Weekly Update: State budget proposal includes two priority issues for WRA

Weekly Update: State budget proposal includes two priority issues for WRA

State budget proposal includes two priority issues for WRA
The Senate this week unveiled its proposed budget. Interestingly, it was released in a bi-partisan fashion, with Democrats Jim Hargrove and Sharon Nelson joining Republican Chair Andy Hill and Linda Parlette. This budget contains no tax increases or extensions of temporary taxes (like Gov. Inslee proposed last week). Significantly, the budget also contains two priority WRA issues:

  • SB 5342 which exempts charcoal, wood or other such fuels used in the cooking process to impart flavor from sales and use taxes.
  • SB 5613 which excludes cover charges for the opportunity to dance from retail sales tax and retailing classification of the B&O tax.

Additionally, the budget refers to legislation related to auditing of collection of spirit taxes. The original bill would have adversely impacted restaurants, bars and taverns, and  the WRA worked with the Department of Revenue and legislative staff to rewrite the bill in its entirety. That version will be the operative bill once it is taken up again in committee.

Spokane chapter celebrates 2013 award winners
The Spokane chapter’s 2013 Restaurant of the Year, Supplier of the Year and Employee of the Year annual awards were announced at the Awards Gala & Silent Auction. The Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year is Masselow’s at Northern Quest Resort & Casino; The Casual Dining Restaurant of the Year is The Onion; The Quick Service Restaurant of the Year is Jimmy John’s. Danette Malcolm of Pizza Rita was recognized as the Front of the House Employee Award winner and Chef Brian Hartnett of Twigs Bistro & Martini Bar/ Wandermere was recognized as the Back of the House Employee award winner.The 2013 Supplier Company of the Year award went to Franz Bakery and the Supplier Representative of the Year was awarded to John Yamada of Ecolab. The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Gary Sutter, Food & Beverage Director at Northern Quest Resort & Casino – for nearly 40 years serving the hospitality industry. Chef Barry Matthews of Steam Plant Grill was honored as ProStart High School Culinary & Restaurant Management Mentor of the Year. For more information, go to http://wra.cc/wraspokane.

Be sure to catch the upcoming healthcare reform conference call on Friday, April 5
This week, healthcare expert Donna Steward talks about avoiding “discrimination” problems when organizing health plan offerings and employee contributions. Although the rules have not been finalized,employers can be develop strategies now for avoiding the penalties associated with the new discrimination requirements of the affordable care act. during the call member will be able to get their questions answered on healthcare reform and how it affects their business The next conference call is this Friday,April 5 at 10am PST. The call-in number is 1-800-582-3014, participant access code is 699019287. For more information, or to listed to previous conference calls, go to http://warestaurant.org/healthcare.

President delays health care exchanges for small businesses
The Obama administration is proposing a one-year delay in a feature of the new health care law intended to give workers at small companies health plan choices similar to what employees of large businesses enjoy. Starting Jan. 1 small companies with up to 100 workers will be able to buy coverage through new health insurance marketplaces called exchanges. These exchanges are the small business version of new markets also opening up for individuals. Read on.