Weekly Update: Flavor Tax Exemption Ends, But New Taxes Stopped

Weekly Update: Flavor Tax Exemption Ends, But New Taxes Stopped

Flavor Tax Exemption Ends, But New Taxes Stopped

This year the Legislature was under extreme pressure to find more resources. Due to the McCleary decision squeezing the budget from every angle, many tax exemptions have sunset, and new taxes were instituted. However, the Hospitality Government Affairs team protected our industry from a 20 percent B&O tax increase, a new capital gains tax and a sweetened beverage syrup tax, which would have cost members thousands of dollars. However, among the exemptions to sunset is the sales and use tax exemption for products that impart flavor to food. The exemption was for products including: wood chips, charcoal, briquettes, grapevines and grilling planks. The exemption was set to expire on July 1, 2017. Although bills that would have preserved the exemption did not pass, we are optimistic that this legislation will be considered again next year. For now, suppliers of these products need to pay the tax. For more information, contact Samantha Louderback.


Vancouver City Council Considers Relaxing Short-Term Rental Policy

On Monday, July 10, the Vancouver City Council re-examined restrictions placed on accessory dwelling units (ADU) like garage apartments, that homeowners rent to long-term tenants. The council is not yet in total agreement about the proposed changes and will have a hearing next Monday, July 17, to discuss potential concerns and changes. The existing policy and proposed changes do not qualify what constitutes a short-term rental, so all ADU policies will apply to any rental property type. The council is considering loosening some of the restrictions including eliminating the requirement that an ADU must be owner-occupied, which would allow units to be rented out in whole all year. This could allow homeowners with ADU to rent units out through short-term rental sites with fewer restrictions. The council is scheduled to have a hearing on the proposed changes Monday, August 7. For more information, contact Morgan Huether.

Walla Walla City Council Reviews Short-Term Rental Policy

The Walla Walla City Council had a work session to consider changes to its short-term rental policy at its meeting on Monday, July 10. The council came to a few firm conclusions regarding policy changes, but was split on whether and how to regulate short term rentals that are not owner-occupied. A draft ordinance will be reviewed regarding owner-occupied short-term rentals in anticipation of a second ordinance drafted to regulate rentals operated by off-site owners. The council intends to continue to address owner-occupied short-term rentals and non-owner-occupied rentals separately. For more information, contact Morgan Huether.


Reminder: Tacoma Bag Ban is Now in Effect

Tacoma’s city plastic bag ban went into effect July 12, and restaurateurs can rest easily knowing they are exempt from the ban. Your Government Affairs team successfully lobbied to exclude bags provided for takeout food and liquids to safeguard public safety regarding ready-to-eat foods. Produce bags used for meat and bulk items, dry-cleaning bags and pet-waste bags are also exempted. The ordinance does affect all retailers in Tacoma city limits, including grocery stores, department stores and pharmacies. For more information, contact Morgan Huether.


Employee Assistance Programs Provide Value to Your Organization

Generally speaking, Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) provide value in three ways. EAPs leverage the value of the organization’s investment in its workforce by: Encouraging employee engagement. Improving abilities of employees and dependents to successfully respond to life’s challenges. Offering employees short-term problem-resolution services or referring employees and dependents to mental health treatment services when indicated. Developing employee and manager competencies in managing workplace stress and improving work team performance. Read more…



Food Law Seminar, July 27-28

An exceptional group of speakers will put you in the driver’s seat for navigating the legal and regulatory framework to which all food and beverage businesses operating in the United States must adhere. From federal, state and local permitting to building brands and protecting products in compliance with FDA standards, you’ll get in-depth, timely information. This program, July 27-28 at Seattle’s Washington State Convention Center, qualifies for 10.50 Washington CLE credits. Upon request, we will apply for, or help you apply for, CLE credits in other states and other types of credits. Register here or 206.567.4490. Can’t physically attend? The seminar’s webcast option is the next best thing to being there. And, it qualifies for live credits in most states.


Mark Your Calendars: Golf FORE! Education Tournament, September 19

ProStart’s Golf FORE! Education is right around the corner! Register quickly to secure your spot at Washington National on September 19, 2017. Register now.


Attention Hoteliers:  Early Bird Rates Still Available for this Year’s Washington Lodging Convention!

The Washington Lodging Convention has rounded out its program with an A-list of speakers and trainers who will help hoteliers navigate the disruptive forces facing the industry. From Greg Duff’s training on distribution disrupters to Glenn Haussman’s keynote on reinventing service in the new hospitality climate, it’s a program you can’t afford to miss. Learn more about the lineup and register here. Reserve your place by July 31 to save with the early bird rate!



Two Minute Video: News You Need to Know

Don’t miss this great video recap of the news you need to know from the past week, including the new statewide paid family leave law, Walla Walla and short-term rentals and the Spokane Chapter of the Washington Hospitality Association’s endorsement of a restaurateur for the Spokane City Council.


Food Services of America and the Grocerant Guru on This Week’s DineNW Radio Show – Listen Online!

Don’t miss this week’s DineNW radio show, now online. Andy Cook kicks off the show with an interview with the business solutions team at Food Services of America. Paul Schlienz then joins Andy to chat with Steven Johnson, the Grocerant Guru with Food Service Solutions.


Eye on Hospitality: Hotels Woo Millennial Travelers

If you’re in the hospitality business, you want the Millennial dollar. Restaurants are moving heaven and earth to appeal to this generation born between approximately 1981 to 2002, and so are hotels. “If we attract young people, old people will show up,” said Scott Greenberg, president and chief executive of Smashotels, a Chicago area hospitality management. “But if you build a hotel for old people, young people never show up.” So, what are Millennials looking for in hotels? Read more…



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