Chamber Sets Its Priorities For State Advocacy In 2018

By: Editorial Staff Posted: 01/08/2018

Policy agenda focuses on advancing economic prosperity, ensuring a vital business environment, and building sustainable communities

One of the major benefits the Chamber provides to our members is sustained, consistent advocacy that our vision of an economically vibrant and globally competitive Seattle region where businesses can flourish and everyone has the opportunity to succeed and to access a thriving quality of life.

Each year, we work with members to identify the policy priorities we'll pursue.

During the 2018 state legislative session, which begins today, some of the top issue areas for the Chamber include education policies that advance our state's attainment goals, tax and regulatory policies that keep our state competitive, and workforce policies that benefit both employees and employers. You can see our full agenda below or download a PDF version

For more information, please contact Mindi Linquist, our vice president of external relations.

Business Climate

  • Pass a state capital budget, ensuring adequate funding for critical education and affordable housing projects.
  • Maintain Washington state’s aerospace incentives and other key incentive programs that contribute to the economic vibrancy of our state.
  • Support actions that would limit municipalities from pursuing policies proven to hinder economic competitiveness and increase the burden on business.
  • Ensure statewide harmonization and consistency of policies to avoid a patchwork of regulations across municipalities.
  • Support the voter-approved 2016 Sound Transit 3 ballot measure, ensuring full funding for the efficient and unimpaired implementation of all ST3 projects.
  • Support tools that allow Sound Transit to expedite delivery of the ST3 package.
  • Closely monitor projects important to Washington state’s economic vitality, like those included in the Connecting Washington transportation package and the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement, ensuring that they are completed on or ahead of time, and within budget.
  • Support the development and adoption of new technologies that will increase the safety of Washington roads, alleviate congestion, increase affordable transportation options for all citizens, and reduce the environmental impact of personal transportation around the state.
  • Align any new investments with the state’s two educational attainment goals: 100% high school graduation and 70% post-secondary education by 2023.
  • Continue to support high-quality early learning programs, specifically the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP).
  • Maintain the current path for funding K-12 education.
  • State funding should be directed at improved outcomes for students, including;
    • Give every K-12 student access to computer science education
    • Increase access to dual-credit opportunities
    • Expand career connected learning opportunities
    • Increase student support services
  • Implement the proposals of the Washington Student Achievement Council to better support post-secondary education (certificates, apprenticeships, two-year, four-year, and graduate programs), including:
    • Fully fund the State Need Grant
    • Cover books and transportation for Running Start
    • Expand career-connected learning in high-demand fields
    • Ensure the transferability of credits between schools

Workforce Policies
  • Ensure that labor policies benefit both employers and employees, are simple to implement, and seamlessly integrate with existing definitions, laws and jurisdictions.
  • Implementation of Washington’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program must be consistent with the agreement reached in 2017.
  • Support gender pay equity policies that reflect collaboration with and formal input from employers, reinforce best practices and the philosophy of 100% Talent, and empower employers to implement the right tools and strategies for their workforce. Policies should apply statewide and include local preemption. 
  • Empower companies to provide benefits to workers engaged in new opportunities to do independent, flexible work, outside of a traditional employee-employer relationship. Create a safe harbor on the independent contractor classification for companies that do offer these benefits to ensure they do not face litigation.
Housing Affordability
  • Maintain the statewide ban on rent control, and instead pursue proven strategies to increase housing affordability around the state.
  • Authorize the City of Seattle to extend the Multi-Family Tax Exemption beyond 12 years, thereby preserving 3,300 units of affordable housing that are set to expire.
  • Support at least $106 million in capital funding for the Housing Trust Fund, and increased funding with a supplemental capital budget.
Human Services
  • Work with the City of Seattle and King County to ensure accountability of state and local funding to address the homelessness crisis, consistent with the Chamber’s adopted principles and the recommendations of the Focus Strategies and Poppe Reports.
  • Restore mental health and substance abuse treatment funding to pre-recession levels; both are critical to solving the homelessness crisis in Seattle and
    King County.
Public Safety
  • Support Initiative 940, requiring that law enforcement officers receive effective de-escalation, mental health and first-aid training, and aligning state statute around the use of deadly force and independent investigations with best practices around the country.
  • Ensure that environmental policy decisions balance our economy and the environment by supporting the protection of our key natural assets and developing attainable environmental standards that improve our environment, protect human health, and provide for a vibrant state economy.