Current Legislative Agenda
Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce Legislative Agenda
Chamber members are encouraged to participate in Committees, to receive Governmental Affairs Committee reminders click here
Greater Yakima Chamber of Commerce
Government Affairs Committee - WA Legislative Priorities
Businesses in Washington State must compete for business with suppliers in other states and countries. When our State Government imposes new costs on business, whether directly in the form of taxes and fees or indirectly through new regulatory requirements, these costs cannot easily be passed on to consumers. More often, these costs come out of the pockets of entrepreneurs and their employees.
In the upcoming session the Legislature will consider proposals put forward by the Governor to enact a cap and trade system to reduce carbon emissions and regulations being prepared by the Department of Ecology to mandate lower carbon content in gasoline. Attempting to address a global issue at the state level would impose a heavy burden on Washington businesses and consumers, with serious consequences for our state's economy and employment.
A prosperous economy requires the ability to move people and goods efficiently. Completing improvements to I-90 over Snoqualmie Pass is vital to integrating our state's economy and facilitating agricultural exports from Eastern Washington. While additional transportation investment and maintenance dollars are needed, Legislators must consider the impacts of higher gas prices on residents and businesses--particularly in rural areas. Serious missteps on major projects such as the tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way viaduct point out the need for reform and greater efficiency at WSDOT before asking voters to entrust the Department with more taxpayer money.
State officials should do all that they can to help resolve the ongoing labor dispute at our Puget Sound ports, which is doing so much harm to the economy of the most trade dependent state in the nation.
An educated workforce is essential for every business in Washington State, from retailers seeking cashiers with the basic math skills to make change to businesses seeking the scarce information technology talent necessary to compete in today's high-tech environment. The Legislature should meet its constitutional requirements to fund basic education, while at the same time doing more to focus available resources on the classroom. Reducing class size may be a part of this effort, but the unfunded mandates in I-1351 are a one-size-fits-all solution to a more complex problem and this initiative should be suspended to allow resources to be focused on the basic education priorities mandated by the McCleary decision.
An adequate supply of water is vital to agriculture and to all residents and businesses in Yakima County. The integrated plan developed by state, federal, tribal, environmental and irrigation stakeholders would improve water management through increased storage and conservation, and the Legislature should support funding to move forward with these projects.