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The Herald of Everett, Washington
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Jim Davis | jdavis@heraldnet.com
Published: Thursday, January 19, 2012, 10:12 a.m.

30 chambers of commerce take their agenda to Olympia

The state's chambers of commerce, including Economic Alliance Snohomish County, issued a news release today urging state lawmakers in Olympia to raise taxes only after they "reduce spending to the greatest extent possible" and "focus on job creation, education and transportation." "Lawmakers are going to be hit from every side as they look to fill the budget gap," said George Allen, the senior vice president of government relations for the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, in the news release. "We want to be sure they have a clear direction from the business community." The 30 chambers call for numerous measures, many you might expect, including elimination of unfunded mandates, retention of tax incentives "that support job growth," "reforming" the minimum wage and ensuring greater predictability in permit processes. But the chambers also urge passage of "a balanced, multi-modal transportation funding package" and education reforms while "preventing disproportionate cuts to higher education." Herald political writer Jerry Cornfield in Olympia is talking to lawmakers and others about what, specifically, might come of this, and you can track his work at The Petri Dish blog. The complete news release:
For immediate release:
January 19, 2012 For more information, contact:
Christina Donegan
Office: (206) 389-7241; Cell: (206) 355-0584
christinad@seattlechamber.com

Press Release

State chambers of commerce unite for 2012 legislative session

SEATTLE – Thirty chambers of commerce—representing nearly every employment sector and community in Washington state—are delivering a shared message to lawmakers this session. Their advice: reduce spending to the greatest extent possible before pursuing new revenue and focus on job creation, education and transportation. Specific measures called for by the chambers include eliminating unfunded mandates; retaining tax incentives that support job growth; implementing LEAN processes and state auditor performance report recommendations; supporting reforms to the current minimum wage; and providing for greater predictability in all permitting processes. The chambers also urge passage of a balanced, multi-modal transportation funding package and a number of education reforms, from creating high performance schools to preventing disproportionate cuts to higher education. This collaborative effort grew out of a similar strategy from 2011, when 11 statewide chambers of commerce backed a shared agenda. The three-fold growth of the effort illustrates the importance of a cohesive voice for business, explained George Allen, the SVP of government relations at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and a leader in bringing the chambers together. "Lawmakers are going to be hit from every side as they look to fill the budget gap. We want to be sure they have a clear direction from the business community," Allen said. Participants are the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce, Bainbridge Island Chamber of Commerce, Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Cle Elum Roslyn Chamber of Commerce, East King County Chambers of Commerce Legislative Coalition, Economic Alliance Snohomish County, Greater Federal Way Chamber of Commerce, Greater Renton Chamber of Commerce, Greater Spokane Incorporated, Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, Mount Vernon Chamber of Commerce, Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce, Pullman Chamber of Commerce, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Southwest King County Chamber of Commerce, Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Thurston County Chamber of Commerce, Tri-City Regional Chamber of Commerce, Walla Walla Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce. "Employers — and the chambers of commerce who represent them — expect government to act like every other household in this state. First, you look at how you are spending your money. Then you prioritize based on the essentials. Sometimes you make invests in the future—like saving for your children's college tuition. And you find ways you can streamline and reduce expenses. That's what we are asking lawmakers to do," Allen said. ###

About the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce

Founded in 1882, the Seattle Metropolitan (Seattle Metro) Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most diverse network of influential business leaders in the Puget Sound region. Our primary objective is to create and protect a competitive edge for businesses in Seattle and the metro area. Working on behalf of our 2,200 members, we provide business leadership, serve as an advocate for business and provide business development resources. For more information, visit seattlechamber.com.

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