Thursday, December 17, 2015

US Already Has FTAs with 6 TPP Countries

U.S. trade with our free trade agreement (FTA) partner countries supports more than 17.7 million American jobs and billions of dollars in U.S. exports.

The United States has routinely increased exports to FTA partners following implementation of the agreements with those countries.

The United States exported more than $739 billion in goods and services to six Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries that are already FTA partners — Australia, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru and Singapore.

For more information on the value of trade and the TPP to the WA economy, click HERE.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tacoma Council Will Choose Click! Option

After last week's recommendations by the Tacoma Public Utilities Board, the Tacoma City Council will consider two proposals this Tuesday night for future action on Click!.

The two resolutions are distinct choices and have significant consequences for Tacoma Power ratepayers, Click! users and businesses.

As noted in the Chamber's correspondence to the Councilmembers below, the Chamber recommends the lease option for the best future course of action.  The Chamber was an initial supporter of establishing Click! as a means to bring broadband service to Tacoma.  As an industry-defined "second city," that was an unlikely outcome at that time. The subsequent existence of a competitive marketplace is frequently cited for lower rates locally.  But, the marketplace has changed.

With continuing financial losses, Tacoma Power ratepayers have subsidized Click!'s operational losses.  The "all in" option, which represents Tacoma's substantial development of Click!, represents a $38 million bill over 10 years to bring Click! up to desired standards of service.  Even the City's attorney has opined that the existing subsidy of Click! by Tacoma Power may contravene state law.

Additionally, local small, family-owned firms providing ISP in partnership with Click! are expected to be adversely impacted by the "all in" option.  These local firms also represent jobs and investment, as well as their history of partnership.

The operation and fate of Click! is a continuing conflict between the Tacoma Public Utilities Board and the Tacoma Council.  To resolve these continuing disagreements, resolve possible legal conflicts and simplify the oversight of Click!, the Chamber suggests that Click! be reorganized under the auspices of general government with direct oversight and responsibility by the City Council.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Reminding Tacoma of Campaign Promises before Tax Implementation

Before Tacoma Council action to implement the utility tax portion of the recently voter-approved Prop. 3 to Fix Tacoma's Roads, the Chamber reminded Councilmembers of promises to voters to apportion dollars among all types of road and transportation projects.

It is important that from the very beginning of this Tacoma roads package that promises be kept with voters and all the advocates for the needed and necessary transportation projects.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Deadline for Public Comment on Draft Minimum Wage Rules and Minimum Wage Workplace Notice Set for Dec. 18

A deadline of Friday, Dec. 18 has been set for public comment on the draft minimum wage rules and minimum wage workplace notice.

Initiative Measure 1B, which passed last month, called for the minimum wage to increase to $10.35 per hour on Feb. 1, 2016 (the same effective date the Paid Leave Ordinance passed in January 2015). The Tacoma minimum wage would then increase to $11.15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017 and to $12 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018.

Public comment on the draft minimum wage rules and minimum wage workplace notice can be submitted at one of the two remaining public meetings:

• Tuesday, Dec. 15, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
• Thursday, Dec. 17, 10 - 11 a.m.

Both public meetings will take place at the Tacoma Public Library’s Main Branch (1102 Tacoma Ave. S, Olympic Room, Tacoma 98402). Those who are unable to attend a public meeting can send comments or questions HERE.

More information is available HERE.

Monday, December 7, 2015

ST3 Project List Considered

The conversation about the future of mass transit in our region took a big step forward Friday with the release of detailed studies for all the projects that could be part of a ST3 ballot measure next November. 

Sound Transit released details of the ST3 candidate projects, including cost and ridership estimates for each project along with other decision factors such as opportunities for transit-oriented development and non-motorized access options.

The Sound Transit Board identified the candidate projects last summer following a broad public involvement period. The Board focused on priorities for expanding regional transit services as the region’s population grows by a million people in the next 25 years.
Over the coming months, the studies will inform work by the Sound Transit Board to further narrow in on priorities and discuss the funding and size of a ballot measure. Stay tuned for details on how to provide input on a draft package the Board expects to release in March. Input next spring will shape a final measure planned for voter consideration in November 2016.

Check out the study results through the interactive map and full list of projects, where you’ll find more information including summaries comparing options for specific corridors. Visit the document archive for information about funding ST3, including Sound Transit’s cost methodology and track record of constructing projects on time and within budget.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

EX-IM Reauthorization One-Step Away

UPDATE:  15-12-04:The Export-Import Bank of the U.S. (Ex-Im Bank) was reauthorized on Friday, December 4. Garnering a strong bipartisan House vote of 359-65 and a Senate vote of 83-16, the "Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act" extends the Bank's charter through September 30, 2019. 

Months after the Export-Import Bank of the United States’ authority lapsed, the House of Representatives voted again to approve the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank as an amendment to the 5-year, $300 billion highway bill. The bill now heads to the Senate where it is expected to pass.

Rep. Denny Heck (WA-10) applauds second House vote to reopen Export-Import Bank, identifies it as huge victory for Washington’s export economy. “Congress will finally green light Ex-Im to go in and to help these companies get their products out of the warehouses and into the hands of global purchasers,” Heck said. “Once the President signs this bill into law, the Export-Import Bank can once again get American goods sold to customers around the world. This is a victory for our export economy, which includes everything from music stands to wide body jets in Washington state. But let’s be clear that this needless delay harmed small businesses mightily for months, and we can never let it happen again.”

"No one has worked harder or more effectively to reopen the Export-Import Bank than Congressman Denny Heck," stated Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer. "He has been a tenacious fighter on behalf of American businesses and workers, and I thank him for his tireless efforts to reopen the Bank."

“Pexco is pleased that House and Senate negotiators have finalized an agreement on a five-year surface transportation program bill which includes reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank,” said Peter Speer, Pexco’s Vice President of Sales. Pexco, a company with 150 employees in Fife, Wash., that makes traffic and safety products, has used Ex-Im financing in the past to sell their equipment around the world. “The multi-year bill will provide much-needed stability for the highway market domestically after a decade of short-term extensions. Renewal of the Export-Import Bank will assist our company in exporting innovative, life-saving traffic safety technologies overseas, creating jobs for our factory in Tacoma.”

“The Tacoma-Seattle metro is the 4th highest area in the value of goods exported, and 915,000 jobs in Washington depend on trade ,” said Tom Pierson, President and CEO of Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber.  “Ex-Im is vital to keeping our local businesses competitive with other countries’ exporters.”

“The World Trade Center Tacoma is so pleased with the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank,” said Louise S. Tieman, President and CEO of World Trade Center Tacoma. “Our members utilize Ex-Im Bank to export to foreign markets that are not served by US Banks, and these markets generate revenue and jobs here in Washington.  There are new contracts that have been waiting in the wings for reauthorization to come through, so we are anticipating increased export volume for some of our members in the coming months.”

“Last year the Port handled $18.4 billion worth of goods destined for foreign markets. Ex-Im is an essential tool in supporting and growing those exports over time,” said Don Johnson, Port of Tacoma Commissioner. “We applaud Congressman Heck and the Washington state congressional delegation for their leadership in reauthorizing the Ex-Im Bank.”

“The Ex-Im Bank specializes in helping U.S. firms export goods and services and allows them to compete in foreign markets,” said Dr. Chung-Shing Lee, Associate Dean and Professor at the Pacific Lutheran University School of Business. “The reauthorization of The Ex-Im Bank levels the playing field for U.S. firms in a world of international trading distortions.”

In June, Heck publicly promised an “all hands on deck, all the time” effort to get a winning vote in the House to save the Export-Import Bank.

On October 9, more than 40 Republicans joined 179 Democrats in signing a discharge petition to bring legislation to the House floor to reauthorize the U.S. Export-Import Bank, marking the first successful discharge petition since 2002.

On October 27, in a bipartisan vote of 313-118 and with a historic ‘discharge petition’ maneuver, the House of Representatives successfully passed H.R. 597, the Reform Exports and Expand the American Economy Act, to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank of the United States until 2019.

While H.R. 597 failed to move in the Senate, the same reauthorization text was included in H.R. 22, the DRIVE Act, which passed in the House by a vote of 371 – 54 on November 5.

You may use this link HERE to send a letter to your Members of Congress thanking them for their vote and Governors for their support on the reauthorization of the Export Import Bank .

The Export-Import Bank is the nation’s official export credit agency and a tool that helps companies in Washington state and nationwide sell products overseas and create jobs. Since the bank’s authorization lapsed on June 30, 2015, the bank has been forced to stop its assistance to U.S. exporters -- threatening export deals for more than 100 exporters in Washington state.

In 2014, the Ex-Im Bank supported $27.5 billion in export sales and 164,000 jobs, of which tens of thousands are in Washington state. Small businesses transactions were nearly 90 percent of the total transactions of the Export-Import Bank in 2014.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Exports Produce Jobs and Wealth

Expanded trade generates new business opportunities for America’s manufacturers, service providers and farmers, from Seattle-Tacoma (up 9.3%) to Miami and in hundreds of metro areas across the country.

 In 2014, U.S. goods exports to other countries from metro areas alone totaled more than $1.4 trillion, creating economic and job growth in major U.S. population centers.

To learn more about how exports support the U.S. economy and American jobs, click here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tacoma Offers Training for Stormwater & ROW Design

The City of Tacoma is offering training on the 2016 City of Tacoma Stormwater Management Manual (SWMM) and the 2016 City of Tacoma Right-of-Way Design Manual (Design Manual).  Both manuals will become effective January 7, 2016.

This will be technical training geared toward the development and engineering community and those involved with design of projects both on private property and within the City right-of-way though the training are open and available to all members of public.

SWMM Training Dates:

Thursday, December 17, 2015: 8:00am – 12:00pm
Wednesday, January 6, 2016: 8:00am – 12:00pm

Design Manual Training Dates:

Thursday, December 17, 2015: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
Wednesday, January 6, 2016: 1:00pm – 4:00pm

All training will take place at the Central Treatment Plant – Building A on embedded map.
Parking is limited – carpool if possible.

Lunch will be provided for those RSVPing to attend both a morning and afternoon session on the same date. The City cannot accommodate all dietary restrictions and allergies but please respond in your RSVP if there are dietary restrictions and they will let you know if they can accommodate.

Training sessions are limited to 50 people.  RSVP with your requested date and training type.

America’s Agriculture Industry Feeds the World

As you sit down for your Thanksgiving dinner, be sure to keep in mind that the United States is the world’s leading exporter of agricultural products. That includes the same kinds of fruits, vegetables and wheat products that you will enjoy with family and friends tomorrow.

America’s agriculture sector depends on exports even more than the overall U.S. economy does. This means more export revenue, more jobs and more growth for America, which is something we can all be thankful for.

For more information on the value of trade to the U.S. economy, click HERE.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cong. Reichert Leads Key Trade Subcommittee

U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) was recently named as the new Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade. Rep. Reichert is the first Member of Congress from Washington State to serve as Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade.
Rep. Reichert is co-chair of the Friends of TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Caucus, member of the President’s Export Council and founder of the Congressional Freight Caucus.
 “I am very honored to have the opportunity to lead the Trade Subcommittee and champion some of the issues that have the greatest impact on Washingtonians. Washington State is one of the most trade-dependent states in the country with 40 percent of our jobs and more than $90 billion in annual exports connected to trade,” said Rep. Reichert.
“In the Eighth District alone, 77,100 jobs are supported by trade, and our growers, producers and businesses export approximately $8.6 billion in goods and services each year.  With the release of the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and our ongoing negotiations with the EU, this is a critical time for trade. As a long-time advocate of expanding trade opportunities, I will continue fighting on behalf of our workers, farmers and businesses across the country, because I firmly believe through high-standard trade agreements we see expanded opportunities for all.”

Tacoma Voters Pass Prop 3 and Prop A for Street Repair and Improvements

Today, certified results show that Tacoma voters said yes to repairing Tacoma’s streets and passed Proposition 3 and Proposition A. 

These propositions will work together to repair and improve city streets through a number of methods including pothole repair, street resurfacing and building missing sidewalks. In addition, Proposition A provides additional funding for transportation projects outlined in the Six-Year Comprehensive Transportation Plan

“Tacoma voters have demonstrated that they want to be part of the solution. By approving Props 3 and A, they're saying yes to safe and better streets, civic pride and family-wage jobs,” said Mayor Marilyn Strickland.  “The poor condition of Tacoma’s roads have been decades in the making and we now have dedicated funds to repair and maintain them in a significant way."

To achieve funding goals, Proposition 3 (Resolution 39249) will raise funds through an increase in property and utility earnings tax while Proposition A (Resolution TBD010) will raise funds through an increase in sales tax.  All taxes associated with the propositions will expire after 10 years. Over this time frame, these propositions combined are projected to generate $175 million of new revenue. In addition, these measures would leverage an estimated $120 million in grants and matching funds and the City will commit an additional $30 million. The accumulation of all these sources would raise a total of $325 million for Tacoma’s streets.

“With the approval of Props A and 3, Tacoma voters have expressed that the time has come to invest in our city’s streets,” said City Manager T.C. Broadnax. “Over the next 10 years this work will be a major focus for the City and we are committed to keeping residents informed about how these funds will be used to address much needed streets and infrastructure improvements.”

For City staff, next steps include developing annual reports, web pages and using Tacoma Data to connect residents to efforts related to these propositions. The Transportation Benefit District is also required to report back to the City Council annually on projects funded by the district and the spending plan for the upcoming year.  The additional funding sources associated with these propositions will not go into effect until 2016 and the City will use the Six-Year Infrastructure Maintenance Plan, Six- Year Comprehensive Transportation Plan, Transportation Master Plan and the recent pavement condition survey as documents to guide investment in transportation infrastructure.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cong. Reichert on Highway Bill Conference Committee

Yesterday, U.S. Congressman Dave Reichert was selected to serve on the conference committee for the long-term highway bill.

In this role, Rep. Reichert will work with other lawmakers from the House and Senate to negotiate and come to an agreement on legislation to reauthorize and fund the nation’s highway and transit programs.

After hearing news of his appointment, Rep. Reichert said, “I am looking forward to working with my House and Senate colleagues from both sides of the aisle to complete a long-term highway bill. Doing so is critical for our roads, bridges, economic competitiveness, and public safety. Here in Washington State, folks not only depend on strong infrastructure to get to and from work, but with one of the nation’s leading trade economies, our growers and producers need a dependable, efficient freight and transportation system to move their goods safely to market. Today’s conference meeting will be an important step toward meeting these goals.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Globe Awards Next Week

Register online HERE, or EMAIL or phone: 253-396-1022

(Click on Image for a Larger View)

Your Invite to POHR 2015

This reception is to honor public officials' service, to establish and enhance our relationships, and to provide you with the opportunity to meet your elected and appointed representatives.

Please confirm your attendance at your earliest convenience by clicking HERE.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Trade Supports Growth and Jobs in Every State

International trade creates jobs and economic growth in every state, and now supports an estimated 39.8 million American jobs more than one in five jobs. 

Click here to see how trade supports economic growth and jobs each state.

For more information on the benefits of trade and U.S. trade agreements to America, click here.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Nominations Open for DREAM BIG Small Business

The US Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for the 2016 DREAM BIG Small Business of the Year Award. The hunt is on for the best of the best small businesses in America, and nobody knows small business like you. Help in the search!

 How does it work?
  • Anyone can nominate a small business by clicking here. You can even nominate yourself!
  • Once nominated, eligible small businesses should complete the online application by February 1.
Note: Nomination is not required for award consideration, but all eligible small businesses must complete the application form.

The Prize!
The Small Business of the Year winner, 7 regional finalists, and 100 Blue Ribbon Award winners will be honored at America's Small Business Summit in Washington, D.C. on June 14, 2016. The winner will receive national recognition and a $10,000 cash prize.

Give a deserving small business some love by nominating them today Here

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Business and Agricultural Groups Welcome Release Of TPP Agreement Text

US Trade Representative (USTR) released the full text and chapter summaries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement early this morning. You can find it all on the USTR website, as well as on Medium, here.

 “We welcome the public release of the Trans-Pacific Partnership text and commend the Administration for having done so as quickly as possible,” said David Thomas, President of the Trade Benefits America Coalition. “A well-crafted TPP has significant potential to expand U.S. trade opportunities with some of the world's fastest growing markets – to the benefit of American businesses, farmers, and workers. We look forward to examining the agreement closely and continuing to work with the Administration and Congress as the TPP process moves forward."

TPP has the potential to reduce tariffs on 18K U.S. goods. We look forward to seeing how the TPP can help farmers, ranchers, and small businesses across the country. Trans-Pacific Partnership fact sheets, issue briefs, and chapter summaries can be found here, via #TPP

Tacoma Anticipates Passage of $12/Hr & Begins Rulemaking Process

Early reports indicate Initiative Measure 1B has been likely approved by voters. The City of Tacoma is beginning a public process now to develop rules and regulations.

Although the results have not officially been certified, early reports indicate that Tacoma voters likely approved Initiative Measure 1B on election day, increasing the minimum wage for most employees who work more than 80 hours per year within Tacoma city limits.  Initiative Measure 1B requires employers to phase-in a minimum wage of $12 per hour over two years, adjusted annually thereafter by the rate of inflation.

Initiative Measure 1B calls for the minimum wage to increase to $10.35 per hour on Feb. 1, 2016 (the same effective date of the Paid Leave Ordinance passed in January 2015). The Tacoma minimum wage would then increase to $11.15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017 and to $12 per hour on Jan. 1, 2018.

Because the effective date of Initiative Measure 1B is in early 2016, the City of Tacoma is beginning a public process now to develop the rules and regulations that will guide implementation of the new law once it is certified by the Pierce County Auditor’s Office.  Draft rules will be posted HERE for public review as soon as possible.

Community members are invited to attend an upcoming public hearing to learn more and share feedback. These four upcoming public hearings will all take place at the Tacoma Public Library’s Main Branch (1102 Tacoma Ave. S, Olympic Room):

Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2 - 3 p.m.
Wednesday, Dec. 9, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 17, 10 - 11 a.m.

More information, as well as the option to subscribe to email updates, is available HERE.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


VOTE TODAY. Ballots due to drop off locations or voting centers HERE by 8:00 p.m. today, or postmarked today.

Resource for you:  Tacoma-Pierce Co. Vote for Business Guide HERE.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Vote YES to Fix Tacoma’s Roads, Vote YES on Propositions 3 and A

Repairing Tacoma’s roads has long been a top reported priority of Tacoma’s residents, elected officials, and businesses.  

While no tax increase would be an ideal situation, the Chamber has worked for years to evaluate funding and improvement options for Tacoma’s roads, and has endorsed both Proposition 3 and Proposition A. 

When combined, these Propositions responsibly and equitably spread the tax burden among all parties and include a 10-year sunset date on the package to ensure no money is being taken for granted.  

When added to matching grants and contributions, the total package would provide Tacoma with 325 million dollars to repair roads and improve a situation that has been unacceptably stagnant for far too long.

Vote YES on 3. Vote YES on A. Vote YES for Tacoma’s streets.

Chamber Endorses Initiative 1B

In this year’s general election, the outcome of Initiative 1 regarding the status of the minimum wage in Tacoma has the power to drastically impact businesses starting as soon as December 4th of this year. 

If a raise in the minimum wage in Initiative 1 are approved by the voters, an unprecedented and risky minimum wage increase of either $15 or $12 will go into effect just four weeks following the election.

After careful consideration, the Chamber has endorsed voting for Initiative 1B, a plan that will phase in a minimum wage increase to $12 over the course of two years. This plan allows everyone to adjust to an increase in the minimum wage in a way that will both benefit workers and will not overwhelm businesses.

While raising the minimum wage or not should be a straightforward question, the structure of this year’s ballot has the potential to confuse voters. Initiative 1 is broken into two parts. First, voters will be asked whether or not a minimum wage increase should take place at all. Second, voters will be asked, if a minimum wage increase were to take place, whether they would support Initiative 1, an increase of the minimum wage to $15 immediately, or Initiative 1B, an increase of the minimum wage to $12 over two years.

Even if voters wanted to oppose an increase in the minimum wage altogether and vote no on the first question and ignore the second question, a minimum wage increase will still take place if a majority vote “yes” on part one.  That is why it is imperative, even if voters oppose an increase in the minimum wage, they also vote “yes” on 1B to ensure that the most appropriate increase in minimum wage for Tacoma is enacted.

The Chamber encourages, that whether you vote “yes” or “no” on raising the minimum wage, vote 1B, the Tacoma sized solution.

Voters’ Guide for Business Now Available

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce’s third Voters’ Guide for Business is now available online for all voters and businesses concerned with how candidates’ views align with the best business and economic interests of Tacoma.

The Voters’ Guide for Business includes the responses, or lack thereof, to a Chamber produced survey from candidates in 35 contested races throughout the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber’s service area.  The Guide also includes the Chamber’s position on ballot initiatives that will directly influence job growth, businesses, and the overall health of the economy in Pierce County.

This year’s election is filled with candidates and initiatives that have the ability to influence issues regarding taxes, regulations, incentives, and the general business climate for years to come.  We encourage any voters concerned with the future of Tacoma’s economy to read and share our Guide, compare the candidates’ positions on important issues with your own preferences, and most importantly, keep them in mind while casting your ballot in the coming weeks.

Encourage Congress "YES" on EX-IM

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

City of Tacoma Offers Employers Information Sessions on Paid Leave

Tacoma's paid leave ordinance takes effect on Feb. 1, 2016. Employers who want to learn more about this ordinance, and the tools available to them as they work to incorporate paid leave into their respective workplaces, are encouraged to attend one of two employer information sessions in October:
Thursday, Oct. 15, 4 - 5:30 p.m.
Tacoma Public Library Main Branch (Olympic Room)
1102 Tacoma Ave. S.
Tuesday, Oct. 20, 10 - 11:30 a.m.
STAR Center (Discover Room)
3873 S. 66th Street
These information sessions will be followed by a question and answer session if time permits.
In addition to these information sessions, nearly a dozen business organizations and community groups have arranged to receive special presentations from City staff. Organizations or community groups wishing to schedule a special presentation can email or call (253) 591-5306.

More information for employers and workers is available at, by emailing or calling (253) 591-5306.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Proposed Vapor Product Regulations

Proposed vapor product regulations and supporting documents are now available. Click on the links below to learn more.

1. Board of Health Resolution

2. Summary of Proposed Regulations
Smoking in Public Places Regulation (Chapter 8 of the Environmental Health Code)
Restrictions on Sale, Use and Availability of Vapor Products and Unregulated Nicotine Delivery Devices Regulation (Chapter 9 of the Environmental Health Code)

3. Fees and Fines

4. Administration Record Documentation, which includes community input and research to support regulations is available by request. Contact Shelley Wallace at or at (253) 798-3548 to request a review of record.

Direct comments regarding these documents to: Anthony L-T Chen, Director of Health, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, 3629 S. D St. Tacoma, WA 98418 or by email.

They will accept written comments until 4:30 p.m. on October 19, 2015.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Opportunities for Government Contracting

Businesses looking to win government contracts will have the opportunity at the Greater Pierce County Purchasing Forum on Wednesday, Oct. 14, from 8:00 a.m. to noon at the STAR Center, 3873 S 66th St in Tacoma. Click here for map and directions.

Learn first-hand how to register and compete for contracts with federal, state, and local government agencies, meet one-on-one with purchasing agents, network with other Pierce County business owners and managers, and participate in breakout sessions.

  • Panelists and exhibitors include 
  • Pierce County
  • City of Tacoma
  • Port of Tacoma
  • Washington State Department of Transportation
  • Washington State Department of Enterprise Services
  • Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC)
  • Native PTAC
  • NAVSUP Fleet Logics Center-Puget Sound
  • U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)
  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • Joint Base Lewis-McChord
  • Tacoma Public Schools
  • Pierce Transit
  • Northwest Minority Supplier Development Council
  • King County Director Association (KCDA) School Purchasing Consortium
  • Washington State Office of Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises

Register online or contact Hans Kueck at (253) 798-2335 or email.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Chamber Endorses City of Tacoma Roads Package (Prop. 3 & 4)

On August 27th, the Chamber Board of Directors voted to endorse Tacoma City Council's Propositions 3 and 4.  

The text of the resolution is below:

SUBJECT:    TACOMA PROPOSITION 3: Concerning a property tax levy rate increase and utility gross earnings tax increase to fund street improvements

TACOMA TRANSPORTATION BENEFIT DISTRICT PROPOSITION 4: Concerning the imposition of a sales tax to fund street improvements


BACKGROUND: In 2013, the City of Tacoma placed a proposition to the voters to add an additional 2% to the existing utility gross earnings tax in order to fund street improvements.  The Chamber opposed the measure on several grounds.  Some of these included concerns about prioritization of existing dollars, task force/commission processes, and expecting a handful of businesses to pay the bulk of the taxes despite most of the improvements going towards residential roads.  A majority of voters agreed with the Chamber that this was not an appropriate tax.

Since 2013, the Chamber has worked with community stakeholders, including electeds and staff at the City of Tacoma, to evaluate alternative funding and improvement plans.  While no tax is an ideal scenario, the proposed package successful spreads the tax burden to all parties and users throughout the area while setting a 10-year sunset on the entire package.  The two propositions combine for $175M in new revenue.  When added to new matching funds from the general fund, existing street funding revenues and new grant matches, the total package is $425M.

City Funding Source
10 Year Revenues
     New Sales Tax (+0.1%) (Prop 4)
$45 M
     New Utility Gross Earnings Tax (+1.5%) (Prop 3)
$90 M
     New Levy Lid Lift (+$0.2 per $1,000AV) (Prop 3)
$40 M
     New Additional General Fund Support (Council Budget)
$30 M
     Existing Revenues ($20 Tab, 2% UGET)
$100 M
City Funding
$305 M
     Grant Matching Funds
$120 M
$425 M

This funding would then be spent on residential streets (67%), arterials & freight access (18%), and walking and biking infrastructure (15%).  This work would pave 167 blocks of gravel streets, resurface 2,100 blocks of failed and poor streets, and provide sufficient maintenance for all excellent, good, and fair residential streets, totaling another 4,211 blocks. In addition it would provide funding for key freight mobility connection in the Port of Tacoma and multimodal facilities like an improved Schuster Parkway and Prairie Line Trail.

The residents of Tacoma have consistently ranked the condition of the streets as a number one priority, but despite several options on the ballot, have to choose to increase taxes to pay for the street repairs.  It is unclear the level of support these measures will need to be successful at the ballot box.

While the Chamber supports these proposals to improve streets throughout Tacoma, we will continue to encourage the City to look for additional efficiencies in general operations.  With an annual general fund budget of $200M, saving just 1% would allow an additional $20M to be spent on roads over 10-years.  To this end, we hope that this City will continue to focus on job creation in the private sector by hiring private contractors to complete the work rather than increasing internal staff.

IMPLEMENTATION:  With approval of a policy, the Chamber will utilize is communications tools for advocacy.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Final Rules on Paid Leave Now Available

Rules guiding implementation of the Paid Leave Ordinance have been finalized and are now available HERE.

These rules were shaped by community feedback received during the public review period, which included four public hearings and other forms of outreach.

With the Paid Leave rules finalized, the City of Tacoma's focus will now shift to community education, additional outreach, and the creation of tools and standard forms to help employers with implementation.

Requests for one-on-one consultations or group presentations on Paid Leave can be sent to

Friday, July 31, 2015

Livestream: Trans-Pacific Partnership Press Conference

The Office of the United States Trade Representative will be live streaming the Trans-Pacific Partnership Maui Ministerial Press Conference. The press conference will begin at 4:30 7:00 p.m. PDT, and is available HERE.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Select Better Choices in the Primary

Dear Chamber Member,

Time is drawing near for the deadline to return your ballot for the August 4 primary election. 

This year, many local offices and key issues are on the ballot, including seats on the Tacoma City Council, Pierce County Charter Review Commission, Port of Tacoma Commissioner and school board positions throughout the region. There are also votes for the 30th Legislative District and the Pierce County general administration building.

This election cycle, we have the rare opportunity to create and ensure the security of a prosperous and healthy city. Tacoma often sets the tone for our region when it comes to local policies, which is why the
Tacoma-Pierce County Business Alliance, a political organization of local businesses, some of which are Chamber members, has solely focused on these races.

For this year's primary, the Tacoma-Pierce County Business Alliance has endorsed the following candidates for the Tacoma City Council primary:
·         District 1: John Hines, Tara Doyle-Enneking
·         District 3: Keith Blocker, Kris Blondin, Valentine Smith
During the Business Alliance’s interview process, the above candidates all demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the quality of life and economic opportunities in Tacoma, particularly when it came to the issues that are important to Tacomans:
1.      Bring and keep jobs in Tacoma by installing sound economic policy, ensuring the creation of a reasonable minimum wage proposal, and working alongside business instead of against them.
2.      Fix Tacoma roads and infrastructure to help move people and goods around the city faster.
3.      Foster economic growth and sustainability by helping grow local businesses and encouraging the creation of economic policy customized to the needs of Tacoma.

These elections matter, and you can support the goals listed above by supporting the candidates endorsed by the Tacoma-Pierce County Business Alliance. Your support can be manifested in two ways: First, by personally supporting the above candidates during the primary election. Second, by donating HERE to the Business Alliance. Donations allow the Business Alliance to strategically back candidates and issues important to Tacoma in these key races.


Pierce County voters have the once a decade responsibility to elect freeholders to the Pierce County Charter Review Commission. The Charter Review Commission is made up of 21 elected members, with three candidates elected in each of Pierce County’s seven councilmanic districts.

The Charter Review Commission creates amendments and replacements to the County Charter, which serves as the Constitution for the County. Their recommendations will go directly to the voters without vetting by the County Council or the County Executive.

The primary serves as the only vetting process for the general election candidates. The Chamber encourages everyone to research and vote for the candidates that best serve the community and its interests. 

We encourage you to keep the above issues in mind as you fill out your ballot—our region’s continued competitiveness depends on them.
Remember, you must return or mail your ballot by Tuesday, August 4.

Best Wishes,

Tom Pierson
President & CEO
Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber

Friday, July 17, 2015

Volunteers for Voter's Pamphlet Statements

The City Clerk's Office is seeking volunteers to serve on committees to prepare statements "for" and "against" the following measures in order to comply with the requirements for RCW 29A.32.280:

City of Tacoma Initiative Measure No. 1B
Initiative Measure No. 1B is an alternative the City Council has proposed to the Citizen Petition Initiative No. 1 regarding minimum wage in the City of Tacoma.

Citizen Petition Initiative Measure No. 2
Initiative Measure No. 2 is an amendment to the City Charter relating to a change in the form of government and other organization changes.

City of Tacoma Proposition No. 3
Proposition No. 3 is a property tax levy rate and gross earnings tax increase for street improvements.

Governing Board of the Tacoma Transportation Benefit District Proposition No. 4
Proposition No. 4 imposes a sales and use tax to fund street improvements.

Each of the measures will be on the General Election ballot of Tuesday, November 3, 2015. The statements prepared by these committees will appear in the Voters' Pamphlet. Statements are due on or before August 7, 2015 and rebuttal statements are due August 11, 2015.

To be considered, please submit a letter of interest indicating whether you are advocating "for" or "against" one of the measures, which measure(s) you would like to be considered for, your place of residence and why you would like to serve on a committee.

Letters must be received in the City Clerk's Office at 733 Market Street, Room 11, Tacoma WA 98402 or via email to by 5 PM on Tuesday, July 21, 2015.

For more information, or to read the petition language, ballot titles, and resolutions transmitting the measures to the Pierce County Auditor, please go to

Friday, June 26, 2015

Trade and Investment Summit (July 14-15)

4th Annual Pacific Northwest – China  Trade and Investment Summit.

The World Trade Center Tacoma Summit will include around 20 investors and trade professionals from China, most of whom are interested in food and beverages, EB-5 and other investment opportunities. 

Prices for registration, booths, and matchmaking slots can be found on the WTCT website: .

(Click on Image for a LARGER View)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Senate Likely Votes Tuesday on TPA - Say Yes

This week, the Senate will vote for a second time on passage of Trade Promotion Authority legislation…and once again, our two senators - who have already voted to support TPA once - will be two of the most important votes to ensuring successful passage!

Time to contact our Senators one last time to share your support for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), and so TODAY spend another 60 seconds filling out your name and address into this online advocacy tool.

This updated our online letter to go only to our two senators with a messaging urging them to vote once again in support of TPA. By filling out your information again today, it will be an important reminder to them that they need to stand firm in support of President Obama’s trade agenda and in support of increased international competitiveness for Washington businesses.

Please take one minute to visit HERE to send Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell your support for this important legislation. Thanks!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tacoma Minimum Wage Task Force Updates

Tacoma's Minimum Wage Task Force has been meeting in earnest for the last three weeks and is starting to evaluate options on what a minimum wage increase for the City of Tacoma might look like.

At this point there are four proposal on the table that would all raise the minimum wage from anywhere of $1.33 to $5.53 or $10.80 to $15.00.  However, the timelines, costs and implementation still vary widely.

As the Task Force nears it's June 30th deadline to report back to City Council, now is the time to share your thoughts on any increases.  The task force has a single email address set up at:

We encourage to share the impacts of a minimum wage to your organization.

Friday, June 12, 2015

US House Passed TPA!

UPDATE:  6-16-2015
Today, the House of Representatives voted (236-189) to give Congress until the end of July to hold another vote on TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance), a worker retraining program tied to the passage of TPA. 

As lawmakers continue to develop the procedural and legislative strategy to send TPA to the President's desk, our thanks to Pierce County's Members of Congress Reps. Dave Reichert and Derek Kilmer who voted for this bill. (Remember also Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell who voted in favor of TPA.)

The U.S. House of Representatives voted today to pass Trade Promotion Authority (TPA, "fast track) by a vote of 219-211.  .  Hurrah!

However, the TPA legislation cannot move forward because the House failed to also pass Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA), which was a requirement of the rule governing the House debate.

There are a number of options for moving forward currently being weighed by House leadership.

These include voting to reconsider the TAA bill next week, or voting on separate TPA legislation in the House and Senate. Immediately after the House voted in favor of TPA, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) made a motion to reconsider the TAA part of H.R. 1314. A vote on that motion will take place June 15 or 16.

For now, we will be thanking those Members who voted in favor of TPA, and we encourage you to also reach out and thank your Representative for his or her support. 

To see a full list of yeas and nays for TAA.
To see a full list of yeas and nays for TPA

Please let us know if you have any questions.  Otherwise, we hope you have a great weekend!


(Click on Image for a LARGER View)

Thursday, June 11, 2015

US Chamber Set TPA as Key Vote

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is identifying TPA as a "key vote," (for purposes of evaluating Congressional members support of business issues: