Each year state law makers introduce thousands of “good little bills” for consideration. The good news is there are twelve different ways in the process to “kill” those “good little bills”. Amazingly though, hundreds of them still manage to get passed each year and sent to the Governor for signature.I’ve spent several days during the last two months in Olympia advocating for and speaking against some of these “good (or not so good) little bills” on behalf of businesses in the Wenatchee Valley. There are two bills I would encourage our business community to start taking about here at home and in Olympia:

  • Increasing the State Minimum Hourly Wage to $12 per hour.

If enacted, HB 1355/ SB 5285 would increases the state minimum hourly wage to $12 per hour over the course of four years:

  • beginning January 1, 2016 - $10.00;
  • beginning January 1, 2017 - 10.50;
  • beginning January 1, 2018 - $11.00;
  • beginning January 1, 2019 - $12.00;
  • beginning January 1, 2020 state minimum wage rate would be adjusted for inflation.

If HB 1355 does not pass, there is a strong possibility voters will see an initiative on the ballot in 2016. Now is the time to educate law makers, your employees, and our community about the impact a $12 per hour minimum wage would have on your business and our local economy.

  • Statewide Tourism Effort

In 2011 the legislature closed the state tourism office. Washington is the only state without a statewide tourism marketing program. If enacted HB 1938 would re-establish a statewide tourism effort that is industry funded and industry lead. It would raise $7.5 million per year by adding a yearly assessment to businesses within several tourism industry sectors: lodging, food service, attractions, and retail. Those funds would be managed by a newly created Tourism Marketing Authority who would be responsible for contracting with a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is marketing the state, and to conduct research to determine the effectiveness of the marketing program by evaluating the growth of tourism.We all need to fully understand how the passage of these measures will impact local business and our overall economy. Now is the time to get educated and speak up. The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce is here to help. For more information on either of these measures, or to learn how you can get your voice heard in Olympia, please contact the Chamber at (509) 662-2116 or by e-mailing info@wenatchee.org .Shiloh Shauer –Executive Director Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce

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