Monday, September 30, 2013

Tacoma’s $10+ Million Utility Tax Hurts New Jobs and Local Businesses

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber opposes Prop 1 Utility Tax Increase.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber opposes the City of Tacoma’s Proposition 1 increasing utility taxes by 33% at a cost of over $10 million per year.

This measure, on the Fall ballot, proposes to increase the existing tax by 33% and add a $10+ million cost to consumers each year on their natural gas, electricity, telephone land lines and cell phone service bills. If passed, Proposition 1 would only partially fund basic road maintenance.

The reality is that this tax will be passed on to the customer on top of the City Council’s recently added $20 car tab tax that was supposed to go towards fixing our roads,” said Tom Pierson, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President & CEO.

The City of Tacoma estimates that it needs roughly $800 million in additional revenue to fix existing transportation infrastructure inadequacies that the City has ignored for years. The proposed increase will take 80 years to correct existing problems – and hope that no new transportation needs occur.

The Chamber supports responsible and sustainable planning that will improve Tacoma’s roads with a comprehensive solution for fixing roads, not a band aid approach that the Council has put forward to the voters this fall,” Pierson stated.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber maintains that there are solutions aside from the Prop 1 Utility Tax hike:

•    Tacoma residents are now beginning to be charged the $20 license-tab fee adopted last year by the City.  These dollars should be used to fund road repair.
•    Allow the new Fiscal Sustainability Task Force to complete its work examining the City's revenue structure and budget deficit.
•    Allow the new Transportation Commission to advise the City on short-term and long-range transportation planning.
•    City Council must prioritize infrastructure maintenance with existing dollars.  The Council are currently spending less than 1% of its general fund budget on maintenance while other cities average nearly four times as much.

M-I-M Examines Tacoma Prop. 1: Where's the Nexus?

The Manufacturing-Industries-Maritime group for the Chamber will examine the ballot issue Tacoma Prop. 1, imposing an additional2% tax on electricity, natural gas and telephone land line and cell phone service. See below meeting notice for more info and to register.

(Click on Image for a Larger and  Complete View)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Businesses Speak to Congress on Budget Dance

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber joined nearly 240 now 251 groups rallied by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, signing a letter this Friday afternoon pushing Congress to avoid a government shutdown and to move fast to raise the debt ceiling.

 “It is not in the best interest of the employers, employees or the American people to risk a government shutdown that will be economically disruptive and create even more uncertainties for the U.S. economy,” the groups wrote. In addition to the Chamber, Airlines for America, Business Roundtable, Consumer Bankers Association, Edison Electric Institute, Retail Industry Leaders Association, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, the Real Estate Roundtable, U.S. Travel Association and United States Telecom Association were among the large trade associations signing the letter.

The call for action comes as the Senate voted to send back a $986 billion spending bill, after stripping out language that defunds Obamacare. It’s unclear how the House will move next. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) struggled to get enough votes to pass a bill that would raise the debt ceiling and Republican leadership has not yet laid out a path forward on the spending bill. Unless Congress acts, government funding ends Sept. 30, which would force a shutdown.
The business groups’ letter also offers a counter narrative to the pressure outside conservative groups like Senate Conservative Fund and Heritage Action are putting on members to defund Obamacare even if it causes a government shutdown.

“We appreciate fully the importance of restraining federal spending, both discretionary spending and mandatory spending, to reduce federal budget deficits, contain the growth of federal debt, and thereby re-establish fiscal discipline in the near-term and for the long haul,” the groups wrote. “However, with the U.S. economy continuing to under perform, the federal government needs to maintain its normal operations pending a successful outcome of broader budgetary reforms.

They also called for government to overhaul entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

“Congress cannot continue ‘kicking the can down the road;’ it’s time to take corrective action to address the unaffordable path of entitlement spending, to stabilize federal finances and to undertake fundamental tax reform to strengthen the American economy,” they wrote.

UPDATE (Sept. 30, 2013):  Now totaling 251 organizations, these signing organizations are added to the multi-industry coalition letter sent to Congress last Friday include:

Agricultural Retailers Association
Air Conditioning Contractors of America
California Chamber of Commerce
Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce - IL
Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce – CA
Greater Homestead/Florida City Chamber of Commerce – FL
Greater North Dakota Chamber
Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce – PA
Maui Chamber of Commerce – HI
Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce – AL
Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce – IL
National Marine Distributors Association (NMDA)
North Carolina Chamber
Northwest Food Processors Association
Outdoor Power Equipment and Engine Service Association (OPEESA)
Port Hueneme Chamber of Commerce – CA

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Business Census Final Days

The 2012 Economic Census, the U.S. Government's official five-year measure of American business and the economy, is entering its final days of data collection.

Many businesses have shared with them the challenges of responding with fewer resources.  They have listened, and have provided time extensions and other considerations in allowing businesses additional time to respond.  For businesses that received Economic Census forms but have not yet responded, it is very important to do so now.  (Keep in mind that the Economic Census is required by law.)

In this economic climate, it is necessary to have the most accurate measure of our economy.  Your response to the Economic Census helps provide exactly that.  They thank you very much for your participation.

To assist you, the Census Bureau is prepared to discuss your compliance via phone.  Please call them at (877) 790-1876.  Due to timing, you are also encouraged to use electronic reporting available here.

The Census Bureau looks forward to helping you respond to the Economic Census.  Your response makes a difference.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Pass It Now" Password for 167

The SR-167 Completion Coalition says “Pass it Now” in a Special Session for Transportation.

Members of the SR-167 Completion Coalition comprised of business, labor, environmental and a group of bipartisan elected leaders plan to continue their push on Olympia lawmakers to pass a Transportation Revenue Package in a special session suggested for November.  Falling just short in the Senate at the end of the last special session, the Coalition is encouraged by recent actions by lawmakers and the Governor to address infrastructure needs that are critical to our State’s economy.  

Congressman Denny Heck recently led a meeting of Coalition leaders and reiterated that there is no more important time for this effort than right now.  He went on to say that, “Lawmakers need to hear from us all.  Our message is that there is no bigger priority in the State of Washington right now than a Transportation Funding Package.  Senate leaders will be in Tacoma on October 9th for a listening session and I call upon every member of this Coalition to be there.” 

A bipartisan group of Senate leaders will be holding listening sessions across the state over the next month to receive feedback on a potential Transportation Revenue Package.  The remaining schedule of events is below and Coalition members are encouraged to attend as many of these sessions as possible to voice support for SR-167 completion. Coalition members are also encouraged to reach out to colleagues and contacts throughout the state and encourage them to attend their local sessions to express support of SR-167 completion.  It is absolutely imperative that anyone available to attend the October 9th event in Tacoma does so. “We need you!”

Oct. 9 – Tacoma (Olympic Region) 6-9 p.m
Evergreen Tacoma Campus, Lyceum Hall, 1210 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98405

John Parrott, President of Totem Ocean Trailer Express Inc. expressed his ongoing support for a package when he said, “we can make no better investment in our economy than transportation infrastructure which is why it is imperative that our legislators come together and pass a Transportation Revenue package in November. We cannot ignore or delay the potential creation of 80,000 jobs in our region alone.  We must act now."

“The strength of this effort has been a direct result of the cooperation between business and labor and we continue to stand together in our support of the Transportation Revenue Package,” said Scott Mason, President of the ILWU Local 23.  He went on to say, “I know that our members will be there alongside business leaders on October 9th with the same message, your job is not done this year, pass a package in November.”

In Washington State, four out of every ten jobs are trade dependent. It’s for this reason that so many disparate groups continue to come together to show that there is no time to waste in modernizing our infrastructure for 21st-century global trade. Our leaders in Olympia must act now and vote to approve the Transportation Revenue Package.

Should you choose to attend any of the remaining listening sessions beyond Tacoma on the 9th the schedule is below:

•    Sept. 26 – Tri-Cities 6-9 p.m.
Columbia Basin College, Gjerde Center, 2600 N. 20th Ave., Pasco, WA 99301
•    Oct. 2 – Spokane (Eastern Region) 6-9 p.m.
Central Valley High School theater, 821 S Sullivan Rd., Spokane Valley, WA 99037
•    Oct. 7 – Vancouver (Southwest Region) 6-9 p.m.
Vancouver Community Library, Columbia Room, 901 C St., Vancouver, WA 98660
•    Oct. 9 – Tacoma (Olympic Region) 6-9 p.m.
Evergreen Tacoma Campus, Lyceum Hall, 1210 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98405
•    Oct. 14 – Seattle 6-9 p.m.
King County Courthouse, Room 1001, 516 3rd Avenue, 10th Floor , Seattle, WA 98104
•    Oct. 15 – Bellingham 6-9 p.m.
Port of Bellingham Cruise Terminal, 355 Harris Ave., Bellingham, WA 98225

Monday, September 23, 2013

Transpo Listening Session for Tacoma

Call to Action

State Senate Transportation Listening Session
October 9th, 2013

Evergreen Tacoma Campus, Lyceum Hall, 1210 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98405

Come and bring as many people as you can to urge the Senate Leadership to get the Transportation Revenue Funding Package approved in a November Special Session.  This is too critical for our region for us not to be present in mass.  We cannot ignore the potential for 80,000 jobs!

Please feel free to email Mike Welch if you plan to attend or have questions

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pierce County Purchasing Forum

2013 Greater Pierce County Purchasing Forum 
provides opportunities for businesses looking to win government contracts

Scheduled Guest Speakers:

*Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy

*Linh Thai, Office of Representative Adam Smith, Ranking Member House Armed Services Committee

Panelists and Exhibitors include:
*Pierce County             
*City of Tacoma
*Tacoma School District           
*Port of Tacoma
*Pierce Transit              
*Go Local Tacoma
*Tacoma /Pierce County Health Dept
*WA Dept. of Enterprise Services
*WA Dept. of Transportation
*U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
*Joint Base Lewis-McChord
*NAVSUP Fleet Logics Center, Puget Sound
*U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)
*U.S Naval Undersea Warfare Center
*Pacific NW Defense Coalition
*Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
*Native PTAC
*U.S. Dept. of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency.

Also at the Forum, the Washington State Office of Women and Minority Owned Enterprises will conduct a workshop to assist qualified businesses procure State Certification as a bona fide minority owned business as well as a new category-Small Business Enterprise, a gender and race neutral program.

Date:                Friday, October 4, 2013            

Program:          8:30 a.m. to Noon           

Place:               Environmental Services Building
                        9850 64th Street W.
                        University Place, WA 98467

Directions:       Driving Directions to the ESB GPS Coordinates: Lon: 122° 34' 6.33” W | Lat: 47° 11' 52.8” N
Registration:    Click here to Register or contact Hans Kueck at (253) 798-2335 or email 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Business PAC Announces Fundraiser

(Click on Image for a Larger and Complete View)

Senate Transportation Listening Tour Stops Here 10/9

The Senate’s Majority Caucus Coalition roadmap for a state-wide listening tour to talk about a transportation revenue package in the state legislature includes a stop in Tacoma on October 9 at the Evergreen Tacoma Campus, Lyceum Hall, 1210 6th Ave.
The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and last until 9 p.m. and feature presentations from regional transportation officials, as well as an opportunity for public comment.
The Chamber encourages supporters of completing SR-167 to attend the October 9 meeting and weigh in at the proceedings.
Click here for more information on the current listening tour schedule.  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Chamber Shares ACA Employer Notice Requirements Resource

At the West Side Branch’s August 30 Wake Up! event, sponsor Brown & Brown shared information on the new health insurance marketplace as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Attendees were provided a resource on the requirements of the employer notice and sample notices for both employers that provide medical benefits and those that do not. 

Given the relevance and timeliness of this major change to employer healthcare the Chamber wanted to share this message with the entire membership and provide a resource to employers and employees.

Below are informational flyers from Brown & Brown's Wake Up! presentation:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

2013 Spotlight! On Business Finalists

Spotlight! On Business Awards, presented by the Business Health Trust and Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, honors Chamber member businesses who have set the standard for exemplary business practices in seven categories:

 • Small Business (1-25 employees)
 • Medium Business (26-50 employees)
 • Large Business (51+ employees)
 • Non-Profit Organization
 • Minority-Owned Business
 • Veteran-Owned Business
 • Business Supporter of the Military, sponsored by Harborstone Credit Union

The 2013 Spotlight! On Business finalists are (in alphabetical order):
AlphaGraphics Tacoma
AmericanWest Bank
Bethel School District
Burkhart Dental Supply
Canterwood Golf & Country Club
Eisenhower & Carlson, PLLC
GEICO Insurance
Hotel Murano
McLendon Hardware, Inc.
Northwest Spay & Neuter Center South Sound Magazine
Stewart & Son Computer Services, LLC
Summit Strength & Conditioning
Tacoma City Grocer IGA
Tacoma Youth Marine Foundation
Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity
The Swiss Restaurant & Pub
TWOKOI Japanese Cuisine
Veterans Advocacy Support & Training (VAST)
Venti Productions, LLC

The recipients of the 2013 Spotlight! On Business Awards will be revealed at the September 27, 2013 luncheon ceremony sponsored by Business Health Trust.  This year’s awards sponsor is TAPCO Credit Union, the Business Supporter of the Military Award is sponsored by Harborstone Credit Union and gift sponsor is Harry & David. 

Visit the Chamber’s website to register for the event, this year to be held at Hotel Murano.