the measure could pay an estimated $200,000 to fund a recount, since measures do not enjoy automatic recounts.

Following are the Chamber’s Board of Directors recommendations (in bold type) for the November 6 general election measures, Pierce County election numbers, State election numbers and our score! (as of November 13, 2012)

Oppose: Pierce Transit Proposition 1 – Sales tax increase
Pierce County Voters
Approve – 49.81%
Reject – 50.19%


Update #1:  Voters rejected Proposition 1 - Sales tax increase.  Chamber win.
Transit District Voters
Approve - 49.83%
Reject - 50.17%

Support: Pierce County Charter Amendment 40 (Councilmanic Supermajority) – Requiring a two-thirds vote of the council to levy or increase a new councilmanic tax.
Pierce County Voters
Approve – 67.10%
Reject – 32.90%

PASSED = Chamber Win!
Support: Initiative 1240 – Creation of a public charter school system.
Pierce County Voters
Yes – 54.75%
No – 45.25%

State Count
Yes – 50.81%
No – 49.19%

PASSED = Chamber Win!
Support: SJR 8221 - Managing State Debt
Pierce County Voters
Approve – 65.16%
Reject – 34.84%

State Count
Approve – 63.09%
Reject – 36.91%

PASSED = Chamber Win!

Support: SJR 8223 (UW/WSU Investment Authority) – Grants UW/WSU authority under oversight of State Investment Board to invest enterprise funds in private sector opportunities.
Pierce County Voters
Approve – 41.90%
Reject – 58.10%

State Count
Approve – 43.94%
Reject – 56.06%

PASSED = Chamber Loss!

Neutral:  I-1185 (Legislative Supermajority) - One other measure was addressed by the Chamber to its membership, I-1185, a mandated State Legislative Supermajority on Tax Issues.  The Chamber adopted a “Neutral” position, and provided its membership with both pro and con arguments.  The I-1185 measure is called as a PASSED.

Pierce County Voters
Approve – 68.78%
Reject – 31.22%
State Count
Approve – 64.29%
Reject – 35.71%


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Annual Job Sector Survey

Annual job sector survey: make your business voice heard
The Job Sector Survey is a cooperative project led by economic development organizations in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties. 
It is an annual, one-of-a-kind tool that provides an on-the-ground assessment of conditions, challenges, needs and opportunities for regional employers of all types and sizes. Results are shared with elected officials and policymakers at the local, state and federal levels to help them understand business needs and how policy decisions impact your business.
Please take 10 minutes to fill out this brief but important survey about your business. Those who complete the survey will have their names entered into a drawing for two roundtrip tickets from Southwest Airlines.
The Job Sector Survey is made possible with support from the Prosperity Partnership, Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, enterpriseSeattle, King County, Pierce County Economic Development Department,  Economic Alliance Snohomish County, Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, The Seattle Times, the City of Seattle's Office of Economic Development, and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
The survey runs through the end of November 2012.
For more information, contact Hans Kueck of the Pierce County Economic Development Department at 253-798-2335 or hkueck@co.pierce.wa.us.