Thursday, January 31, 2013

Manufacturing-Industrial-Maritime Luncheon

Today the Chamber hosted our Manufacturing-Industrial-Maritime Lunch at the La Quinta Inn & Suites. M-I-M's purpose is in recognizing the wealth generation that comes from basic industries, to support manufacturers, maritime and basic industries.

The meeting started off with an update on last meeting's roundtable focused on: education, advocacy, and business.

There were presentations about some incredible programs we have access to here in Pierce County. The first program is called Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA). YEA is an opportunity for high school students to work with business professionals over the course of a year and create their own full functioning business, that may carry on after they graduate.

The next presentation was on Invista Performance Solutions, a company who provides high quality workforce training. After that we got a chance to hear about the Pierce County Skills Center, and the great things that the skills center is offering to K-12 and Community Colleges in the region. The last presentation of the day was a presentation on Washington Business Week. Washington Business Week is offering a manufacturing week for high school students in grades 11 and 12. Manufacturing week is a full week learning about careers such as Aerospace, Marine or Process Control Techonology.

I was so excited to see all these wonderful organizations for business community that are working to prepare the future generations of the business and manufacturing work force. If you are interested in coming to the next M-I-M meeting please contact: Savannah Kimball at

Monday, January 28, 2013

Join the Chamber for Leg Day 1

All members of the Chamber are invited to the first meeting of the legislative session with members of the Pierce County caucus.

State Representatives and Senators who represent all portions of Pierce County have been invited to attend this luncheon event, discuss the current happenings in the session, learn more about the Chamber's legislative agenda and hear from you - the Chamber members.

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Chamber Supports Tacoma Public Schools Prop 1

The Chamber’s Board of Directors voted to support the Tacoma Public Schools Prop 1 for Neighborhood School Improvements and Safety Upgrades.

The Chamber has long supported investments on the betterment of the community’s quality of life, including improvements to resident families’ learning environments. In the most recent issue survey of its membership, respondents ranked K-12 education as the number one issue that government should address.

The Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee’s (GAC) consensus through examination of details of the financing and the increased demand for quality space due to rising student enrollment necessitated the expenditures.  Board members concluded from GAC’s recommendation that there were compelling safety concerns and financial benefits to warrant the support of Prop 1.

$ for Made in America

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tacoma Updates Utilities Rates

Tacoma utilities users are up for the biannual rate evaluations.  Both the Environmental Services Department (surface water, wastewater, solid waste) and Public Utilities (water, electricity/power) have conducted rate cases involving a review of operations, capital needs and cost of service.

Here is a comparison of Tacoma’s 2013 residential rates for these utilities compared with neighboring cities in the region.  For these comparisons, Tacoma’s combined utilities’ rates are lower than comparable or neighboring cities.  Of course, businesses are typically in different rate classifications than residents, but the residential rate serves as a useful universal classification for comparisons.

For 2013, the system-wide rate increases are:
  • Surface Water   6.0%
  • Wastewater       4.8%
  • Solid Waste      0.0%
  • Power               4.2%
  • Water                6.0%
You should note that the Solid Waste rates system average increase is 0% because the City will begin a volume-based rate system that will offer customers conservation opportunities.  Commercial customers will again have a 0% rate increase because the City is keeping its commitment to adjust rates to a cost-of-service philosophy, ending a subsidy of residential rates by its commercial customers.

Although both utilities departments have engaged in a public outreach program both to gain customer input into development of the rates and to inform customers of the increases, there are still customer input opportunities.

Schedule for Adoption
  • Jan. 29                  City Council Study Session Rate Review Presentation
  • Jan. 30                  Public Utility Board Study Session and Public Hearing for Water and Power
  • Feb. 5                    City Council First Reading of Ordinances for Surface water, Wastewater & Solid Waste              
  • Feb. 12                 City Council Second Reading of Ordinances for Surface water, Wastewater and Solid Waste
  • Feb. 13                 Public Utility Board Consideration & Adoption of Water and Power Rates
  • Feb. 19                 City Council First Reading of Water and Power Rates
  • Feb. 26                 City Council Second Reading of Water and Power Rates
  • Mar. 1                   Adoption of Rates for Surface water, Wastewater and Solid Waste
  • Apr. 1                    Effective Date of Power and Water Rates
If you wish more information about how these rate increases may apply to your business or wish to share your concern about the proposed increases, please email Gary Brackett or call him at 253-682-1720.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

SR-167 Completion Coalition First Steps

The executive committee of the SR-167 Completion Coalition, the new stakeholder working group aimed at completing SR-167, met for the first time Friday, January 11.

Pierce County business, labor and community leaders have worked tirelessly to secure the funding necessary to complete SR-167 for decades. The new working group is aimed at bringing together the stakeholders who have been working on this issue into a single group with a unified agenda and message.

The uncompleted portion of SR-167 is a critical missing link in Washington’s transportation system. Without completion, over the next two decades Washington risks losing out on significant amounts of new public and private revenue to other ports along the Pacific coast. The new revenue would be generated primarily by increased containerized cargo traffic.

Completion of SR-167 would also reduce congestion and commute times between Tacoma and Puyallup as well as provide other indirect benefits to the local economy.

The working group named Tim Thompson of Thompson Smitch Consulting Group to coordinate efforts amongst the stakeholders. Thompson is President of the firm and has long been involved in issues that jointly benefit the public and private sectors.

The members of the SR-167 Completion Coalition’s executive committee are as follows:

o   Co-Chair: Dick Marzano, Port of Tacoma Commissioner

o   Co-Chair: John Parrot, TOTE (Totem Ocean Trailer Express)

o   Congressman Denny Heck, Washington’s 10th Congressional District

o   Pat McCarthy, Pierce County Executive

o   Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of Tacoma

o   Pete Lewis, Mayor of Auburn

o   Glen Hull, Mayor Pro-tem City of Fife

o   Tom Pierson, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President & CEO

o   Bill Sterud, Puyallup Tribe

o   Scott Mason, International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 23

o   Toby Murray, Murray Pacific Corporation

o   Tim Thompson, Project Consultant

SR-167 leads the Chamber's Legislative Agenda priorities. For more information visit the SR-167 Completion Coalition website.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Chamber Intern

Hi everyone! I am Anissa Shirley, the new January intern here at the Chamber of Commerce. Currently I am junior attending Tacoma School of the Arts. I love to explore all art forms drawing-songwriting, but my major field of study is photography. In the future I hope to get my doctorate in Women’s and Children’s International Health Studies.

I am working with the Chamber’s advocacy group to learn more on advocacy and networking. I hope to be an asset for the Chamber Staff, and also use this experience to build new connections in the city of Tacoma.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tacoma and Lakewood Councils Appointing New Councilmembers

With Doug Richardson's election to Pierce County Council and Jake Fey's election to the Washington State Legislature, both Lakewood and Tacoma have vacant council seats they are looking to fill.  Both appointments would only be until the end of the terms at the end of 2013.  This means that whoever is appointed will need to run for election if they want to retain the seat into 2014.

In Tacoma, the interview process is before Council during their noon study session on Tuesday, January 15th.  The City sent out a press release last week stating that they may appoint someone as early as the Council meeting on the 15th.  To read more about the seven applicants to fill the position, please visit The News Tribune here.

The Lakewood vacancy had 12 applicants.  The Council is hoping to complete their process for appointment by February 4th.  To read more about the applicants vying for the appointment in Lakewood, the TNT has covered it here.

As you review the candidates, please think about who you'd like to see representing your interests.  Please let the current councilmembers know who you'd like to see join them as the current council will be making the appointment.

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 Horizons Program Broadcast

A replay of the 25th Annual presentation of the Pierce County Economic Index Report, a forecast of the economic well-being of the Pierce County metropolitan area on January 11, 2013 will be broadcast on TV Tacoma on the following dates and times:

Wednesday, Jan. 16 - 8:00 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 17 - 1:00 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 18 - 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 19 - 8:00 a.m.

Sunday, Jan. 20 - 8:00 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 21 - 2:00 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 22 - 4:00 a.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

Program information line: 573.CITY.

Friday, January 11, 2013

We've Recovered from Recession Say Profs

“We have recovered from the Great Recession,” declared Dr. Doug Goodman as he and colleague Dr. Bruce Mann presented the Pierce County Economic Index (PCEI) Report at the 2013 Horizons economic forecast.

Mann (l) and Goodman

Goodman and Mann received a standing ovation perhaps for this good news, but mainly in recognition of the professors’ 25th PCEI economic forecast, from the over 500 attendees.

Mann and Goodman forecast a full recovery with the Pierce County economy seeing 14 consecutive quarters of growth. 

Pierce County is well on its way to attaining new highs for jobs.  Employment will gain 5,000 new jobs in 2013.  The annual unemployment rate will further decrease to 8.2%.

With new jobs will come increased total personal income - $38 billion in 2013 for Pierce County.   Per capita income is up 3.9% over gains in the last four years, to a new high of $45,900.

And as you might expect, that shows in increasing retail sales.  2012 was a strong growth year for retail sales, and 2013 will continue the trend. 

Everyone remains concerned about housing, which suffered during the Great Recession.  2012’s 5.8% gain in residential sales activity quickens in 2013 to 7.6%. 

The trade activity at the Port of Tacoma is buoyed up again with continued growth in 2013 over the substantial increases in 2012. Likewise, the industrial real estate market will repeat the performance of 2012 in 2013.

Drs. Mann and Goodman, University of Puget Sound, are going out with fanfare, as they announced the hand-off of the PCEI to Drs. Martin Wurm and Neal Johnson, Pacific Lutheran University.