WRA attends Council of State Retail Associations national conference in San Antonio
By Renée Sunde, President/CEO
Conference season is upon us and Mark Johnson, Senior VP of Public Policy and I attended the Council of State Retail Associations (CSRA) conference held last week in historic San Antonio, Texas.
Joined by colleagues who run retail associations around the nation, the conference was packed with information and offered opportunities to connect with other association execs, WRA members and national partners.
Keynote speaker Bill Press, a familiar voice on progressive radio stations since 2005 with the “Bill Press Show,” had a lot to say about today’s political climate. He discussed the three things that he believes could result in a more functional government – the expanded, more engaged and informed electorate.
His self-proclaimed title of “worried optimist” was evident as he spoke about the excitement progressives have around the mid-term elections with record numbers of candidates running and more people turning out. According to Press, more females and young people are turning out to run for office.
What I took away was crystal clear. This is not a time for voters to disengage or get lazy. The retail industry depends on elected officials who support business and understand the value of job creation and retention.
Other hot topics this year included Marketplace Fairness Legislation; Organized Retail Crime Felony Threshold and Criminal Justice Reform; and Employee Retention and Training programs. These issues are just a few examples of those the association will be engaged with in the coming year.
By creating opportunities for state retail associations to share legislative successes, strategies, potential coalition members, and arguments to defeat or pass legislation, our members are insured that their state retail association is armed with information to help key policy and decisionmakers pass supportive legislation on behalf of the retail industry.
Remember to vote this year, it really matters
Washington Retail Association joins the U.S. Chamber of Commerce this year in urging everyone to vote in the November 6 elections.
The retail industry depends upon elected officials who have developed a sense for business and job creation and retention. The state and national economies are healthy right now, which bodes well for most retailers this upcoming holiday season.
But economies ebb and flow. It requires elected officials who understand and support the needs of businesses in the tough times to protect jobs and to help retailers grow and prosper in the long run.
Please consider voting for WRA’s endorsed candidates for state Legislature. Their voting records and answers in surveys and interviews assure us that they will listen and work to act upon the needs of retailers during Legislature debates and votes.
They are, for state Senate:
Rep. Jeff Holy in District 6; Sen. Sharon Brown in District 8; Sen. Jim Honeyford in District 15; Marty McClendon for the open seat in District 26; Sen. Mark Miloscia in District 30; Sen. Phil Fortunato in District 31; Sen. Tim Sheldon in District 35; Sen. Doug Ericksen in District 42; Sen. Joe Fain in District 47 and former state Senator Rodney Tom in District 48.
For the state House of Representatives:
Reps. JT Wilcox and Andrew Barkis in District 2; Reps. Matt Shea and Bob McCaslin in District 4; Rep. Paul Graves and former state Rep. Chad Magendanz for the open seat in District 5; Rep. Mike Volz in District 6; Reps. Jacqueline Maycumber and Joel Kretz in District 7; Rep. Brad Klippert in District 8; Reps. Mary Dye and Joe Schmick in District 9; Rep. Dave Hayes in District 10; Rep. Mike Steele in District 12; Rep. Tom Dent in District 13; Rep. Bruce Chandler in District 15; Rep. Bill Jenkin in District 16; Reps. Paul Harris and Vicki Kraft in District 17; Rep. Brandon Vick in District 18; Rep. Jim Walsh in District 19; Reps. Richard DeBolt and Ed Orcutt in District 20; Reps. Jesse Young and Michelle Caldier in District 26; Rep. Dick Muri and Maia Espinoza in District 28; former state Rep. Linda Kochmar in District 30; Reps. Morgan Irwin and Drew Stokesbary in District 31; Reps. Drew MacEwen and Dan Griffey in District 35; Rep. Carolyn Eslick in District 39; Reps. Vincent Buys and Luanne Van Werven in District 42; Rep. Mark Harmsworth in District 45; Rep. Mark Hargrove in District 47.
The deadline to register to vote online or by mail in Washington is Monday, Oct. 8. Click here to learn more and register. In-person registrations for new voters are accepted up to 8-days prior to Election Day.
The U. S. Chamber’s 2018 Midterm Voter Toolkit comes complete with signage, posters and pocket cards for you to share with your company and employees.
Retail federation projects holiday sales increases between 4.3 and 4.8 percent
The National Retail Federation projects that holiday sales this year will increase between 4.3 and 4.8 percent. That would exceed the average annual increases of 3.9 percent the past five years.
“Our forecast reflects the overall strength of the industry,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Thanks to a healthy economy and strong consumer confidence, we believe that this holiday season will continue to reflect the growth we’ve seen over the past year.”
NRF projects national holiday sales during November and December to reach $720.89 billion.
NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said consumers were important to the health of the nation’s economy.
“The combination of increased job creation, improved wages, tamed inflation and an increase in net worth all provide the capacity and the confidence to spend,” he said.
WRA attends small business fair
By Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President of Public Policy
Washington Retail Association highlighted its free SAFEME app and other services before 330 people who attended the annual IRS Small Business Fair last weekend at Renton Technical College. Mark Johnson, Senior VP of Public Policy, represented WRA at a display table.
Small business owners and others looking to start a business attend every year and attend workshops on a variety of skills needed to start and grow a business.
Lars Wulff, Co-CEO, Mud Bay Dog and Cat Food, headquartered in Olympia, began the day’s activities with a keynote address. He shared how Mud Bay started and grew to become the largest retailer in the Pacific Northwest focused on healthy, natural foods for dogs and cats using the Blue Ocean Strategy, by creating demand.
There were dozens of workshops including business law essentials, financing, websites and paying your business taxes.
WRA has participated at the Small Business Fair for many years as a member of the planning committee and as an exhibitor.
L&I schedules four public meetings on rules for overtime pay
Labor and Industries has scheduled four public meetings between Oct. 9-18 around the state to hear feedback on possible rules changes related to overtime pay. The rules would determine who would qualify for overtime pay.
WRA’s Chief Operating Officer Tammie Hetrick and contract lobbyist Bruce Beckett have been encouraging L&I to seek more reaction from businesses whose payroll costs could rise if current rules are changed. WRA has urged L&I to slow down its consideration to make sure any rule changes in Washington align with a parallel reconsideration of rules by the federal government. WRA already has heard concerns expressed by membership about proposed rules that would allow more employees to qualify for overtime pay.
The first hearing will be from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 9 at L&I headquarters, Room S117, at 7273 Linderson Way S.W. in Tumwater. Click here for details on later meetings in Everett, Richland and Spokane.
To learn more about this issue, contact Tammie Hetrick, Chief Operating Officer, at 360-200-0049 or email@example.com. Other contacts include http://dol.gov/whd or the Department of Labor’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).
Gas prices, heating and electric bills all would rise under the proposed carbon tax initiative on the November ballot, a new Washington Policy Center analysis shows.
I-1631 would raise gasoline prices starting at 14 cents a gallon and rise to 57 cents more a gallon in 15 years, the policy brief concludes. Also, the average household
Could see energy costs rise $305 in the first year and up to $877 a year in the next decade, according to the analysis.
Washington Retail Association opposes I-1633 because it will increase the cost of doing business for retailers, including costs to receive and deliver their goods. This, in turn, will force retailers to pass their increased costs on to consumers.
I-1631 would impose a $15 per metric ton tax on industrial carbon producers that would rise to $40 a ton in a decade. The policy analysis takes initiative supporters to task for labeling the tax a fee.
“This is a distinction without a difference,” it concludes. “People would pay the same amount to the state no matter what wording is used to describe it.”
A major ironworkers union has joined other unions in opposition to Initiative 1631 that would impose a $15-per-ton fee on certain industrial carbon emitters.
The Iron Workers District Council of the Pacific Northwest opposes the tax because it believes it would discourage industrial hiring and be felt by consumers in higher gasoline
prices. Washington Retail Association also has opposed I-1631 because it would dampen consumer spending power and add unneeded shipping and delivery costs for retailers.
According to a report in The Lens, the online news source of the Business Institute of Washington, other labor groups opposing a carbon tax include the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council. The unions fear the taxes could discourage companies from moving to Washington and thereby reduce job opportunities. At the same time, the article notes, Washington State makes up a relatively small 1.4 percent of total U.S. carbon emissions.
Mayor Durkan releases her budget with no new taxes
By John Engber, Director, Retail Industry Coalition of Seattle
Mayor Jenny Durkan has released her 2019-2020 biennial budget with increased investment in key services without any new taxes.
In a briefing a few days before the budget release, Mayor Durkan emphasized the hard work that the Mayor’s office and her budget staff put into examining current city spending so that money could be reallocated to more critical services. As a result, the Mayor released a budget that increased investments in assistance to the homeless, housing affordability, early learning programs and college scholarships.
The Mayor also negotiated a new contract with Seattle police officers, who had gone four years without a contract. The Mayor’s budget includes retroactive pay increases for police officers. The City will also hire 40 more police officers and 120 additional firefighters.
The Mayor made it clear that the City’s economic boom is leveling off, so city government cannot rely on continued growth in tax revenues. Mayor Durkan’s 2019-2020 budget is an important first step in bringing new budgetary discipline to Seattle City government. Read more
Safety tip of the week
Safety apps mushroom on the internet
In our wired world, it seems there’s a smartphone app available on just about any topic.
Not too long ago, it would have been a struggle to find a small handful of useful, well-designed apps for a safety professional. But today there is an exhaustive list.
Here is a link to the Retail Association Services, Inc. safety site where you can find the most current safety apps list. There might a similar app available if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for.
If you know of a safety app not listed here, please send it along to Rick Means, WRA’s Safety Specialist, by contacting him either at 360-943-9198, Ext. 18 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
WRA employs Rick, in part, to help members draw up safety plans and suggest topics for safety meetings.
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.