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WIN Articles for May 16, 2018

WRA hires Rusty George to lead Association rebrand

By Renée Sunde, President/CEO

After a very successful RFP process the association has selected Rusty George Creative as our branding and design partners for the evolution of the Washington Retail Association brand.Rusty George

Our team narrowed the choice from 17 proposals received by the April 20 deadline, to our top 4. The selection was based on overall qualifications, the ability to meet specific deliverables, pricing and overall presentation.  The interview process allowed WRA to analyze all factors and meet with our top 4 teams personally, to determine “best fit.”

Rusty George Creative (RGC) is an award-winning branding and marketing agency serving the Puget Sound Region. Located in Tacoma, RGC is a respected and innovative marketing agency that has served a multitude of clients in a variety of industries since 1997.

Their work has been the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Webby’s, the Summit Awards, the W3 awards, the ADDYs. And most recently in 2017, the firm won the Marcom, Davy and HOW Awards. We were most impressed by their strong team of creative and strategic thinkers and their ability to connect with our WRA team. Learn more about RGC at https://rustygeorge.com/

The project will take place over the next 6-7 months as we partner with Rusty George for the evolution of the Washington Retail Association brand.

Look for our new look as we seek to maintain our visual identity that many of you have come to know and modernize our brand to keep pace with the changing dynamics of the retail industry in Washington State.


Compromise head tax approved by Seattle City Council

By John Engber, Director, Retail Industry Coalition of Seattle

After months of discussion, the Seattle City Council this week voted 9-0 to impose a new head tax on businesses with more than $20 million of revenue annually in Seattle. The council wants revenue from the tax to be used to combat homelessness.

However, as the Council neared the final vote on this tax, it began to hear increasingly angry pushback from Seattle residents. From a Ballard town hall where four Council advocates for the head tax faced an angry crowd of 300 to a growing number of people testifying against the tax at Council meetings, the Council heard a rising chorus of voices in opposition.

The business community stayed united in its opposition to the tax. Washington Retail Association sent a letter opposing the tax to the Mayor and Council. In addition, more than 500 businesses signed on to letters of opposition, including about 20 members of the Retail Industry Coalition of Seattle.

That hard work moved public opinion on the tax. While an early poll showed that support and opposition to the head tax ran about even with just under 50 percent of Seattle voters, a May 14 KIRO poll showed that opposition to the tax had grown to a 54-38 margin. And Seattle voters opposed a $500 head tax by an enormous 70-27 margin. Finally, by a 61-36 margin, Seattle voters also did not trust the City to spend the head tax revenues wisely.

Thanks to a united business community and the opposition of Mayor Jenny Durkan and Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Bruce Harrell, Rob Johnson and Debora Juarez, the Council had to discard the proposed $500 per employee head tax, approving a $275 head tax with a 5-year sunset.

Here are key details:

Effective Dates: January 1, 2019

through December 31, 2023.

Who is covered:

Businesses with annual revenues in Seattle of $20 million or more must pay a $.14 tax per hour worked by its employees in Seattle. Note that this tax applies to hours worked in Seattle by all employees (full-time, part-time and temporary workers) of covered businesses. There are several potential ways to calculate the tax, so be sure to refer to the ordinance.

The WRA and Seattle business community remained ardently opposed to this head tax and we appreciate the hard work of Mayor Durkan and Councilmembers Bagshaw, Harrell, Johnson and Juarez in fighting against it. We will continue to push the City to develop an effective, long-term plan to address Seattle’s homelessness crisis.


Despite council approval, former state AG, Seattle Times oppose head tax

 Despite the City Council’s approval of a Seattle business head tax, a former state Attorney General and the state’s largest newspaper came out against any head tax as counterproductive.

Commenting in his blog recently, former state Attorney General and candidate for Governor Rob McKenna wrote: “More than anything, it’s the three H’s – heroin, homelessness, and the head tax – driving perceptions of Seattle today. And the perception is: The city will look the other way on certain destructive behaviors while taxing jobs out of the city.”

The Seattle Times, agreeing with Washington Retail Association, urged defeat or a mayoral veto of the head tax. The newspaper labeled the head tax a “terrible idea” and instead urged the council to join with other regional governments to address and reduce homeless, which knows no municipal borders.

WRA opposes the tax on several grounds. Chief among them is that a payroll tax discourages hiring and will, therefore, slow regional economic growth that generates tax income to address issues such as homelessness. Also, a payroll tax discourages companies from expanding or locating in Seattle in favor of communities with lower taxes. This, too, only makes it harder for Seattle to accumulate funds to address homelessness.


WRA attends Senate candidate roll-out

By Mark Johnson, Senior VP of Government Affairs

Renée Sunde, President/CEO, Tammie Hetrick, Chief Operating Officer, Bruce Beckett, contract lobbyist and I attended the Senate Republican Campaign Committee candidate roll-out this week in Tacoma.

The event was well attended by both current Republican Senators and hopeful future Senators.  Republican Caucus Leader Mark Schoesler keynoted the event.

We were impressed and heartened by the quality and quantity of pro-business, pro-jobs candidates running in vacant seats and as challengers.

We heard speeches from;

  • Dale Fonk – yes, son of the famous Vern Fonk insurance – running in the 45th District
  • Mr. Kun Wang, running in the 33rd District
  • Doug Roulstone, candidate in the 44th District
  • Pierre Malebranche, running in the 29th District
  • Mario Lotmore, candidate in the 21st District
  • James Wood, running in the 21st District, and
  • Beth Daranciag, candidate for the 46th District.

Official filing for office is this week.

WRA’s Political Action Committee, the Retail Action Council, will review all districts and candidates following the end of filing.  All challengers and open seats will receive a candidate survey.  If further information is needed a personal interview will be arranged.  The PAC board will then take action on who they feel will champion retail issues and has a chance at victory in November.  The board can endorse a candidate and authorize a contribution.  The current limit is $1,000.00 per election.

WRA plans to attend all candidate roll-outs for both the House and Senate to seek candidates who will promote and strive to improve the retail industry.  Please watch future WIN articles for PAC activities.


WRA takes SAFEME app on the road

 tammie rick

Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, was able to showcase the association’s SAFEME app and announce the new SAFEME Automotive while attending the Washington Self-Insured Association conference in Wenatchee last week.

Rick and WRA Chief Operating Officer Tammie Hetrick staffed a table including related handouts along with a laptop computer and cell phone to display SAFEME modules. Rick demonstrated that the free safety app has been downloaded in all 50 states and several overseas nations as well. It allows users to take a variety of safety courses and to obtain a certificate if they can pass a safety quiz at the end of the course.

WRA has customized the app for entry-level workers and people employed in the automotive service industry. At the conference, Rick was able to demonstrate the first lesson modules on safe use of chemicals and use of eyewash stations at workplaces. Work continues on building SAFEME Automotive and will be shared at future conferences.


State offers to reduce penalties for businesses that owe taxes

 Qualified tax-delinquent businesses owing money to the State of Washington may qualify for a partial reduction in penalties under a Department of Revenue program.

Businesses inside and outside the state that do business in Washington may qualify if they failed to register with Revenue and have not engaged in misrepresenting their tax obligations.

Qualified businesses can have penalties reduced by up to 39 percent. Also, the “look back” period for liability would be four calendar years plus the current year instead of seven calendar years plus the current year.

More information is available at www.dor.wa.gov/PenaltyReduction. Those with questions may contact DORMPFPPenaltyReduction@dor.wa.gov or 800-647-7706.


Conference on WISHA citations reduced in price for WRA members

 WRA members are entitled to a discounted fee to attend an all-day conference on June 21 in Renton by the Washington Self-Insurers Association.

The conference speakers will cover the rights, responsibilities and obligations of employers under the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act. It will benefit State Fund and self-insured companies alike. The conference fee includes breakfast and lunch.

The event will be held at the Puget Sound Education Service District, 800 Oakesdale Ave. S.W. in Renton. Register here and use the WRA discount code WRA or contact Tammie Hetrick, WRA’s Chief Operating Officer, with questions at 360-200-6452 or tammie@retailassociation.org.


Slade Gorton reflects on the state’s changing politics the past 60 yearslens

Former state and U.S. Senator Slade Gorton reflects on big changes in statewide politics the past 60 years during an interview in The Lens, the online news source of the Business Institute of Washington.

The politics of today is far less consensus-oriented, commented Gorton, who today heads the Slade Gorton International Policy Center. He cited major public works projects to make his point.

Interstate 5, he said, was constructed with relatively little controversy as was the Space Needle for the 1962 World’s Fair. Construction of the needle ended in April 1962, “from the idea of it to its completion, was maybe a year,” Gorton said.

Conversely, the Growth Management Act and environmental activism in the 21st century have halted a coal export terminal in Whatcom County and a bulk terminal in Longview, Gorton commented. Click here to read the entire article.


Safety tip of the week

On safe use of a computer keyboard and mouse

Repetitive motion such as typing can cause wrist stress if you are not properly aligning yourself with the keyboard and mouse.

As covered last week in adjusting an office chair, you can adjust your chair up and down to assist in achieving proper height to get yourself level. Keyboard and mouse should be at elbow level. This will allow for your wrist and forearm to work in a more natural state and not being used in the upward or downward position. Most often the mouse is down and your wrist is bent and you put pressure right at your wrist. This is what causes carpal tunnel.

The keyboard that came with your machine may not be the best one for you and there are several aftermarket options out there that you may find to be more comfortable.

The mouse also has options such as one with a trackball instead of the traditional type. Your fingers do all the work instead of having to use the elbow and shoulder movement to get the pointer where you need it. You can even reset your existing mouse to be used with your opposite hand.

Here is a link to a great interactive presentation on proper mouse/keyboard use. It is important to work with each individual to find what works best for them.

Next week’s article will address workspace layout.

WRA’s Safety Specialist Rick Means is available to members to help draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings. Contact him at 360-943-9198 x18, or rick.means@retailassociationservices.com.


Come experience Oly Third Thursday

The merchants of downtown Olympia invite one and all to a 10 a.m. kick off ceremony and 5:30 p.m. block party tomorrow to celebrate the season’s first Oly Third Thursday.

On Third Thursdays, downtown businesses feature artists, authors, musicians, special promotions and more.

To find out more about the season of fun ahead, visit http://downtownolympia.org/learnmore.


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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