Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Congress Strengthens Control in TPA-2015

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA-2015) keeps Congress firmly in control of the legislative process that implements trade agreements.

In fact, Congress is making sure it has even more control than it did under TPA-2002.

What Role Does Congress Play? First, TPA-2015 instructs the President to follow Congress’s priorities in trade negotiations – and to consult with the House and Senate along the way. But if that doesn’t work, Congress can still act.

What Can Congress Do? Under the legislation, for the first time, either house of Congress can vote to turn off TPA procedures for that chamber if a trade agreement does not meet TPA requirements.

And If That Doesn’t Work? Congress still has the final word on every trade agreement that benefits from TPA – if Congress doesn’t like an agreement, it can vote it down.

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

Friday, April 24, 2015

Outreach about Transportation & Education

Have you heard AWB’s radio ad? 

AWB's 60-second spot, “System in Crisis,” is airing on radio stations throughout the Puget Sound, encouraging lawmakers to approve a bipartisan transportation package to reduce congestion and lower carbon emissions. 

You can listen to it HERE

AWB also joined with Keep Washington Rolling to place this full-page ad in last Sunday’s Seattle Times, and is part of a coalition called Recover Washington that’s airing this ad encouraging lawmakers to fund education without raising taxes. 

This is an unprecedented advertising round for AWB and it reflects the importance of the issues they’re dealing with this year.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chambers Across Nation Support TPA

Following is the letter to Congress, the Senate Finance Committee and the press in support of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which the Tacoma-Pierce Co.  Chamber signed. 

Voicing your support with your Congressional delegation in support of this TPA legislation is critical, this week particularly to Senators on the Senate Finance Committee and Representatives on the House Ways and Means.  A comprehensive library of resources making the case for TPA can be found below, including a link to send a letter.

UPDATE:  4-22-2015:  The Senate Finance Committee markup has been postponed until later today (likely around 4pm EDT) due to an objection by Senator Bernie Sanders regarding the committee meeting for more than two hours while the Senate is in session.

This Week Critical to Support TPA

Late last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, Ranking Member Ron Wyden, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015, legislation that will renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).  

Thjs Chamber, the U.S Chamber and many of you have been outspoken in favor renewing TPA, which is needed to achieve high-quality trade deals that open markets, benefit American workers and job creators, and grow the economy. (A multi-industry letter, which lists nearly 300 organizations from all 50 states weighing in on behalf of TPA was delivered to Capitol Hill this morning.)

As Senate and House leadership, and President Obama lead a bi-partisan effort to pass this legislation, several important hearings have been scheduled this week on Capitol Hill.  U.S. Chamber President & CEO Tom Donohue will testify before the Senate Finance Committee this morning; this will be followed by a Senate Finance Committee mark-up tomorrow, Wednesday, April 22.  On the House side, Ways and Means has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday morning, and a mark-up may be held as early as Thursday.  Strong votes out of committee are crucial to building momentum in advance of Floor consideration.

Voicing your support with your Congressional delegation in support of this TPA legislation is critical, this week particularly to Senators on the Senate Finance Committee and Representatives on the House Ways and Means.  A comprehensive library of resources making the case for TPA can be found below, including a link to send a letter.

Suggested talking points for a phone call to Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Members might be along the lines of:

-          Exports are critical to our state and community, which is why we are supportive of our nation’s robust trade agenda.

-          As your committee looks at these issues this week, we urge you to support the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 -  bipartisan legislation to renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) that was introduced last week by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).

-          TPA not only gives Congress a seat at the table in our on-going trade negotiations, it gives Congress the final say on a trade agreement in an up or down vote.

-          Growth and jobs in our state depends on our ability to sell our goods and services to the 95% of the world’s customers that live outside the United States. TPA will help us seize the benefits of trade.

-          We urge you to support the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act as introduced.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, and please let us know what you learn in your outreach to your Members of Congress.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Tacoma Considers Tax Amnesty for Businesses

The City of Tacoma has final consideration of an ordinance to offer an amnesty program for businesses’ tax returns, license fees and penalties on their accounts.

Ordinance No. 28294 attempts to help businesses come into compliance with local tax & license laws prior to the City implementing additional punitive measures.

You may view the ordinance HERE.

The Council meeting will be Tuesday, April 21, 5:00 p.m., council Chambers, 747 Market Street.  An opportunity for Public Comment is at the beginning of the Council Agenda, offering anyone to speak on items on the agenda. Speakers are asked to identify the specific agenda items they wish to address and comments will be limited to up to five minutes per person.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Governors Ask for Export-Import Bank

Governors of 28 states have jointly asked by letter to the leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank.

(Click on images for a larger view)

Monday, April 13, 2015

NuStar Energy Receives Tahoma Business Environmental Award

The Chamber annually recognizes entrepreneurial efforts that meet a high standard of excellence for environmental, preservation and protection accomplishments through its Tahoma Business Environmental Award.

The 13th Tahoma Business Environmental Award, sponsored by Taylor-Thomason Insurance, was presented at the Chamber Luncheon Featuring Tahoma Business Environmental Award event on April 10, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Pacific Grill Events Center, 1530 Pacific Ave., Tacoma 98402.

Protecting the environment is a core business value for NuStar Energy, LP, (NuStar) which works to continually improve processes and programs to ensure that the best environmental practices are shared across their numerous terminal and storage systems.

NuStar has invested heavily in voluntary site improvements which resulted in achieving OSHA’s highest honor, OSHA VPP Star Status in 2015. The NuStar Tacoma Terminal has made numerous voluntary site improvements and taken active approaches to be above and beyond regulatory compliance. Some of these environmental advances include: painting roofs to reduce metal pollutants that may be in contact with storm water; the development of a Bucket Tree to prevent empty buckets from collecting storm water, and upgrading vapor hoses to improve capture efficiency for emission at the truck rack.

This company has made internal changes which have improved storm water and air quality, as well as a significant reduction in waste.  Our award recipient has also surpassed 23 ½ years since their last reportable spill, which is almost unheard of in the oil storage industry.
Many area businesses work on environmental projects and do a great deal to improve the community’s quality of life. This year’s nominees for the award were:

Associated Petroleum Products, Inc.
Cartridge World
Nisqually Red Wind Casino
NuStar Energy, LP
NW Etch
Point Ruston, LLC
Puglia Engineering, Inc.
TPT U.S. Limited

In addition to the award presentation, the Luncheon featured speakers representing the intersection of business and the environment. ”Achieving Attainment for Air Quality” was presented by Craig Kenworthy, Executive Director, Puget Sound Clean Air Agency and “Tacoma Transportation Master Plan” was presented by Joshua Diekmann, Transportation Engineer, City of Tacoma.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Impacts of US Open Panel on TV

A KBTC’s Northwest Now episode about the impact of the forthcoming U.S. Open tournament at Chambers Bay will air Friday at 7:30pm.

If you can’t watch Friday at 7:30 (there’s a list below this note where you can find it on various cable and satellite providers) you can watch the show online at this link after 8:00 p.m.

KBTC 28.1, 28.2, 28.3 digital channels (including K41KT-D Grays River-Lebam and K24IC-D, Bellingham and Channel 16 Digital, Seattle) KCKA 15.1, 15.2, 15.3 digital channels

Comcast channel 108 (HD, most areas in Western Washington)
Comcast channel 12 (most areas - in Tacoma, Comcast channel 3)
Click! (Tacoma) channel 3
Rainier Connect channel 10
Broadstripe channel 28 (varies by area)
Verizon FiOS channel 28
Frontier Cable: 528 (HD), 28 (SD), and 474 (MHz Worldview)

Dish channel 28 (may appear as 8620)
DirecTV channel 28 (may appear as 970)