Friday Roundup: Manufacturing and tech jobs, carbon taxes and school levies

There are always a few items we’ve read during the week that deserve more attention but don’t make it into our regular posts. So we bundle them for the Friday roundup.

Here’s this week’s bundle:

Associated Press: Inslee signs school levy legislation

Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday signed into law a measure that delays a planned cut in local school levy rates for one year, something school districts have said they need to plan budgets as lawmakers continue to work toward fully funding education in the state.

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia: March 2017 Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey

Results from the March Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey suggest that regional manufacturing activity continued to expand. The diffusion index for general activity fell from its high reading in February, but the survey’s other broad indicators for new orders, shipments, and employment all improved or were steady this month. Price pressures also picked up, according to reporting firms. The survey’s future indicators continued to improve and reflect a broadening base of optimism about future growth in manufacturing.

The Lens: New Carbon Tax Proposal Under Fire By Washington Manufacturers

House Democrats have proposed a new carbon tax they say addresses criticisms leveled against similar proposals that have failed to garner legislative or voter support. However, state industry members testifying at the  March 14 public hearing of the House Environment Committee warned that tax would leave employers vulnerable to out of state competition and increase utility costs.

Stateline: Big Chains Don’t Want To Be Considered Employers of Franchise Workers

For two years now, Jeff Hanscom has been traveling to state capitols and pitching lawmakers on a simple, if technical, idea: pass a law that says the state won’t consider the people who work at franchises — think McDonald’s cashiers or trainers at Gold’s Gym — to be employed by the franchiser. 

Hanscom is a lobbyist for the International Franchise Association, a business group fighting an Obama-era definition of “employers” that could have big consequences for companies that rely on franchising, contract workers or temporary staff. 

His efforts are paying off. Since 2015, 10 states have passed laws that guarantee, with some exceptions, that parent companies won’t be held responsible for franchise owners or workers under state wage and hour and antidiscrimination laws. Similar bills are currently pending in 11 other states.

New Geography: The Cities Creating the Most Tech Jobs

In 2015 7,500 more Americans left the Valley than arrived, the first time there’s been a net loss since 2011, according to the Silicon Valley Competitiveness and Innovation Project.

If these trends represent the future, there could be an increasing exodus of jobs and talent from the Valley. In many of the upstart regions, there likely will be opportunities for economic migrants in the robustly growing (if less “sexy”) tech services sector, which includes engineering, systems design and custom programming.

The big question is who will be the biggest beneficiaries, already established tech hubs like Seattle or Denver, or a long list of rising wannabes?