Leaders of the Association of Washington Business commend lawmakers for their work on the new two-year state operating budget, a plan that increases funding for education without adopting many of the tax increases that were discussed throughout the multiple legislative sessions.
“We believed all along that it was possible to increase education funding without jeopardizing the economy,” said AWB President Don Brunell. “This manages to accomplish those two important objectives.”
Still, lawmakers missed some important opportunities to improve Washington’s business competitiveness, said Brunell, namely by failing to approve a transportation revenue package and vital workers’ compensation reform.
“It’s unfortunate that lawmakers could not find a way to come together on a plan to invest in Washington’s transportation infrastructure,” Brunell said. “Our roads, bridges and highways are the lifeblood of the economy and they must be maintained if we want to maintain Washington’s competitiveness.
“Lawmakers also missed an opportunity to head off hundreds of millions of dollars in looming workers’ compensation tax increases,” Brunell continued. “They must revisit this issue soon. Our state’s employers cannot afford to absorb the kind of rate increases that state officials are projecting over the next decade.”
AWB will now begin the process of compiling its annual legislative review and vote record, which offers an in-depth look at how lawmakers voted on key bills, specific legislation by issue area and an analysis of the entire 153-day session. It will be published in a special edition of “Washington Business” magazine later this summer.
About the Association of Washington Business
Formed in 1904, the Association of Washington Business is Washington’s oldest and largest statewide business association, and includes more than 8,000 members representing 700,000 employees. AWB serves as both the state’s chamber of commerce and the manufacturing and technology association. While its membership includes major employers like Boeing, Microsoft and Weyerhaeuser, 90 percent of AWB members employ fewer than 100 people. More than half of AWB’s members employ fewer than 10. For more about AWB, visit www.awb.org.