washington business climate

tsparks / Flickr

The travel industry usually experiences a bump in leisure travel from June through August. What better time to see the world – or grandma – than when little Susy is out of school? But this year the domino effect of rising fuel prices leading to rising airline ticket prices means families are staying put. Luckily for Seattle’s hotel industry, summer business travelers are taking their place.

justmaketheshift.com

Valentine's Day is just around the corner. So we thought it was a good time to update a story from nearly a year ago. Last March, Idaho Governor Butch Otter penned a "love letter" to Washington and Oregon businesses. He was trying to romance companies into moving to his state.

Washington's Employment Security Department is sending out 2011's tax-rate notices this week to more than 170,000 businesses.

The agency says next year's average rate will increase by nearly a full percentage point.  Most employers' rates are going up for the second year in a row.  It's the highest average rate in more than two decades. 

construction workers on site at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Keith Seinfeld / KPLU

Washington is one of only four states in the nation that offers workers compensation insurance only through a government agency.   That could change this November.  Initiative 1082 would allow private insurers to enter the market.   Backers of the measure say the competition would force rates down on a tax that's been going up steadily in recent years.   Opponents say it's a power grab by the insurance industry that could leave injured workers in a lurch.   KPLU business and labor reporter Bellamy Pailthorp has the story.