Emergency Medical Services Levy is on the November ballot – what will it cost?

In November, Whatcom County voters will decide if property taxes in the county should be increased to renew (and increase) the County’s Emergency Medical Services Levy.  At first glance, this might look like an easy decision as citizens need EMS services and these types of ballot measures usually pass without much opposition as the first…

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UPDATE: State’s heat exposure rules

You will recall that we alerted Whatcom Business Alliance members earlier this summer to the state’s new, temporary heat rules that some Whatcom County businesses have been required to have in place over the summer. We now want to share what the WA State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is proposing as year-round rules for employees that…

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ACTION ALERT: Single-use plastics ban needs to align with state regulations

On July 31, City of Bellingham Ordinance 2021-05-023 will go into effect that will ban the use of some single-use plastics by retail establishments in Bellingham with the goal of “encouraging compostable or reusable alternatives.” This new regulation will impact restaurants (no matter their size), coffee shops, hotels, etc. in Bellingham. The ordinance was passed…

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State lawmakers hit the gas on multi-year spending spree

By Kris Johnson Looking back at the 2022 state legislative session, it’s hard not to be disappointed at the missed opportunities. Yes, lawmakers accomplished some things that are good for the economy, like shoring up the unemployment insurance trust fund, lowering the B&O tax threshold for the smallest of small businesses and passing a transportation…

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Washington’s long-term care program needs more than a short-term delay

By Kris Johnson When the Legislature convened the 2022 session last month, lawmakers made long-term care their first order of business. It’s probably not a topic you thought about much until recently, but news that every employee in the state (except for some who were able to opt-out — more about that in a moment) would begin paying a new tax on Jan. 1 caught people’s attention. Amid an outcry from employees…

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SBA increases COVID-19 EIDL maximum to $2M

(Shared with permission from Larson Gross) The Small Business Administration (SBA) has increased the limit for COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) from $500,000 to $2 million. In a recent announcement, the SBA has implemented some major changes to the existing EIDL to make it easier for the small business communities still reeling from the…

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Bellingham voters should reject these initiatives in November

In this upcoming election, Bellingham voters will be asked to consider four initiatives submitted by a coalition of Bellingham community activist groups — with no regard to the long-lasting negative effect on local businesses. WBA’s Board of Directors is recommending a no-vote for all four initiatives because of the enormous adverse impact for City of…

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Governor Jay Inslee announces new regional reopening plan

Governor Jay Inslee recently announced “Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery,” a new regionally focused reopening plan that will begin on January 11th. The Inslee Administration believes the new plan will allow the state to ease some business restrictions without overwhelming hospital systems. “No one was untouched by the effects of the pandemic in 2020;…

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