Chamber Sets Its Priorities For Regional Advocacy In 2018

By: Editorial Staff Posted: 02/16/2018

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

The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce is the region’s largest independent business and employer association. We seek 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.

In 2018 the Chamber will advocate to the City of Seattle, other cities in King County, and King County itself for the following policy improvements to advance economic prosperity, ensure a vital business environment, and build sustainable and healthy communities in our region.

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

Priorities of Government

  • Formally review the existing tax structure to determine the percentage of the city’s tax base contributed by businesses.
  • Establish outcomes and performance measures that ensure our cities and the county are spending tax dollars wisely and effectively (e.g. improved coordination between cities and county on homelessness, investments and programs for affordable housing, and renewal of the Families and Education Levy).
  • Ensure that any existing or new initiatives, policies, and programs that benefit the whole city are funded across the entire tax base, not in a way that disproportionately impacts the business community.
  • Guarantee that all new legislation includes an economic impact analysis and that any new revenue proposals include careful evaluation of how existing funding is being used; in addition, any new proposals should have clear metrics for how the additional revenue would achieve positive outcomes for the community.
  • Ensure that any funds from local levies do not supplant general fund appropriations.

     

Business Climate

  • Oppose efforts to implement a tax on jobs in the City of Seattle.
  • Include business voices in the selection process for new leadership in key city offices and departments.
  • Support the efforts of the Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council.

     

Housing Affordability

  • Continue moving the HALA recommendations forward, keeping the “Grand Bargain” intact and passing the citywide upzone in 2018.
  • Demonstrate that funds from the 2016 Seattle Housing Levy are spent effectively to achieve the city’s stated goals, supporting affordable housing opportunities for thousands of low-income Seattle residents.

Homelessness

  • Support the rapid convening of the One Table effort, and ensure that the business community is represented.
  • Support a regional system of support services that transitions homeless individuals into housing first, and ultimately out of homelessness, guided by the following Chamber principles:
    • Develop and invest in a person-centered crisis response system, giving highest priority to the health and safety of families with small children first, and then those who have the longest histories of homelessness and the greatest barriers to housing stability.
    • Focus on data, carefully measuring which services are actually moving people from the street and into housing.
    • Contract for performance, requiring organizations who receive taxpayer dollars to achieve measurable outcomes.
    • Embrace the “housing first” philosophy, which moves people into housing quickly and without barriers to entry, while protecting the most vulnerable.
    • Guarantee that any additional system funding be based on transitional need or on the provision of direct treatment services, and would only be supported after careful review of how existing funding would be budgeted.

Education

  • Ensure that the City and County are fully engaged in the Seattle Region Partnership, informing the work and recommendations of the Regional Workforce Strategy Group and making sure that the redesigned regional workforce system is employer-driven and organized by industry sector.
  • Include formal input from the business community in considerations to renew the Seattle Families and Education Levy, and guarantee that the measure demonstrates measurable outcomes, advances programs that align education and training with employer needs, and increases student access to career-connected learning opportunities.
  • Enhance learning opportunities across King County, directing any education funding generated by Sound Transit 3 construction fees toward improving existing early learning and higher education programs and increasing career-connected learning opportunities.

     

Transportation

  • Continue to implement and complete Sound Transit 2 projects in alignment with project timelines, ensuring that the Lynnwood Link Extension begins construction in 2018.
  • Maintain full funding for projects approved by voters in the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure.
  • Support Sound Transit’s efforts to expedite delivery of Sound Transit 3 projects in the following ways:
    • Execute a partnering agreement between the local jurisdiction(s) and Sound Transit at the beginning of project development.
    • Convene elected leadership, stakeholder, and interagency groups to identify and resolve issues early in development, including agreement on a preferred alternative for the project.
    • Identify a preferred alternative within the first 18 months of project development.
    • Identify and implement actions to streamline permit review including development a Preliminary Permitting Plan.
  • Effectively plan for and mitigate the significant impacts of construction in and around Seattle beginning later this year, ensuring that agencies are coordinating to maintain regional mobility and throughput.
  • Clearly demonstrate and regularly report the results that Move Seattle projects are being completed on schedule and within budget, and begin construction on the South Lander Street Bridge promptly in 2018.

Public Safety

  • Fulfill the requirements set out in the consent decree, ensuring that steps are in place to satisfy the two-year requirement for holding compliance established in the agreement with the Department of Justice and set forth by the court.
  • Establish a partnership between the City of Seattle and King County to expand Law Enforcement Assistance Diversion (LEAD) citywide using existing resources.
  • Include business voices in the selection process for a new Chief of Police for the City of Seattle.

Workforce Policies

  • Ensure that labor policies benefit employers as well as employees, are simple to implement, and seamlessly integrate with existing definitions, laws, and jurisdictions.
  • Increase outreach to, and educational resources for, employers about the City of Seattle’s current labor laws (e.g. Business Outreach and Education Fund, materials translated into preferred languages of employers, etc.).
  • Resolve investigations quickly and with minimal disruption to employers and employees.
  • Develop translations and interpretive materials before policies are enacted, and ensure clear communication of new policies that meets the diverse needs of the entire employer community.
  • Create a safe and welcoming environment for employers to engage with the Office of Labor Standards, with an emphasis on addressing the needs and concerns of minority and immigrant owned businesses.