Chamber sets its priorities for regional and state advocacy in 2017

By: Alicia Teel Posted: 01/09/2017

Policy agendas focus 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.

Our regional legislative agenda covers eight issue areas that directly affect our region's business climate and our ability to build sustained, inclusive prosperity, from education, to housing affordability, to key principles for funding and new revenue. You can see our complete agenda here, or continue scrolling. 

During the 2017 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 here, or continue scrolling. 

For more information, please contact Markham McIntyre, our chief of staff.

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Priorities of Government

  • Establish outcomes and performance measures that ensure our cities and the county are spending tax dollars wisely and effectively (e.g. improved coordination on homelessness, investments and programs for affordable housing; funding for public schools and other education services)


  • Ensure that existing or new initiatives, policies, and programs that benefit the whole city are funded across the whole tax base, not in a way that disproportionately impacts the business community
  • All revenue proposals should 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.

Housing affordability

  • Continue moving the HALA recommendations forward and keep the “Grand Bargain” intact
  • Make measurable progress with the Mayor’s Education Advisory Group’s recommendations, and include a mechanism for business input on the Summer Youth Employment Initiative
  • Implement system changes required to better align students with employment opportunities through active engagement with the Seattle Region Partnership
  • Continue to improve early childhood education through Best Starts for Kids and the Seattle Preschool Program
  • Keep Move Seattle projects on schedule, ensuring that Fairview Avenue North Bridge Replacement construction begins in spring 2017, and the Lander Street Bridge Project stays on track to begin construction in early 2018
  • Show measurable improvements to Metro service in Seattle based on the stated goals of the Seattle Transportation Benefit District, including reduced overcrowding, increased frequency, and increased reliability
  • Continue to implement and complete Sound Transit 2 projects in alignment with or ahead of project timelines.  Expedite permitting for Sound Transit 3 projects in cities and counties across the region
  • Develop alignment between the cities and the county on a countywide system of support services, in line with the Chamber’s principles and the Poppe report.  This system should transition homeless individuals into housing first and, ultimately, out of homelessness, bringing the community’s compassion to bear at every step of the journey.
Public safety
  • Ensure the Seattle Police Department enacts its Micro Community Policing Plans, including addressing the top concerns laid out in the 2016 Seattle University Public Safety Survey results
  • Fulfill the requirements set out in the consent decree by the end of 2017
  • Take steps to ensure the city remains on track to uphold its agreement to hire 200 new officers by 2020
Workforce policies
  • Ensure that labor policies benefit both employees and employers, are simple to implement, and seamlessly integrate with existing definitions, laws, and jurisdictions
  • In order to improve compliance and achieve better outcomes for employees, increase outreach to employers about the city’s current labor laws (e.g. Office of Labor Standards grant program)
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  • Any new investments should align with and advance progress toward the state’s two achievement goals: 100% high school graduation and 70% post-secondary education by 2023.
  • Support early education, specifically the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP)
  • Resolve McCleary
    • 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 through programs like Seattle Public Schools’ Career Technical Education
      • Increase student support services
      • Increase beginning teachers’ salaries
      • Fund dual language programs
  • To better support post-secondary education (certificates, apprenticeships, twp-year, four-year and graduate programs), the state should:
    • Make progress on restoring state share of funding of higher education to historic levels
    • Fully fund State Need Grant
    • Maintain full funding for College Bound Scholarship
    • Support MESA funding, apprenticeships, and 4-year STEM offerings
    • Expand work-based learning through state work study and career-connected learning opportunities
    • Maintain support for Washington State Opportunity Scholarship
Tax and regulatory policies
  • Ensure tax and regulatory policies that enhance Washington’s economic competitiveness
  • Maintain Washington state’s aerospace incentives and other key tax incentives
Workforce policies
  • Ensure that labor policies benefit both employees and employers, are simple to implement, and seamlessly integrate with existing definitions, laws, and jurisdictions
  • Any proposals to legislate paid family leave or achieve gender equity should be consistent with principles developed by the Chamber’s Gender & Workforce Policy Task Force and make the business community stronger.
Housing affordability
  • Work with Affordable Washington, a broad-based coalition, to support an increased and diverse supply of housing. Key elements include:
    • Preservation Tax Exemption
    • Housing Trust Fund
    • Document Recording Fee
Human services
  • Make progress on restoring funding for mental health services and substance abuse services
  • Support tools that allow Sound Transit to expedite delivery of the ST3 package
  • If the legislature pursues new revenue, it must be broad-based, ensure that all existing revenue has been used effectively, and should align with the goals articulated in this agenda.
  • Any new revenue sources must be evaluated to understand more fully how they impact Washington’s competitive tax burden relative to other states.
  • Our state’s revenue framework should support the broad needs of Washington residents, while also ensuring the most favorable possible climate for innovation and entrepreneurship, especially in comparison to other states/regions with high-performing innovation ecosystems.