Monday, January 26, 2015

Chamber's First 2015 Leg Day Set

Invitation to attend the Chamber's 1st 2015 Leg Day:

Final Reading on Mandatory Paid Leave

The Chamber has been actively working on the Tacoma City Council's Mandatory Paid Leave Ordinance (link).

Now the Council has placed a draft ordinance on their agenda for final reading on Tuesday, January 27th at 5PM. The proposal requires all businesses operating that are located in or doing business in the City of Tacoma to provide 3 days of paid time off to every employee.

However with the final reading tomorrow night, they could amend the ordinance in any way. Some Councilmembers are actively working to more than double this requirement to 7 days of paid leave and make it more difficult to track hours and prevent abuse.

Join with other business leaders and share with your Councilmembers how this ordinance, and particularly these proposed amendments, will impact your business. Sign up for public comment to express how this will affect you. Click the following link for procedures to speak at the City Council Meeting (link).  

The meeting will be held at Tacoma City Council Chambers, 747 Market Street, First Floor, Tacoma, WA 98402 on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. 

If you can't attend, please contact your councilmembers directly. Their emails and phone numbers are at:  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Register for State of the Port

Annual Port Report
State of the Port by Port Commissioner, Don Johnson

Jan 23, 2015

11:15 am - 1:00 pm
Fabulich Center, Port of Tacoma
3600  Port of Tacoma Rd, Tacoma 98424

Come and hear from Port Commission President Don Johnson.

The WTCT is excited to welcome you to a special opportunity to hear about the Port of Tacoma's key areas of success as well as some of their concerns from 2014.

A significant part of the program will include some of the Port's exciting vision for 2015.

Some time for questions will be provided toward the end of the luncheon.

Members: $30  Non-Members: $40

SOTU Supplemental Materials Online

President Barack Obama will deliver his State of the Union (SOTU) address tonight at 9 p.m. ET.

The Office of the President is recommending this link as the place to watch:

Here's why: This year's viewing experience is stocked with interactive features that strive to make clear what the President's proposals mean, and shareable charts and stats that help supplement and expand on the points you'll hear him make. 

And even if you're watching on your TV, you can still follow along on your phone or tablet. National networks traditionally provide experts following the SOTU as well as a Republican response. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Minimum Required Paid Leave Moves Toward Adoption 1/27 @ 5PM

Before the end of 2014, we highlighted some of the work Tacoma City Council was doing on a paid leave ordinance, including a copy of the ordinance (link).

As it currently stands, the ordinance would require all businesses operating within the City limits to offer 24 hours of paid leave to each employee each year with some rollover.

Some Councilmembers are actively working to more than double this to 56 hours of paid leave as well as making it more difficult to track hours and prevent abuse.

Now is the time to share with your Councilmembers how this ordinance, and particularly these proposed amendments, will impact your business.

Please join us on Tuesday, January 27th @ 5PM at the Tacoma City Council meeting for public comment on this ordinance.

If you'd like more information on how to participate in the meeting or provide comments, please contact David Schroedel, the Chamber's Metropolitan Development Director, at 253.682.1723 or

Friday, January 16, 2015

PCEI Profs on CityLine

See Dr. Neal Johnson and Dr. Martin Wurm, authors of the Pierce County Economic Index for their interview about their current forecast of the economic well-being for Tacoma-Pierce County on:

January 22
9:00 a.m.
TV Tacoma

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 12 in the Tacoma City limits and on Channel 21 in Pierce County.  TV Tacoma is not carried on the Comcast system in University Place.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Webcast for State of American Business 2015

ICYMI:   On January 14, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue gave his annual State of American Business address to outline the business community's top policy priorities for the year. If you were not able to watch it live, no worries. You can watch the address or read the blog posts below recapping the event.

WEBCAST: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 - 9:00am to 10:15am

On January 14, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue will give his annual State of American Business address to outline the business community's top national policy priorities for the year

The event will be available by webcast, which is accessible by you simply by clicking here any time after 8:50am EST on the day of the event.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Chamber Announces 2015 Leg Agenda

The Washington State Legislature convenes January 12, for a regular session scheduled to end April 27.  No one is betting they’ll make that date given the $2 billion budget shortfall currently forecast as well as the burden of an additional $2 billion to meet the class size demands of I-1351 recently passed by voters.

Nonetheless, legislators will grapple with many issues addressing needs of all constituents.  The Chamber is prepared, thanks to the work of its members who volunteer for the Government Affairs Committee, as an active advocate for local businesses.  Here is our Agenda for 2015:

2015 Legislative Agenda

The Legislature should strive for the creation and retention of private sector jobs by adopting a sustainable budget that prioritizes spending and implements spending controls and reforms that will provide long-term financial stability, while at the same time adopting legislation that will streamline regulatory policies that positively impacts the economy, promotes job growth, enhances the business climate and closes our education and workforce  gaps in the globally competitive environment.

Improve the business climate and increase the number of jobs in Pierce County.

The Chamber supports the following principles:

Legislation that positively impacts the economy, promotes job growth and enhances the business climate so that all Pierce County businesses can continue to be successful and globally competitive.

Support Military-Community compatible land use proposals to support the military mission of defense installations identified in such documentation of the 2005 BRAC Report and the upcoming JBLM Joint Land Use Study (JLUS).  In continuing support for the Washington Military Alliance, the Chamber supports continued funding for the Department of Commerce’s Military Sector Lead and policies that recognize military bases as economic and service centers within our region.

Permitting and Regulations - Regulatory reform efforts that decrease duplication, increase predictability and decrease the cost of permitting and regulations.

I-937 – Reasonable changes to I-937 that support Pierce County businesses and/or utilities and their previous investments made to comply with the Initiative. Support policies that incentivize and further the safe, reliable and efficient use of electricity and natural gas transportation in Washington State to ensure that these alternative fuels are taxed in parity with traditional transportation fuels.

Pass a transportation funding and expenditure package, together with reforms, that will complete Pierce County transportation projects that have already been pledged, are currently in design or scheduled for construction and projects that improve freight mobility and system reliability.
Top Priority Project
SR 167 – Full funding to complete construction of SR 167.

Other Priority Projects
  • Local roads, arterials and transit – Support local transportation infrastructure investments in Pierce County that improve freight mobility and systems reliability for workers.
  • JBLM – I-5 Corridor, SR 512/I-5, Cross-Base Highway (I-704). East Pierce – SR 162/410 Corridor Study
  • Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) – Support legislation that encourages the use of multimodal commutes including the continuation of the CTR credit for businesses that provide benefits to their employees to ease traffic congestion.

Washington has been a leader in delivering effective medical care. We are home to provider organizations that have developed innovations that have improved life expectancy and the quality of life worldwide. As implementation of the Affordable Care Act continues, the legislature should make every effort to build on those strengths while expanding options for consumers and avoid all efforts that would impose duplicative governing structures or mandates and restrictions on the ability of providers to care for their patients, regardless of their income status.

Support policy that will encourage or expand medical services, especially in rural areas of the state so that specialty services not readily available in the region, like telemedicine, and preserve Association Health Plans (AHPs) as a viable market option.

Support policies and investments  that maintain and enhance jobs in Pierce County and that directly support local flexibility in workforce development and job training programs through entities including workforce development councils, school districts, community-based institutions, community and technical colleges, UWT,  the other four-year colleges and apprenticeship programs.

Boost student success and employability by legislation that promotes, expands and emphasizes job training in high demand fields - especially science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curricula.

Veterans - Support policies that facilitate the employment for and transitioning of military personnel, veterans and military spouses and their children into a civilian environment by: the adoption of policies including, but not limited to, those that grant college credits for previous military work, training or experience; making it less cumbersome to obtain professional certificates and/or licensure    for demonstrated equivalent ability or competencies, and encouraging skills translation portals; and supporting positive military child education initiatives.

Support policies that encourage innovative learning models, like Charter Schools, and provide the greatest student achievement and performance-based management policies for teachers and principals. Funding investments should be made in programs that have demonstrated an ability to enhance student learning that are coupled with clear expectations of outcomes and performance measures. Expand science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs at all levels of K-12 education.

Support the state constitutional requirement for provision of basic education for all children so that an appropriate allocation of resources and any corresponding expectations that come with such funding - such as local control by the principal, performance reviews, higher pay for positions of higher demand, etc. to comply with the Supreme Court’s McCleary decisions.

Support Capital and Operational funding and expenditures that increase economic development opportunity and training capacity in secondary and post-secondary education and the connectivity between them and that create jobs in Pierce County.

Wage and Hour Reform / Mandatory Paid Time Off
Support reforms to the minimum wage laws, like adoption of a training wage, that promote job growth and benefit business in Pierce County – especially reforms to the automatic minimum wage accelerator.

Encourage the greatest possible consistency between state and federal wage laws - limit more restrictive state-based standards. Oppose localized minimum wage laws and mandatory paid leave proposals and support appropriate state-wide reforms in such areas that encourage the growth of current and the location of new businesses in Pierce County.

Environment and Climate Change
Washington’s share of the world’s GHG emissions is less than three-tenths of one percent (.003), causing a negligible impact on climate change. State policy makers should not be more aggressive than their counterparts in other states by adopting climate change-related policies, especially in the land-use and transportation areas, that will adversely impact the construction industry and our transportation infrastructure. Enactment of any such additional policies to directly or indirectly regulate GHG emissions threatens investments, especially capital investments, in Washington’s economy.  Support policies that improve and incentivize use of alternative fuels and the infrastructure necessary to supply those fuels in Washington. Efforts to impose GHG policies that go beyond those required by the Clean Air Act, like carbon tax schemes and other GHG  pricing mechanisms, will be opposed Environmental Regulatory Reform. State government land use and environmental review processes should be streamlined to the fullest extent possible to eliminate unnecessary delay, duplication, and expense. Policies should place greater emphasis on providing technical assistance to the regulated community to increase voluntary compliance with existing regulations without increasing reliance on jurisdictional or enforcement authority.

Support efforts that expand upon Washington’s current innovation sectors; encourage, incentivize and support research and development for new and emerging technologies that reduce GHG and create  jobs in Washington.

Government Efficiency
Workers’ Compensation - L&I efficiencies
Allow for the “right-sizing” of Washington’s broad statutory definition and coverage of “occupation disease” by:
·         restoring the original intent of the law that the system cover work-related exposures and conditions;
·         expand the use and administrative simplicity of the claims resolution settlement option;
·          enhance appropriate claims management authority for retrospective ratings groups and self-insured employers:
·         address the high incidence and cost of occupation disease claims and the extremely complex process for calculating benefit levels 

Support objective and independent hearing reviews and appeals without agency intervention wherein all agency hearings and appeals will be addressed by an administrative law judge assigned through the Office of Administrative Hearings or a separate independent state agency and not within the agency being reviewed. 
Unemployment Insurance - Preserve previously adopted legislative changes   and oppose increasing unemployment insurance rates, encourage the adoption of cost controls within the unemployment insurance system, avoid benefit enhancements and eligibility standards and support the maintaining of reasonable reserves and like efforts to reduce the cost to business.

Oppose fund transfers from dedicated funds and accounts to the general fund or unrelated programs and purposes.

Tax and Fiscal Policy
Support efforts to achieve a balanced state budget while promoting economic development opportunities, job growth and strengthened competitiveness

Reduce and Simplify the Tax Code
Support tax code administrative simplification that reduces administrative costs and tax burdens to Pierce County’s businesses. Require cities with license requirements to participate in the master business license application and reduce regulatory red tape and paperwork burdens that face businesses

Taxes and Fees
Retain, extend and expand tax incentives that benefit the economy and support job growth in Pierce County and support  legislation that positively impacts the economy, job growth and Pierce County businesses like permanently extending the expiring (12/31/14) high technology research and development B&O and sales/use tax incentives, making tax-increment-financing an available economic development tool while preserving property tax principles and proposals that would allow entity-owned recreational boats from out of state the same privileges as boats from out-of-state owned in an individual capacity.

Update:  Jan. 16, 2015