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Newsletter for August 25, 2009

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Ten Washington shipyards to receive $7 million in stimulus funds

Ten Washington shipyards, including four shipyards in Seattle, will receive more than $7 million in federal economic stimulus money from the U.S. Maritime Administration. The Office of Economic Development worked extensively with local shipyards to help them successfully apply for these funds, which will be used for shipyard infrastructure improvements, including equipment and work area upgrades, as well as employee training. Washington state's $7 million grant is the largest award won by any state.

Remember to nominate your favorite small business!

The Office of Economic Development is still accepting nominations for the 2009 Mayor's Small Business Awards, which honor the diversity and excellence of small businesses in Seattle. Nominations may be submitted on behalf of your own business, your exceptional small business clients, associates, suppliers, or neighbors. The deadline to submit nomination forms is Wednesday, September 2, 2009. Contact Stephanie Beechem at or (206) 684-0133 with questions or for more information. Nomination forms are available in English and Spanish.

B&O tax threshold increase saves money for 3,000 businesses

Small businesses are a vital part of Seattle's economy. This month, many received tax relief from new business and occupation (B&O) tax legislation. Mayor Greg Nickels signed City Council legislation raising the threshold for the amount of gross income a business earns before paying B&O taxes in Seattle to $100,000, from the current $80,000. The current legislation will affect about 3,000 small businesses, saving them about $500,000 in 2010.

Seattle gears up for driving electric

Thanks to a $99.8 million grant announced this month by President Obama and the U.S. Department of Energy, 2,550 charging systems for electric vehicles will be installed in the Seattle area and four other metropolitan areas around the country. Complementing this grant, Mayor Nickels and Nissan North America signed an agreement in April to make Seattle one of the first markets to introduce the Nissan LEAF - a zero-emission, all-electric car - in 2010. These developments position Seattle at the forefront of clean and accessible electric transportation.

City makes progress toward goal to reduce fuel use by 3 percent in 2009

At the beginning of 2009, the City of Seattle set a goal of reducing fuel consumption in its fleets by 3 percent from 2008 levels. In just the first half of 2009, the city has already reduced its overall fuel consumption by 2.7 percent, or 32,777 gallons. This fuel reduction effort is one aspect of the city's Green Fleet Action Plan, which sets targets for adding green vehicles to the city's fleet as well as reducing the amount of petroleum fuel used by city vehicles. Like the city's Climate Protection Initiative, the plan reduces greenhouse gas emissions, encourages compact communities, and promotes clean energy and conservation.

Fall filing deadline for special refunds quickly approaching

Has the recession taken a bite out of your once-profitable business? Small businesses wishing to take advantage of the expanded business loss carryback option included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have until October 15 to choose the option. This provision offers small businesses that lost money in 2008 an excellent way to quickly get some much needed cash if they were profitable in previous years. This option is only available for a limited time, so small businesses should consider it carefully and act before it's too late.

Employers, businesses should plan ahead for fall flu season

This fall, King County Public Health is encouraging employers and businesses to plan ahead for what may be a high-impact flu season. The possibility of a resurgence in pandemic flu, such as swine flu (H1N1), coupled with the onset of the typical seasonal flu season, makes a contingency plan an essential tool for businesses wanting to prevent damage to their employees' health and protect fall and winter revenue. King County Public Health has published an 8-page "Get Ready for Flu" information pamphlet with great tips on preparing for the fall flu season, as well as basic information on pandemic flu, preventing flu infection, and recovering from illness.

Twitter fuels revenue for small businesses short on marketing funds

For many small businesses and mom-and-pop shops with no ad budget, the micro-messaging service Twitter has become an important and cost-effective means of marketing. Twitter is far easier to set up and to update than a conventional web page. Furthermore, because many small business owners work at the cash register and not in a cubicle, Twitter's intimacy - and its stealthy ability to grow their bottom line - suits them well.

Seattle ranks #2 on Outside Magazine's 2009 list of best cities

When Outside Magazine examined the 100 largest U.S. cities this year - their cost of living, nightlife, commute time, green spaces, number of college graduates, home prices, and weather - they concluded that Seattle is one of the best places in the country to live, work, and play. They write, "No place in the U.S. marries urban cool with a healthy lifestyle like the Emerald City. It's got world-renowned restaurants, outstanding theaters, and a bevy of museums, all tempered by the signature Northwest flavor of weekend farmers' markets, artist sanctuaries, and aggressively wireless coffee-house culture."

  • Read the full Outside Magazine article


    Seattle Chamber of Commerce hosts 127th Annual Meeting on Sept 25

    More than 1,000 of the region's business and civic leaders will gather on Friday, September 25 for the 127th Annual Meeting of the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce. The keynote speech will be given by Jeff Raikes, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with additional speeches by Tayloe Washburn, 2008-2009 Seattle Chamber Chair, and Kirk Nelson, 2009-2010 Chamber Chair and president of Qwest in Washington. The event is for members only.

    IRS hosts free webinar for small businesses on business resiliency, emergency preparedness

    Washington businesses are the backbone of our economy, yet they remain vulnerable to disasters. Earthquakes, wildfires, hurricanes, and other unexpected events can have a devastating effect on a business. The upcoming IRS webinar "A Roadmap to Business Resiliency," to be held on September 23, will provide a roadmap for businesses on where to invest time and effort with the goal of being able to "bounce back" from a variety of unexpected events.

    Seattle Chamber's annual Leadership Conference aims to craft clean energy economy, from Oct. 21-23

    The Seattle Chamber of Commerce Leadership Conference, held every October, draws 200-250 business, government and community leaders from throughout the Puget Sound region. Each year the conference addresses an issue of importance to the Puget Sound region and facilitates new thinking about regional challenges. This year's conference will focus on the clean energy sector, including current initiatives and programs, opportunities for expansion, and how other industries can support and benefit from growth in the clean energy industry.