Friday, November 22, 2013

Invitation to Public Officials Holiday Reception

You're invited to the annual Public Officials Holiday Reception

(Click on image for a larger and complete view)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tacoma's "Constitutional Convention" Process Begins

The City of Tacoma Charter Review and the application process NOW UNDERWAY.

Chamber members and your associates are encouraged to apply by submitting the application located HERE.


Each Councilmember gets one person and members of the Council’s Government Performance & Finance Committee (GPFC) get six to be appointed in January.  GPFC is composed of Councilmembers Lonergan, Campbell, Thoms and Mayor Strickland. (Alt: Councilmember Ibsen).

1.    The Charter Review Committee will consist of 15 citizens of the City of Tacoma, to be appointed by the City Council in the following manner: The Mayor and each City Council member will recommend one person for appointment to the committee. The GPFC recommends to the City Council the appointment of six persons to the committee, to reflect a cross section of the citizens of the City. The chairperson of the committee will be selected by the Mayor.

2.    The duty of committee will be to review the existing Charter of the City of Tacoma and make such recommendations for change as the committee may deem necessary and proper in order to amend the provisions of the existing City Charter with reference to improving the mode and manner of operation and efficiency in conducting the affairs of the City. The City Council reserves the right to furnish to the Charter Review Committee certain guidelines with reference to the scope of the work.

3.    The committee will submit its recommendations and findings to the City Council on or before May 6, 2014, so that adequate and appropriate provisions can be made for the holding of a special municipal election in November 2014, in the event that the City Council determines that recommendations for revisions or changes should be submitted to the electorate.

4.    The City Council expresses its intent that the members of the committee will be appointed in January 2014, and that appointed members will thereafter serve until such time as the final reports and recommendations are made on or before May 6, 2014, at which time the committee will be dissolved without further action of the City Council.

The City Charter review process is not without consequence. At the last Charter review, 12 amendments were proposed and all were passed by the electorate.  The Charter is the constitution of the City and will determine how the City is governed and administered for the next decade.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Young Entrepreneur Academy Info Session Thursday

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!, is an innovative program that guides students through the process of starting their own real business. The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber is excited to announce the start of the YEA! program at University of Washington Tacoma.

YEA! is a groundbreaking program that takes high school students through the process of starting and launching a real business or social movement. By the end of the class, students own and operate fully-formed and functioning businesses, which may continue on after graduating from the program. YEA! aims at teaching students at an early age how to make a job, not just take a job.

“We are excited about the expansion and specifically chose the Tacoma, because of its reputation for academic excellence,” said Gayle Jagel, the CEO and founder of YEA!. YEA! currently operates sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country.

“We are so excited to be able to advance the business education of high school students through the Young Entrepreneurs Academy. Our goal is to eventually provide a unique and challenging experience for all students interested in participating,” said Tom Pierson, Chamber President & CEO.

The program requires a six-month commitment from its young executives. In that time they brainstorm and form their enterprises, make pitches to potential investors, obtain funding, register their companies with governmental agencies, and actually launch their own company or social movement! Business mentors, graphic designers, and local entrepreneurs support the students throughout the program and all of the learning is real and experiential.

Students and their parents can join the Chamber for a YEA! Night to learn about the structure, curriculum, and application process. YEA! brochures and applications will be available at the event. The session will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Thurs., Nov., 21 at the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce (950 Pacific Ave, Suite 300) in the Simpson Community Room. RSVP to by Wed., Nov. 20 to attend.

“One of the most interesting components of the program is the actual behind the scenes knowledge the students are given from local business leaders, who were at one time, standing in their shoes!” said Lynnette Buffington, Chamber Membership Outreach Manager and HR. “The experience is something they will be able to apply to whatever field they choose to enter, thereby giving them the necessary skills to become future leaders of industry.”

“We are urging all local business leaders to become involved with the program and act as mentors to the budding entrepreneurs,” adds Jagel. By partnering with YEA!, large and small businesses volunteer time and services acting as mentors, field trip hosts, guest lecturers, graphic designers, web developers, attorneys, etc. Community support strengthens the program, and the academy strengthens the community.

About the Young Entrepreneurs Academy:
The Young Entrepreneurs Academy, or YEA!?, is a groundbreaking educational program that takes students in grades six through twelve through the process of starting and running real businesses over the course of a full academic year. Students work in close cooperation with local leaders of industry, community members, and educators to develop ideas and objectives, write business plans, pitch potential investors, obtain funding, register with governmental agencies, develop their brand identity and much more!

By the end of the class, students own and operate fully functioning businesses that can be carried on after graduation. Students learn to make a job--not just take a job! YEA!’s direct mission is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, launch a venture, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom.

In 2008, YEA! “spun-off” from the University of Rochester, where it was formed in 2004 with support from the Kauffman Foundation, to create its own not-for-profit corporation, YEA! Inc., which is currently launching sites in colleges, universities and high schools across the country to provide comprehensive, exciting entrepreneurship education, leadership development and innovation training to youth between the ages of 11 and 18 years old in the United States thereby making the program available to students at a variety of geographical regions, and providing them with skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century. For more information about the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, please call 585.272.3535 or visit

Begin as a student and finish as a CEO!©

Friday, November 15, 2013

County Council Has Final Public Comment on Budget

The Pierce County Council invites public comment on its 2014 budget.

The Pierce County Council is poised to approve a 2014 budget that strives to improve the responsiveness of local government, invests in community programs and maintains a stable financial position.

The Council approved the budget on second reading by a 7-0 vote on Nov. 12. The Council scheduled its final vote for Tuesday, Nov. 19 to give the public time to comment.

Highlights include:

•    Funding for a deputy prosecutor who will handle cases involving elder fraud and abuse.
•    Opening a new Sheriff’s precinct in the Parkland/Spanaway area, which has waited years for a more visible law enforcement presence.
•    Dedicating fees from building permits to a special fund – rather than the General Fund - so that the Planning and Land Services Department has the right amount of staff to provide timely service as applications increase.
•    Financial and performance audits of the Pierce County Jail to help identify cost savings so it can attract more contract business from other jurisdictions.
•    Money for senior centers throughout Pierce County that provide meals and other services to the elderly.

“The economic outlook for Pierce County continues to improve,” said Council Chair Joyce McDonald (District 2). “Revenues from sales and property taxes are up, thanks to an increase in construction and consumer activity. Our conservative budgeting in recent years has left us in a stable and secure financial position, particularly because our employees found innovative ways to streamline operations.”

The General Fund, which pays for most general government services, would drop from approximately $275 million this year to $271.1 million due to the transfer of building permit fees to the special revenue fund. Total spending for 2014 amounts to $978.1 million, which includes $151 million for sewer construction as the county expands the Chambers Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to accommodate growth in the region.

The budget funds 3,007 full-time equivalent positions, which is 481 fewer than in 2008. The budget includes a 1.88% cost of living adjustment for employees, the first such adjustment in three years.

There are 18 ordinances in the budget package. The main ordinance, covering the General Fund, is 2012-67s2.

The Council invites public comment by using the “contact us” link here or by calling (253) 798-7777. The Nov. 19 meeting begins at 3 p.m. in the Council Chambers, located on the 10th floor of the County-City Building, 930 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma.

Once the Council approves a budget, Executive Pat McCarthy will have 10 days to sign or veto it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Public Officials Holiday Reception Invitation

Chamber members are invited via the below invitation to the annual Public Officials Reception. The link below directs you to the registration page which includes the public officials that have so far confirmed their attendance. 


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coal Trains Debate

Bob Watters of SSA Marine and Mike Elliott, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen will be representing the "pro" side of this debate. Environmentalists from Climate Solutions and other environmental groups will be on the "con" side.  Mike expects a hostile environmental crowd and will appreciate any support that can turn out at this event.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Chamber's 2013 Election Scorecard

The Chamber scored a clean sweep of its recommended ballot issues in the November 5 general election.

Most gratifying was the rejection by Tacoma voters of Tacoma's Prop 1, a 33% increase in utility taxes for electricity, natural and cell and land phone service.

Regardless of the voters rejection of the Prop 1, all concerned recognize that Tacoma has a road issue that must be rectified.  The Chamber remains willing to work in partnership with other corroborating agencies or groups that share the goal of better roads for Tacoma.

I-517 (concerning initiative signature collection) and I-522 (regarding labeling of GMO foods), were defeated state-wide due to the educational efforts of broad coalitions of groups and individuals.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

"Made in America" Grants Available

Is your company or another you know of Washington companies with products or services that are “Made in America”?

Many U.S. companies are eligible to receive up to $75,000 in grant funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms Program, to help fund projects of their choice.

If you are interested in discussing the program or if you know of any companies that might qualify, please feel free to contact:

Patrick Meuleman,
Client Development Manager
NW Trade Adjustment Assistance Center
Phone:  208-343-6855
223 North 6th St, Suite 300
Boise, ID 83702
Fax:  208-343-6856

Serving: Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington State

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Business Alliance PAC Congratulates Its Winning Endorsed Candidates

The Tacoma-Pierce County Business Alliance Political Action Committee is pleased to announce results of the candidates endorsed by the PAC for the 2013 General Election.

Comprised of business leaders from a variety of industries in the region, it is the mission of the Business Alliance PAC to promote candidates who support economic growth, jobs creation and business interests in the local area.

After interviews with candidates for Tacoma City Council and Port of Tacoma Commission, the PAC endorsed the following candidates:

•    Robert Thoms, Tacoma City Council, Position 2
•    Joe Lonergan, Tacoma City Council, Position 5
•    Victoria Woodards, Tacoma City Council, Position 6
•    Connie Bacon, Port of Tacoma Commissioner, Position 1

 “Considering this is our first year of involvement in local politics,” said Toby Murray, President of the Tacoma-Pierce County Business Alliance PAC, “we feel positive about this slate of candidates and the results of the election.  Their ability to work with the business community on economic development, job creation and sustainable infrastructure will be critical.  All of these elements are vital to having a strong quality of life for everyone in our community.”

The Tacoma-Pierce County Business Alliance PAC opposed the Tacoma’s Prop 1 increasing utility taxes. With early results showing Prop 1 failing at the polls, the PAC expresses its thanks to the voters for maintaining a business environment which will increase jobs and grow the economy.

For more information, please email

ESGR Event Hosts Employers

Early Returns Show Defeat of Tacoma's Prop 1

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, which opposed the City of Tacoma’s Proposition 1 increasing utility taxes by 33%, is optimistic about early returns showing a defeat of Proposition 1.

“The Chamber is excited the early returns show voters’ rejection of an inadequate and unfair fix for our roads. We continue to support responsible and sustainable planning that will improve Tacoma’s roads.  If there is a defeat of Proposition 1 at the ballot box, we are ready to work on a real solution,” said Tom Pierson, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber President & CEO.

The measure proposed to increase the existing tax by 33% at 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 have partially funded basic road maintenance.

The City of Tacoma estimates that it needs roughly $880 million in additional revenue to fix existing transportation infrastructure inadequacies that the City Council has ignored for years. These shortcomings will only partially be funded through Proposition 1 taking decades to resolve.

The Chamber had suggested solutions aside from the Proposition 1 Utility Tax hike that was proposed, including:

•    Tacoma residents have only recently begun to be charged the $20 car tab fee levied last year by the City Council.  These dollars should be used to fund road repair.
•    Build on the recommendations of the City’s Fiscal Sustainability Task Force examining opportunities to find savings and revenues within the City's existing budget.
•    Allow the new Transportation Commission to advise the City on prioritizing transportation improvements.

Business Case for Hiring Vets

The Chamber joins Hire Our Heroes, TrueBlue, Inc., The Association of Washington Business, Starbucks, and Eisenhower Carlson, PLLC to present “Standing Shoulder to Shoulder with our Military Veterans – The Business Case for Hiring Military Veterans”.

On November 13,  8 a.m. to Noon at TrueBlue, Inc., 1015 “A” Street, Tacoma, the event will focus on why hiring Veterans makes good sense, finding the right match amongst the many qualified Veterans available, and the Legal “ins and outs” related to hiring the Veteran of your choice.

All Tacoma-Pierce County businesses interested in hiring Veterans, currently hiring Veterans, or considering hiring Veterans should plan to attend this interesting and informative event. Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber member businesses may attend for only $25.00, morning refreshments are provided.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Vote "NO" on Tacoma's Prop 1


Chamber members are encouraged to vote in this general election.  Ballots were mailed mid-October, but returns must be postmarked or delivered to an approved station by Tuesday, Nov. 5, 8:00 p.m.

The Chamber’s advisory ballot:

NO      Tacoma’s Prop 1 to increase Tacoma’s utility taxes

NO      Washington I-517 which enables initiative canvassers’ trespass rights on private properties

NO      Washington I-522 which inaccurate, unnecessary, costly and harmful to farmers

The Chamber’s Voice for Business voters’ guide is available here for additional information on these ballot issues.

Chamber members may also reference the Voice for Business voters’ guide here for responses from candidates about issues and attitudes critical to the local business environment.

Also, the Chamber notes the independent Tacoma-Pierce County Business Alliance PAC has made these endorsements for their best business-oriented candidates in contested races. 

NO      Tacoma’s Prop 1

YES    Connie Bacon, Port of Tacoma Commissioner, Position 1

YES    Robert Thoms, Tacoma City Council, Position 2

YES    Joe Lonergan, Tacoma City Council, Position 5

YES    Victoria Woodards, Tacoma City Council, Position 6