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Association of Washington Business – Updated Weekly


2023 03 20 WAleg

Forecast shows slowdown in economic activity; capital budget released

Revenue projections: The legislative session will be in full budget mode this week, with the Senate capital budget proposal released this morning, the latest revenue forecast released this afternoon, and both chambers releasing their draft operating budgets in the next few days.

  • The state’s latest revenue projections indicate a slowing economy. Tax collections are forecast to come in less than previously expected: $483 million below earlier forecasts for the 2023-2025 budget cycle and $541 million below previous forecasts for the 2025-2027 budget cycle, according to today’s report from the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council.
  • Budget-writers will still have more money to spend in the next biennium than they did in this one. The state will have $65.7 billion to spend in 2023-25, which is 2.4% more than in the current budget. Looking ahead, in 2025-27 tax revenues are expected to hit $70.3 billion, a 7.1% increase over expected 2023-25 biennial revenue.
  • Steve Lerch, executive director of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, said on Monday a cooling economy is driving the lower revenue projections. Real estate excise tax collections have come in under forecast, he noted, and rising interest rates have curtailed construction and spending. The red hot job market shows signs of slowing and inflation has decreased, but remains high.
  • Hours before, the Senate released a $7.9 billion capital budget proposing to fund housing and mental health, school construction, a new 350-bed forensic hospital at Western State, two new Washington State Patrol crime labs, and more. Click here for a summary of projects.

AWB’s position: With growing concern about the possibility of a recession, this should be a time for fiscal responsibility and building up the state’s rainy day fund, rather than depleting it.

  • For more details on the state’s revenue outlook, join us Thursday for a special Lobby Lunch meeting featuring Steve Lerch, the state’s chief economist. You can attend in person or register here for a Zoom link.

Contact Government Affairs Director Emily Shay to learn more and get involved.

2023 03 13 Housing

Capital budget calls for historic housing investment; middle housing bill moves forward

Housing investment: The Senate’s capital budget proposal, released this morning, would allocate $625 million for housing, including $400 million for the Housing Trust Fund. That’s more than the entire amount the state put into housing in the three biennia before the pandemic, and would be the most in state history put into the Housing Trust Fund. This funding, combined with a bipartisan middle housing bill that is making progress in the Legislature, would make a real difference in our state’s housing issues. The Washington Research Council has more.

  • $67 million for the Housing Finance Commission Land Acquisition Program; $50 million for projects to increase transit-oriented housing; $20 million to connect affordable housing developments to infrastructure; and $5 million for landlord mitigation.

Bipartisan solutions: That comes as a series of housing bills continue to move forward, as Crosscut reports. House Bill 1110 sponsored by Rep. Jessica Bateman, D-Olympia, which would provide for more duplexes, fourplexes and other multi-unit housing in cities with more than 25,000 people, recently passed the House by a 75-21 vote.

  • A pair of Republican sponsored bills passed nearly unanimously: HB 1245 would allow homeowners to split lots to build a cottage or additional home, while HB 1293 would streamline the permitting process for building houses in urban growth areas.

2023 03 20 Rich Hadley

Passages: Visionary Spokane leader and AWB supporter Rich Hadley

Longtime Spokane leader and regional civic booster Rich Hadley died on Sunday, just a few months after being diagnosed with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). He was 76.

Hadley led Greater Spokane Incorporated from 1993 until he retired in 2014, retaining the title of president emeritus. Shortly after his retirement, AWB President Kris Johnson recruited him to help create the AWB Grassroots Alliance. Hadley and his wife, Rita, hopped in their car and drove around the state to recruit the first 25 chamber to join the Alliance. Two years ago Hadley celebrated with the AWB board after the Alliance hit the 100-member mark.

Hadley was also instrumental in coalescing support around the WSU Spokane medical campus. As a Naval air intelligence officer in the Vietnam War and a naval reservist after returning home, Hadley also was an unflagging supporter of Fairchild Air Force Base, helping the community protect the base from closure.

“Nothing big has happened in the Spokane region that doesn’t have his fingerprints on it,” Johnson told The (Spokane) Journal of Business when Hadley was named the newspaper’s 2021 Business Icon. “When I think about an icon, I think about the word transformational. And Rich had a transformational career in Spokane.”

Hadley, who in 2017 was honored by the Spokane Citizen Hall of Fame, deflected praise, saying everything that helped move Spokane forward was a group effort.

“We love Spokane, and I loved my job ... all 21 years,” he said. “I believe in Spokane and believe Spokane will continue to do great things because there are great people here.”

Read more about Hadley’s life, legacy and leadership at AWB News.

2023 03 13 Winter Magazine

New magazine edition highlights manufacturing, interview with Herrera Beutler

Manufacturing to Mars: From composites to computer chips, Washington manufacturers are literally making products that are out of this world.

  • Employees at Goodwinds Composites in Mount Vernon worked on the carbon composite tubes used on the NASA helicopter that flew to Mars. One received a letter from Gov. Jay Inslee thanking him for his work and posted it to Instagram. Read more about the innovative items made by Washington firms.

Looking back: Jaime Herrera Beutler served as U.S. representative for Washington’s 3rd Congressional District from 2011 to 2023, following a narrow primary election loss last August. She was the first Hispanic person in history to represent the state on the federal level. She reflected on her service in an in-depth interview with AWB late last year.

  • Among her accomplishments, she co-founded the bipartisan Maternity Care Caucus and helped pass legislation to prevent maternal deaths. She shares her thoughts on Southwest Washington’s growing tech landscape, political divisiveness, and future plans in her own words.

Making a difference: Did you know that Olympia is home to a maker of prostheses? Naked Prosthetics has been making devices for people with finger and partial hand amputations since 2010.

  • After Colin McDuff lost his finger in a hunting accident, he founded Naked Prosthetics with friend Bob Thompson. 3D printing and detailed CAD technology has made it possible to mass-produce the mechanical, customizable prostheses. Read more about how the devices have given patients back full functionality of their hands.

Full edition: You can find all the stories in the latest edition in a full PDF online.

2023 03 06 FF Header SM Innovation Panel

Spring Meeting will highlight cap-and-trade, public safety, housing

Legislative review: How will new state legislation affect your business? What are the latest developments in housing, energy, workforce, child care, taxes and more? The AWB government affairs team will break it down and answer your questions at the 2023 AWB Spring Meeting.

Cap-and-trade, public safety: We’ll be featuring a panel on one of the hottest topics of the year: the state’s new cap-and-trade law and effect on gas prices. Hear from Michael Carr, principal consultant of Carr-Bon Neutral Consulting, and Jessica Spiegel, senior director of Northwest Region, Western States Petroleum Association. You’ll also hear perspectives on how public safety issues are impacting businesses, with speakers to be confirmed.

Housing focus: Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier will present on “Housing Washington’s Growing Economy."

Building the future: The “Fostering relentless innovation” panel at will celebrate our innovative spirit.

Lock in lowest price: Register before April 1 for the 2023 AWB Spring Meeting and save. Early-bird discounts are still available for this event, which will be held May 9-10 in Vancouver.

  • The Spring Meeting will be delivered in person at the Hilton Vancouver Washington hotel, with plenty of in-person networking opportunities.
  • Book your room by April 8 to receive special pricing: $194 per night (AWB room block) versus the $300 regular nightly price.
  • Room availability for this special offer is limited - reserve your room today!

You’ll also hear from two dynamic keynote speakers, Sheryl Connelly and Marci Rossell.

Reserve your spot today!

2023 03 20 New Lerch

State’s top economist to speak on budget forecast at Lobby Lunch March 23

As the legislative session turns toward writing of the biennial budget, AWB members will have a front-row seat to talk with the state’s top economist.

Steve Lerch, executive director of the Washington State Economic and Revenue Forecast Council, will speak at this Thursday’s Lobby Lunch at AWB’s office in Olympia, discussing and answering questions about today’s financial forecast. He will take questions from attendees. The event will be in-person with a full Zoom option.

The cost is $25 at the door to cover the meal. Contact AWB’s Britney Martin to register for the in-person lunch or for any questions about the Zoom option.

2023 03 20 Award

Highlight manufacturing excellence with AWB’s annual awards

Get on the Manufacturing Week tour: Did you know that nine of the stops on AWB’s annual Manufacturing Week bus tour are reserved for our Manufacturing Excellence Award finalists? If you want your shop floor to be part of Manufacturing Week, nominate your business for the MEAs!

Nominations open: All employers are now eligible to submit nominations for the Washington Excellence Awards and the Manufacturing Excellence Awards, AWB’s broad range of honors for excellence in business.

Available to all: Even if your favorite business is not an AWB member, you can still nominate them for these prestigious statewide awards. Employers are also encouraged to enter self-nominations. You can nominate for multiple awards by filling out the one single entry form.

  • Nominations are due by 5 p.m. June 30.

Manufacturing Excellence Awards are given for:

Washington Excellence Awards presented in these categories:

Gala event: The awards will be presented at the Evening of Excellence on Nov. 16, held this year for the first time at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle.

Nominate an excellent Washington business, including your own, today!

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Tax and fiscal bills

Emily Shay, government affairs director for tax and fiscal policy, is watching a number of tax bills, including:

  • Child care B&O credit: House Bill 1716, sponsored by Rep. Alicia Rule, D-Blaine, would establish a B&O tax credit for employers who provide child care assistance to employees. Child care is important for both employees and employers, and AWB will testify in support of the measure at a hearing Thursday in the House Finance Committee.
  • Tax preference for food processors: House Bill 1573 is a priority bill for AWB. The measure, which passed the House last week, will extend the expiration date of business and occupation tax preferences for dairy, fruit and vegetable, and seafood processors for 10 more years. Other states tax the sale of exported products out of Washington, creating a competitive disadvantage for companies here. This bill helps support our farmers and seafood processors.

Environmental and energy legislation

Peter Godlewski, AWB’s lead on energy and environmental issues, is tracking a number of issues, including:

  • Pollution liability insurance: House Bill 1175 passed the House and will have a hearing Wednesday in the Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committee. AWB supports the bill, which continues a successful program that offers owners of oil tanks insurance against the cost of cleanup. The measure funds cleanup and remediation of underground storage tanks for petroleum.

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Retail sales dip after buying burst in January

Americans curtailed their spending in February after a buying spree in January, showing the unpredictability of the current economy.

Retail sales dropped 0.4% in February after a 3.4% jump in January, driven by an increase in auto sales, the AP reported. Excluding autos, overall retail sales in February slipped just 0.1%. Meanwhile, furniture store sales fell 2.5%, restaurant spending declined 2.2%, and department store sales dropped 4%.

The strong job market has boosted spending, but shoppers continue to face high inflation. Price increases eased slightly from January and February, though remain elevated. The Federal Reserve faces a difficult challenge in this delicate time in the financial system, which has been shaken by the collapse of two large banks, the AP wrote.

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Major League Baseball’s All-Star Week to bring $50 million to Seattle

Baseball fans visiting Seattle in July for the All-Star Game are expected to generate $50 million or more in economic impact during the week of festivities, according to a new study from Visit Seattle. That’s twice the estimated impact of the last time the All Star Game came to Seattle, in 2001, according to KOMO-TV.

T-Mobile Park will likely see sold-out crowds of 47,000 fans for both the Home Run Derby on July 10 and the All-Star Game on July 11. Over 100,000 fans are expected at other Midsummer Classic events throughout the week, including next door at Lumen Field.

“This is an awesome opportunity for our city to show off Seattle’s capabilities, beauty and energy,” said Kelly Saling, senior vice president and chief sales officer for Visit Seattle. “The long-term economic impact of these events in Seattle can’t be overstated – they are going to be significant drivers of job creation and will considerably bolster our hotel, restaurant, and retail communities.”

PNNL project part of $47 million DOE investment to reduce methane emissions

The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has received $1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy for a project to reduce methane emissions, which are the second largest contributor to climate change.

PNNL, which has a main campus in the Tri-Cities, will receive $1 million plus $250,000 in non-DOE funding to develop an Integrated Methane Emissions Monitoring Platform. The project was one of 22 selected for $47 million in funds to reduce methane in the oil and gas industry.

“Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, making methane reduction a critical part of our nation’s long-term climate solution,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a DOE news release.

No Meat Factory to launch operations in Stanwood

Canadian plant-based alternative meat maker No Meat Factory plans to open a production facility in Stanwood later this year, the state Department of Commerce announced last week.

The new facility will help meet the growing demand for plant-based alternative meat products, including veggie burgers and nuggets, veggie-based ground beef substitute, seafood alternatives and more.

The new plant will reopen a facility closed by Twin City Foods in 2017, with No Meat Factory investing $20 million in renovations and improvements. The Stanwood plant is expected to open at the end of this year and eventually employ up to 150.

“We are proud to support this venture and to see the return of over 100 food processing jobs to our community,” said Garry Clark, CEO and president of the Economic Alliance Snohomish County, which received a $200,000 state economic development grant to support the project.

Upcoming Department of Commerce webinar: Are You Ready to Export?

The SBA Seattle office is continuing its series of free webinars for small businesses, convening conversations with different members of the Washington Export Outreach Team (WEOT).

This Wednesday’s “Are You Ready to Export?” webinar feature Nicole Gunkle, who serves as STEP Export Voucher Program Manager; Susan Herr, who serves as small business program manager; and Diana Cazac who serves as small business program manager at the Washington State Department of Commerce. Register here.

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2023 03 20 Delta Dental

AWB’s Delta Dental members have access to new discounts

AWB HealthChoice members who are enrolled in a dental plan through Delta Dental can now access Delta Dental of Washington’s Member Discount Program. This allows access to hundreds of discounts on products and services nationwide from well-known brands.

Discounts are available for movie tickets and concerts, hotels and cruises, car rentals and repairs, in-home care and nursery assistance, household supplies and pet care, and more.

Manage this new benefit through your MySmile account dashboard. Log in and access the link to your new savings.

If you’re not enrolled in HealthChoice and would like more information, please visit the ProPoint website at or contact Helen Siggins at

2023 03 06 HR Webinar

Learn the latest on wage and hour laws with upcoming HR webinar

Monthly series: You can still sign up to be part of AWB’s ongoing HR online learning series on human resources and employment law for the professional development and business management needs of small- and medium-sized businesses.

  • Continuing education credits are available for the 2023 Human Resources and Employment Law webinar series, which runs through July and covers a range of topics that will help your business foster a world-class workforce, no matter your industry.
  • Experts from Washington’s top law firms will give quick updates (60-90 minutes), including ample Q&A time.

Designed for you: This series is designed for CEOs, HR managers, payroll personnel and other department managers, and is equally valuable to any small business owner. The series package includes all six webinars, topic materials and a wrap-up package that will include all webinar materials, extra information and sample documents.

  • April 12: Wage & hours
  • May 3: Performance evaluations, disciplinary action & termination
  • June 7: Accident prevention & accident investigation plans
  • July 12: Non-competes, confidentiality agreements, non-solicitations & intellectual property protection

Register now! You can still purchase the remaining webinars in the series plus get access to previous webinar materials by purchasing the On Demand Combo.

2023 03 06 Workforce Summit

Save the date: Workforce Summit coming June 1 to Museum of Flight in Seattle

The need: Workforce is the most pressing issue facing employers. The Manufacturing and Aerospace Industries remain the top employing sectors in Washington.

Finding solutions: The 2023 Workforce Summit will bring together employers to discuss the most pressing needs facing their industry when it comes to workforce, and how best to connect/collaborate with educational partners to ensure strong career pathways for young people into these high-wage, high-growth careers.

The event: The event, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., will include networking, presentation of a workforce report, a session on employer best practices, lunch, an educator panel, and partnerships in action.
Register here.

22023 03 06 WA Workforce Portal

Find an intern with the Washington Workforce Portal

Internship season is just around the corner. Is your company ready? Find the ideal internship candidate to start your business off on the right foot this new year. AWB Institute’s Washington Workforce Portal is a free platform that pairs Washington businesses offering internships, apprenticeships, and mentorships with Washington high-school and college students seeking real-world work experience.

Learn more about how you can start using it today:

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Post of the week 20230320

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"There's been a sea change in perspective. People understand there's a housing problem.” ~ Lt. Gov. Denny Heck, in a Crosscut report on the Legislature’s efforts to pass a massive housing reform package this session to increase housing supply.
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