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WIN Articles for June 28, 2017

WRA posts ad for new CEO

 The Washington Retail Association is actively recruiting candidates for a new President/CEO. Current President/CEO Jan Teague, who has led WRA since 1998, has announced her retirement at the end of the year.

WRA’s recruiting firm, The Waldron Group, has posted the announcement seeking qualified candidate. You can also find the job announcement on WRA’s website.

Please encourage interested candidates with extensive management and leadership experience to consider applying. Here is the announcement about the opening.




Washington Retail Association


Olympia, WA

  The Opportunity

The new CEO of the Washington Retail Association (WRA) will join one of the most vibrant, respected and successful retail associations in the country at a time of significant change for the industry, particularly in the state of Washington. This is an opportunity for a seasoned association executive to lead a large and diverse membership and advance retail’s interests with elected officials, the media, and industry executives state and nationwide. WRA has also distinguished itself through its member services, including a highly successful retroactive ratings program through the Department of Labor and Industries.

Read the full position profile at http://waldronhr.com/searches/washington-retail-association.


The Organization

 The Washington Retail Association was established in 1987 by merchants concerned with advancing and safeguarding the well-being of the retail industry. Today the Association is recognized by businesses, legislators, state officials, and other trade groups as a powerful and effective spokesperson for retail.  Its office is located in Olympia, the state capitol.

WRA represents over 3,500 retail storefronts, from the largest national chains to the smallest independent businesses. Members include wholesalers, dealers, professional services, and mall owners/operators. The Association is a valuable source of critical information and provides members and the public with timely updates on important legislative and regulatory issues as well as key retail industry news. WRA members rely on the Association as an effective intermediary with state government and for its business resources and Retroactive Rating Services program (RETRO).


Desired Qualifications

 Candidates should have a minimum of 10 years of experience in progressively responsible, hands-on executive leadership roles. A bachelor’s degree or equivalent industry experience is required. Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential. Prior financial management experience is necessary; oversight of budgets of $1M or more is preferred. A track record of successfully managing high-performing teams and driving entrepreneurial efforts is particularly important. Diverse professional experience is valued and may include the nonprofit sector, trade associations or chambers of commerce, or government or policy organizations.

 To be Considered

The Washington Retail Association is an equal opportunity employer and we encourage all qualified candidates to submit both a cover letter and resume via Waldron’s candidate web portal. Cover letters should be addressed to Tom Waldron and Sarah Meyer and thoughtfully crafted to articulate your interest in the position and fit for the role.


Lawmakers reach tentative state budget agreement

By Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs

As the end of the state fiscal year approaches – July 1 – state lawmakers have announced an agreement in principle on a new state budget.

The Governor’s office today made the announcement about the agreement. A vote to approve by the full Legislature is expected by Friday of this week.

The only thing the Legislature has to do is approve an operating budget.  All other bills are extra.

Details of the proposal were unavailable today until negotiators were able to brief members of party caucuses about what’s included in the proposal. Democratic House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan and GOP Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler each said that details won’t be publicly available until Thursday.

Outcomes to several key retail issues remained pending as this was written.

These include a solution to remote sellers collecting sales tax that is due; a paid family leave program; and a fix to water rights for development.

WRA is encouraging the legislature to approve a balanced budget with no new taxes.  Retailers, their customers and other businesses are struggling to make ends meet.  Adding more taxes would hinder retailers expanding, hiring new employees or just remaining in business.  The state has seen a significant increase in its revenues from the last budget.  We should be able to meet our obligations of providing a top quality education and providing other essential state services without increasing or adding new taxes.

Retailers have to live within their means.  They can’t simply raise the prices of their goods.  They will lose business as rising prices discourage consumers from shopping.

WRA remains committed to working with legislators and stakeholders to find workable solutions to the budget and other important issues.  Let’s hope the legislature can complete its business by Friday, the end of the current state fiscal year.


Visit our website for Seattle retail news

The Washington Retail Association has two representatives making contacts to learn about the concerns of Seattle retailers and their relationship to city government.

Director John Engber and Field Director Nina Jurczynski are heading up the Retail Industry Coalition of Seattle (RICS) to assist retailers in keeping up with planned city government issues and regulations that could affect them.

The RICS website includes video and Twitter updates on public hearings; meeting schedules and issues;  links to adopted or proposed city ordinances; and contact information for all City Council members.

RICS also sends a monthly e-newsletter to interested readers with updates on issues affecting Seattle retailers. Contact Nina at nina@retailassociation.org to sign up for the newsletter.



Revenue to offer free webinar on business taxes

 Business owners in Washington have many responsibilities including knowing which taxes they must report. To help reach more businesses statewide, the Washington State Department of Revenue (Revenue) will host a free live webinar for new and small business owners on Thursday, July 13. In offering these live webinars, Revenue aims to make it easier for small businesses to participate.

Date: Thursday, July 13

Time: 10 – 11 a.m.

Registration: Send an email to NBOWebinar@dor.wa.gov.

Contact Revenue’s Rick Stedman with any questions about the workshop: 360-705-6624 or rickst@dor.wa.gov.

The deadline to register is Wednesday, July 12.

Participants will learn about Washington excise taxes, reporting classifications, deductions, sales tax collection, and record-keeping requirements. During the webinar, the facilitator will answer specific questions related to someone’s business. Continuing education credit is also available.

The Revenue website at www.dor.wa.gov/Workshops offers a complete schedule of in-person business workshops held around the state and short video versions of the workshops.



Two newspapers publish Jan Teague’s opinion urging online sales tax collection

Daily newspapers in Spokane and Vancouver recently published an opinion piece by WRA President/CEO Jan Teague that urges the state Legislature to require out-of-state online retailers to collect sales taxes due in Washington State.

Teague noted that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers now must operate at a competitive price disadvantage because some online retailers decline to collect owed Washington State sales taxes.

Sales lost to negligent online sellers threaten the livelihoods of law-abiding traditional retailer while shortchanging the state of up to $1 billion a year in sales taxes owed to the state, Teague wrote.

Such overdue state revenues could help Washington meet current challenges to fully fund schools and other essential services, she wrote. Last-minute budget negotiations this legislative session include a proposal requiring collection of overdue state sales taxes to help balance a 2017-19 state budget.

You can read the essay here or here.


Seattle minimum wage workers lose hours, new study finds

Many minimum wage workers in Seattle have been hurt more than helped by the city’s new wage law, a University of Washington study has found.

It found that as the minimum wage rose to $13 an hour, many employers reduced available hours by a larger percentage than the percent of increased wages. The statewide minimum is $11 an hour.

The result for many minimum wage employees is that their net wages remained flat due to the reduction in available work hours, the study found.

Researchers compiled their findings by reviewing quarterly hours and earnings data from Employment Security. The Seattle City Council, which approved the study, approved the minimum wage ordinance. The increases are being phased in to $15 an hour depending upon the size of business and benefits offered by employers.

Click here to review the study. A story about the study results is here.

Source: KUOW radio


Be wary of Seattle income tax, Policy Center warns

A proposed Seattle income tax on the rich promises to be a lose-lose situation, according to the Washington Policy Center.

In a recent blog, the Director of the Center for Government Reform predicted Seattle would lose an expected lawsuit if the City Council approves the tax. If a court upheld it, Jason Mercier predicted that governments tend to increase income tax over time and that Seattle likely would do the same.

Mercier notes that the state constitution requires taxes on property to be applied uniformly rather than on one income group. Also, he writes, state voters defeated nine attempts either to approve a constitutional amendment to impose a graduated income tax or to call such a tax an excise tax.

He also noted that the U.S. income tax started at 1 percent in 1913. These days the tax ranges from 10 percent to 39.6 percent.

Click here to read the entire blog.


Columbia bridge talks to resumelens

 A bi-state legislative action committee is expected to be formed to revive talks about building a new Columbia River bridge between Vancouver, Wa. and Portland, The Lens reports.

The committee is expected to make recommendations by the end of 2018, reports the online news source of The Business Institute of Washington. The bill setting up the action committee is Washington Senate bill 5806.

The current bridge is the site of clogged rush hour traffic that spills onto nearby streets and delays truck deliveries. Future economic development of the region could be slowed without addressing traffic relief.

A 2013 bridge proposal collapsed due to controversy regarding light rail, tolling and bridge design. Read the Lens story regarding the issue here.


Policy Center compares Congressional health care bills

Congress is making news trying to overturn Obamacare, but the details can be fuzzy to the public at large.

In a recent Washington Policy Center blog, Dr. Roger Stark, its Health Care Policy Analyst, outlined the similarities and differences between a bill the House has passed and a new Senate version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The Senate was counting votes on the issue before its July 4 recess but has delayed the vote until after the recess.

The bills are not a comprehensive overturning of Obamacare but represent a start on accomplishing the goal. Both bills eliminate health care exchanges such as one running in Washington State and eliminate individual and employer mandates to own or provide health care coverage.

But there are differences in Senate and House versions of a health care bill that Dr. Stark outlines in the blog. Click here to read it.


Safety tip of the week

Understand falls to avoid them

It’s important to understand falling on the job to avoid having it happen to you. Often, an employee’s health and physical condition can contribute to a fall and possible injury.

There also are types of falls to understand. For example, slips and trips can cause falls. Typically, slipping involves insufficient friction on the bottom of your shoes, especially where your heel strikes the ground. This can result in a sliding motion and cause your center of gravity to become unsupported. This can cause you to lose balance and fall.

You can also fall by tripping over something you didn’t notice, such as an exposed cord on the floor.

Sometimes falls are affected by the health and physical condition impairing a person’s vision, judgment, and balance. This could be related to stress or illness, compromised eyesight, age, physical fatigue, or medications, alcohol or drugs.

Analyze your situation and ability by focusing on and watching what you are doing so that you are not distracted to avoid falling. There is more information on this topic for WRA members in the RASI Safety Library. Non-members can visit  RASI Safety TV  and look under Slip Trips Falls.

WRA employs Rick Means as a Safety Specialist who is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-200-6454, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.


Still time to avoid fines for unreported unclaimed property

If you are a business holding unclaimed property but have not reported or turned it over to the state, you still have time to do so and avoid possible late penalties, interest and fees.

State law allows qualifying holders of unclaimed property such as paychecks, bank accounts, refunds, stocks or life insurance proceeds to get a waiver of penalties and interest if they report and pay outstanding unclaimed property by Oct. 31, 2017.

Applying for a waiver could help you avoid state unclaimed property penalties that go into effect July 1 of this year.

To apply for a waiver or see the list of the new penalties and fees, visit http://ucp.dor.wa.gov/.

Legislation in 2015 (RCW 63.29.191) restructured the penalty and interest for unclaimed property and created an “amnesty” program for holders who had not filed an unclaimed property report or delivered unclaimed property to the state’s Unclaimed Property program.

More than 49,000 holders, including banks, insurance companies, utilities, government agencies and other businesses, return unclaimed property to the state.


New Seattle bag law goes into effect July 1

New Seattle shopping bag requirements passed last year goes into effect on July 1 of this year.

Put simply, the new requirements:

  • Prohibit retailers from providing customers with non-compostable plastic bags that are tinted green or brown, including produce bags. Clear plastic produce bags are acceptable.
  • Allow retailers to provide compostable bags, but they must be certified and labeled as compostable and they must be tinted green or brown.
  • Ban misleading or confusing labels on bags including the terms “biodegradable,” “degradable” and “decomposable.”

Seattle Public Utilities will begin store compliance inspections in August of this year.

For more information on new and existing Seattle shopping bag requirements, click here.

Source: Seattle Public Utilities


New flame retardant regulations in effect July 1

New statewide restrictions on selling children’s products and upholstered furniture with certain flame retardants go into effect on July 1. The regulations affect retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors.

Stores will be prohibited from selling items containing the chemicals of concern after July 1 of this year. Manufacturers were required to notify retailers if their products contained restricted flame retardants by April 1 of this year. If a retailer violates the new law, manufacturers must recall the product and reimburse the retailer or any other purchaser of the product.

Click here to receive regular updates on the Children’s Safe Products Act. For additional questions, contact Tina Schaefer at the Department of Ecology, 360-407-6786 or at tina.schaefer@ecy.wa.gov.

Source: Ecology


WRA diversity statement

It’s essential to have a holistic strategic plan for diversity and inclusion.  We encourage everyone to consider having a plan that connects with diverse people, creates a diverse workforce, fosters an inclusive work environment where different perspectives are valued, partners to share time, talent, and resources with our staff and with communities, and communicates these values with others.

In principle and in practice, we value access to leadership opportunity regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, sexual orientation, nationality, disability, appearance, geographic location, or professional level.  The association strives to accomplish this by serving as a model where we are working to help our staff, our volunteer leaders, our members, and our community embrace these principles.

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