The GVCC's Public Affairs CommitteeEach month the Chamber's PAC gathers to discuss issues that impact Southwest Washington business. The PAC is a forum where City, State and Federal topics are on the table. The PAC serves in an advisory capacity to the president and the public affairs staff. The committee is responsible for reviewing and recommending actions or positions to the board of directors. The PAC also plays a role in organizing Public Affairs events like: The Legislative Review Luncheon and Legislative Outlook Breakfast.
Once a year the GVCC's PAC, the CREDC and the ICC work together to create the Shared Legislative Agenda document that is the strong, unified voice of the top issues that affect local business.
The Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce's I-5 Bridge Letter.
Please download a copy for your use.
Contacting Your Legislators
Rep. Monica Stonier
Rep. Paul Harris
Rep. Lynda Wilson
Senator Ann Rivers
Rep. Liz Pike
Senator Annette Cleveland
Rep. Vicki Kraft
Rep. Sharon Wylie
IN THE NEWS...
Wide Variety of Topics Reviewed at Public Affairs Meeting
Speakers, Trade, Transportation, & More
The July 2018 Public Affairs Committee meeting was packed with lots of tremendous information. We led off with Teresa Brum, Economic Development Director with the City of Vancouver, describing the purpose of and the issues which could be addressed by a Downtown Improvement District (“DID”). A DID is a self-funded mechanism for a business district’s management and revitalization. It can address issues such as public safety, cleaning/trash removal, business development, parking and the like. If adopted, the DID becomes and is funded by a special property tax assessment, designed for building owners and not business owners. If put in place, there would be a rate payers advisory board with the Vancouver’s Downtown Association (VDA) acting as the City’s primary partner with control over funds collected and the vendors hired. There are currently about twenty-five (25) DIDs in place in the State, and Vancouver is one of the largest cities in the State without a DID.
The Public Affairs Committee invited Ben Bagherpour, SEH America’s face in this community, to speak to us about the effects of the recent trade tariffs to his business. Ben noted that steel is an element of the equipment SEH routinely purchases. In addition, wire from Japan and South Korea and steel drums from Mexico and Canada are being impacted with tariffs. In the semi-conductor industry, there are numerous items purchased which in turn are impacted by these tariffs. David Konz of Tidewater noted that at as of July 17th, the imposed tariffs had not yet impacted wheat. If tariffs are imposed on US wheat, our biggest competitors, Canada and Australia, stand to gain and there will be a large impact to the barge companies and other modes of transportation moving US grown wheat. Further, because of the tariffs imposed on steel, Tidewater is holding off on investing in new barges. Contractors are impacted by rising costs of tools, nails, screws and steel structures.
Your Chamber is again partnering with CREDC and ICC on shared legislative priorities so as to reshape the “voice of business” for 2019. The key topics at this point include workforce development and education – a continued need for STEM awareness as well as preparing our schools and our students for available post-high school careers, knowing that more than half of our graduates will not pursue a 2 or 4-year college degree. Local schools need to prepare students for skilled living-wage jobs here in SW Washington. This improves lives and builds our economy while strengthening our future. Other key topics include infrastructure and expanding broadband to help economic growth in rural areas.
Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle updated the PAC on several issues: waterfront ribbon cutting ceremony on September 29th; a downtown parking policy is in development; stop lights are to be removed on SR 500 at Falk and Stapleton; the City has a Letter of Intent for development of Block 10 (the vacant lot between Washington and Columbia on the East and West, and 8th and 9th Streets on the South and North; the City has asked the Governor to fund WSDOT to continue the process of moving forward in baby steps with regard to a replacement bridge, and on a related matter, the City and our Mayor have attended many meetings concerning tolling. Oregon has clearly heard the message from Vancouver. (Reminds us of the Revolutionary War – no taxation without representation).
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AWB starts Statewide "Shout Out, Small Business" Listening Tour in Vancouver
The GVCC was the Association for Washington Businesses (AWB) first stop (of 15) on their Small Business Listening Tour. Their goal is to hear face-to-face from communities throughout Washington State on the issues impacting Small Business. The GVCC hosted their first listening session. Small business owners, representation from the City of Vancouver and the Chamber's Board of Directors were in attendance. The top issues: small business compliance regarding employees and independent contractors, permitting, 1-5 corridor, taxes, minimum wage, return to work programs, and carbon emissions.
Sales Tax Exemption is Good for Business
HB2269 proposes the removal of the sales tax exemption for Oregon shoppers when they make purchases within Washington Stores. Shorty's Garden & Home, along with a number of other Southwest Washington businesses will be directly impacted, as it has been reported to the Chamber that upwards of 30% of their retail sales come from Oregon residents.
On Friday, June 26th KOIN 6 interviewed Kelly Love, the GVCC CEO for a story about the issue. Jeff Gianola (KOIN 6 News Anchor) states in the video, 'I can really see why Vancouver business owners are concerned about this.'
Kelly Love's experts within the segment & print article:
“The truth is that Oregonians are as likely to pay Washington sales tax as they are to pump their own gas,” Kelly Love with the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce said. “And Washington’s legislature does not understand that. Businesses in Vancouver and Clark County will be hurt when the legislature strips out the sales tax exemption.”
According to Love, requiring Oregon residents to pay sales tax in Washington will hurt businesses. She also said she thinks the $60 million in projected revenue won’t materialize, because fewer Oregonians will shop in Washington altogether.
Don Russo, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt
700 Washington St., Ste. 701
Vancouver, WA 98660
Nelson Holmberg, VP Innovation
Port of Ridgefield
111 W Division
Ridgefield, WA 98642
SEH America Inc
email@example.comSteve BeckerVancouver Downtown Associationdirector@vdausa.orgLeAnne BremerMiller Nash Graham & Dunn LLPleanne.firstname.lastname@example.orgCarol BuaCity of Vancouvercarol.email@example.comNina CarlsonNW NaturalNina.Carlson@nwnatural.comDebra CarnesPeaceHealth Southwest Medical Centerdcarnes@peacehealth.orgAlistaire ClaryMaul Foster & Alongi, Inc.firstname.lastname@example.orgJohn DombroskiChick-fil-A Cascade Parkjohn@vancouvercfa.comShawn DonaghyC-Transhawn.email@example.comEric FullerEric Fuller & Associates Incefuller@ef-inc.comDoug GreenCongregation Kol Amipublisher@usernews.comRyan HartPort of Vancouver USArhart@portvanusa.comSteve HorensteinHorenstein Law Group PLLCsteve@horensteinlawgroup.comBen HoskinsYou Move Me Local Movesben.firstname.lastname@example.orgDebbie JermannC-Trandebbiej@c-tran.orgTodd JohnsonMackenzietjohnson@mcknze.comElie KassabPrestige Developmentekassab@prestigedev.comAnnette KlinefelterDaybreak Youth Servicesaklinefelter@daybreakyouthservices.orgDavid KonzTidewater Barge Lines, Inc.email@example.comKelly LoveLegacy Salmon Creek Medical Centerkelove@lhs.orgAnne Mc Enerny-OgleCity of Vancouveranne.firstname.lastname@example.orgPaul N. MontaguePaul Montague Tax Preparation, LLCpmontag3@gmail.comEric OlmstedOn Line Support, Inceric@on-line-support.comAndrew OverRegence BlueCross BlueShieldandrew.email@example.comPage Phillips & Jeff ReadingStrategies firstname.lastname@example.org@strategies360.comDellan RedjouSharevolunteers@sharevancouver.orgApril SalsburySalsbury & Co.April@SalsburyandCo.comTim SchauerMacKay Spositotschauer@mackaysposito.comRhona Sen HossGovernors Officersenhoss@gmail.comJames SikoraLanderholm, P.S.James.Sikora@landerholm.comJohn SteachEvergreen School District #email@example.comTy StoberCity of Vancouverty.firstname.lastname@example.orgAlishia TopperCity of Vancouveralishia.email@example.comBill TurlayCity of Vancouverbill.firstname.lastname@example.orgCynthia Weyhrich-SanchezOrchards Tap, LLCcynsan24@msn.comTracy WilsonDeWils Industries, Inc.email@example.comJeff WoodsideNutter Corporationjeffw@nuttercorp.com