The Stand

Cuts ain’t workin’, Intalco contract, lost Job Creators…

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STATE GOVERNMENT

 

► In Sunday’s Olympian — State tax ideas pop up — Plenty of advocates are lining up with tax and revenue ideas – some new, some worn. Two oldies from the electoral recycle bin are a temporary one-penny increase in the state’s 6.5-cent sales tax — which could raise $1 billion a year — and an expansion of tribal style electronic slot machines to taverns and bars. The latter might raise more than $100 million. Then there is the labor movement’s favorite that plays on anger at Wall Street: ending a bank tax break worth $172.6 million on home-loan interest earnings. “I’ve been in serous coalition meetings where people want to put a revenue measure on the ballot in March,” said Greg Devereux, executive director for the Washington Federation of State Employees. “From what I’ve heard so far and from polling, I think people are serious about the sales tax” as a temporary remedy.

► In today’s News Tribune — The real costs of a no-new-revenue budget (editorial) — Even anti-tax absolutists might cringe a little at the human implications of a no-new-revenue budget. In the real world, kids get beaten up, thrown out, sexually violated and otherwise brutalized by the adults who ought to be caring for them. When their grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc., are also incompetent or irresponsible, they need homes and help.

► In today’s Olympian — Lawmakers need wide range of options to solve budget crisis (editorial) — The governor has agreed to turn her attention now to flushing out other options to help balance the budget, including new taxes, reducing tax breaks that don’t create jobs or boost the economy, continued government reforms to improve delivery of services and other approaches. The Legislature should have a full range of options to consider – not just the governor’s – when they convene in a special session Nov. 28.

► In the (Longview) Daily News — State program’s demise means loss of funding for disabled —  Monday marks the end of Disability Lifeline for the Unemployed, which provides $197 in cash each month to people who have been unable to work at least 90 days due to a physical and/or mental disability. Lower Columbia Community Action Program officials are bracing for a flood of desperate, angry people who have lost the state assistance.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — IRS amnesty for misclassifying employees tricky for employers — Last month, the IRS announced it would give businesses that had been misclassifying workers a chance to come clean and avoid back taxes. But the IRS threw cold water on its offer by saying it might share information about workers’ classification with other federal and state agencies that could impose their own penalties and rules. Says attorney Michael Reilly of Lane Powell LC: “The IRS relief offer is really whipped cream on arsenic.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: These businesses are engaged in illegal activity. Misclassifying workers to avoid workers’ comp or unemployment taxes or other labor costs is AGAINST THE LAW. It punishes those workers, but also the businesses that obey the law but must compete with the law-breakers. Apparently, the attorneys for these corrupt employers are advising them that they are better off continuing to break the law if they don’t get local amnesty in addition to federal amnesty. Lovely.

 


LOCAL

 

► In the Bellingham Herald — Intalco workers approve contract, avert strike at Ferndale smelter — Union workers (IAM) at Alcoa Intalco Works have voted to ratify a new four-year labor contract, ending two weeks of uncertainty at the aluminum smelter. Union business representative Glenn Farmer said the vote was “very close,” but declined to give an exact figure. He added that the fallout from the standoff with management would linger: “I don’t think Alcoa Intalco will ever be the same.”

► In the (Longview) Daily News — ILWU appeals fine over September protests — Attorneys for the union formally appeal a $250,000 federal civil fine, arguing that the ILWU should not be held in contempt for two incidents that took placed at the EGT grain terminal at the Port of Longview Sept. 7 and 8.

► In today’s Kitsap Sun — South Kitsap firefighter’ proposed contract includes wage freeze

► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington apple growers scrambling to find workers — At a recent emergency meeting in Wenatchee called by the Governor’s Office, a representative from the Department of Corrections proposed an unexpected solution: prison labor. “Do they come with guards?” one grower asked.

 


ELECTION

 

► In the Middletown (Ohio) Journal — Ohio’s Issue 2 to resound nationally, expert says — With just 10 days left before Ohio voters decide the outcome of a referendum on SB 5, the collective bargaining reform law, supporters of the law are working to convince voters that it is in their best interest while union leaders and opponents of SB 5 are campaigning to keep momentum and voters on their side.

► In today’s LA Times — Election laws tightening in GOP-run states — Republicans in states like Florida are making it more challenging to vote or to register others. Democrats say it’s an effort to disenfranchise students, the elderly, the poor, the disabled and minorities — and to unseat President Obama.

► In today’s NY Times — Outside groups eclipsing GOP as hub of campaigns — At a time when the Republican National Committee remains weighed down by debt, outside conservative groups, freed from contribution limits by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision last year, are playing an ever larger role and operating in an increasingly coordinated fashion. In the coming months, the conservative groups will consult among themselves as they open pre-election advertising barrages against President Obama and Congressional Democrats.

Like the party committees they are rapidly coming to eclipse, the independent groups are financed by some of the Republican Party’s wealthiest donors and operated by some of its most respected operatives and strategists. But thanks to the Citizens United decision, the independent groups can raise money in unlimited amounts and with negligible overhead. Much of the money will be spent through not-for-profit organizations that are not required to disclose their donors.

 


UNIONS

 

► From the News Journal — AFL-CIO’s Liz Shuler wants to refocus public opinion — Speaking at a Delaware State AFL-CIO convention, the AFL-CIO’s second-ranking officer says labor unions need to do a better job telling their story to a skeptical public who blames unions for some of the nation’s economic ills.

► At AFL-CIO Now — American Rights at Work offers Unions 101 — Understanding unions, collective bargaining  and labor laws can get confusing enough without all of the misinformation that’s regularly spread around. That’s why American Rights at Work has put together Unions 101, a handy guide to what unions do and why workers having a voice matters in today’s economy.

 


OCCUPY AMERICA

 

► In today’s NY Times — Occupy protesters regroup after mass arrests — Protesters in Denver and Nashville regrouped on Sunday, a day after dozens of arrests at demonstrations inspired by Occupy Wall Street in both cities.

► In The Atlantic — Unions say they won’t strike with Occupy Oakland — Occupy Oakland announced a general strike that would “shut the city down” on Nov. 2. While unions have expressed support for the movement, area labor representatives said they wouldn’t be striking.

► News coverage of local Occupy protests: Occupy Bellingham, Occupy Olympia, Occupy Portland, and Occupy Vancouver

Washington’s Occupy protests on Facebook: Occupy BellinghamOccupy EverettOccupy OlympiaOccupy Seattle (website) — Occupy SpokaneOccupy TacomaOccupy Tri-CitiesOccupy WenatcheeOccupy Yakima

 


NATIONAL

 

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — SuperCommittee!™ gets plenty of advice from Washington state — With four weeks to go before Congress’ supercommittee must deliver a deficit-reduction plan, Democratic Rep. Adam Smith of Tacoma offered some blunt advice to its members on Wednesday: Raise taxes.

► From AP — NLRB headed for gridlock again as GOP blocks recess appointments — Frustrated with its union-friendly decisions, Republicans hope to cut off the agency’s power by denying President Obama the chance to name members while the Senate is in recess. The five-member board is now down to three members, and another will leave at the end of the year. The remaining two members could not legally issue decisions or make new rules.

► In today’s NY Times — A tax bracket divided over plan to pay more — Republicans in Congress deride the proposal for a so-called millionaires’ tax as class warfare. But some of those millionaires, including GOP supporter Terry Barr of Denver say, “Wealthy people in the U.S. should be paying more tax, and I’m one of them.”

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► Today in The Onion — Remains of ancient race of Job Creators found in Rust Belt — A team of leading archaeologists announced Monday they had uncovered the remains of an ancient job-creating race that, at the peak of its civilization, may have provided occupations for hundreds of thousands of humans in the American Northeast and Midwest. These long- forgotten people once flourished between western New York state and Illinois, erecting highly distinctive steel and brick structures wherever they went, including many buildings thought to have held hundreds of paid workers at a time.

“It’s truly fascinating — after spending a certain number of hours performing assigned tasks, the so-called ’employees’ at such facilities would receive monetary compensation that allowed them to support themselves and their families,” said archaeologist Alan H. Mueller, citing old ledgers and time-keeping devices unearthed at excavation sites in the region.

 


 

The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m. Make this electronic “clip service” your first stop each morning! These links are functional on the date of posting, but sometimes expire.

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