AWB ♥’s Eyman, AFA ♥’s everybody, CEOs ♥ cash…
Thursday, August 16, 2012
► At PubliCola — State business group seeks to enshrine two-thirds rule in Constitution — The conservative Association of Washington Business and the Washington Policy Center, for the first time ever, are asking candidates in this year’s elections whether they believe the law requiring two thirds of the state legislature to pass a tax increase should be enshrined in the state constitution. Tim Eyman’s initiative upholding the two-thirds law, I-1185, is on the ballot in November. Meanwhile, the state supreme court is preparing to take arguments on the constitutionality of the two-thirds requirement.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Once again, the corporate executives and government-relations officers who populate the AWB Executive Committee hide behind the state’s Chamber of Commerce to push their right-wing conservative agenda. But contact the businesses and corporations individually — many of which continually decry the state’s insufficient investment in schools, higher education, job training, transportation, etc. — and ask them whether they support Tim Eyman’s undemocratic revenue-strangling initiatives, and all you hear is crickets. So as a public service, here is a list of selected Washington corporations represented on the AWB Executive Committee. Presumably, they are voting on behalf of their companies’ official position in support of allowing one-third minorities of legislators to block legislation to repeal special-interest tax breaks and raise the revenue sufficient to provide quality public services:
AT&T, Boeing, BP, Cowles Company, KeyBank, Koch Public Sector Companies (the infamous Koch brothers’ representative on the AWB Executive Committee is an “out-of-state” District Chair), Microsoft, Schnitzer Steel, Thurston First Bank…
Many more local companies are represented on the AWB Board of Directors.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Aerospace group that endorsed McKenna, now endorses Inslee, too — After meeting with Democrat Jay Inslee on Wednesday, “the decision was made to endorse both candidates,” said Linda Lanham of the Aerospace Futures Alliance. “It was just in the best interest of the industry to endorse both.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — Oops.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Regional plans massive nurse staff ‘restructuring’ — In a surprise move, Yakima Regional Medical and Cardiac Center has informed nursing employees of a major “restructuring,” including the possibility that many will be reduced to part-time status and that the positions of licensed practical nurses will be eliminated. The Washington State Nurses Association, the union representing the hospital’s registered nurses, says it will be meeting with Regional administration this afternoon.
► In Labor Notes — Paper Workers picket Obama over secretive trade negotiations — The Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers members picketed outside an Obama fundraiser last month in Portland to call attention to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which they called a job-killing new trade deal. “When the president ran for office, he said to challenge him during the term of his office. That’s what we were doing,” said AWPPW Vice President Greg Pallesen. “It’s clear these trade policies have failed the American people.”
► In today’s Seattle Times — State jobs picture leaves plenty of room for improvement — The unemployment rate in Washington ticked up to 8.5% in July from 8.3% in June. The total number of jobs in Washington state grew by 5,000 from June to July, with education and manufacturing seeing significant jobs gains.
► In today’s News Tribune — Banner at Ross store in Tacoma about union spat at other outlet — The Carpenters union says the protest is an attempt to tell the public that a non-union subcontractor is hanging drywall in a Ross store in Puyallup, not at the site of the Tacoma protest.
► At AFL-CIO Now — DREAMers can now apply for U.S. residency — Starting today, more than a million young aspiring citizens who were brought to this country as children (known as “DREAMers”) can apply for U.S. residency and a work permit under the terms of a new policy announced by the Obama Administration last month. The application forms are posted online.
► In today’s NY Times — Illegal immigrants line up by the thousands for deportation deferrals — Tens of thousands of young illegal immigrants waited excitedly in lines as long as a mile and thronged to information sessions across the country on Wednesday, the first day that a federal immigration agency began accepting applications for deportation deferrals.
► From AP — Study: Boeing, others paid more to CEOs than in taxes — Twenty-six big U.S. companies paid their CEOs more last year than they paid the federal government in tax, according to a study released Thursday. The Institute for Policy Studies said the companies, including AT&T, Boeing and Citigroup, paid their CEOs an average of $20.4 million last year while paying little or no federal tax on ample profits, according to regulatory filings.
► From ABC News — Taxpayers subsidize CEO pay, report finds — The Institute for Policy Studies has analyzed the link between tax loopholes and excessive executive compensation and concluded that the loopholes created an “uneven playing field” between large companies and small businesses and led to lost tax revenue.
► In today’s NY Times — Ratification of IAM deal with Caterpillar may face difficulties — Caterpillar and the International Association of Machinists said on Wednesday that they had reached a tentative six-year settlement that could end a 15-week strike at the company’s hydraulics parts plant in Joliet, Ill. But the settlement may face difficulties in the ratification vote on Friday. Top officials in the striking local — upset that the deal contained nearly all the far-reaching concessions Caterpillar had sought — said they would urge members to reject the deal, which was negotiated not by the local but at the district level.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — For-profit colleges are wasting public funds (editorial) — Congress needs to affix strings to federal funds, so that students and taxpayers get more value. One sensible idea is to ban the use of money from federal aid for recruitment, marketing and advertising. Another smart reform would be to establish graduation benchmarks for institutions to meet before they are eligible for federal dollars.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Paramedics, green energy workers and more join AFL-CIO unions– Emergency medical service professionals, Ikea workers and green energy geothermal technicians are among the latest workers to choose AFL-CIO unions.
► At TPM — Paul Ryan slams his own Medicare cuts in Ohio — Paul Ryan slammed President Obama for adopting Medicare cuts that, until last week, were openly supported by Ryan himself. Like Romney, Ryan has pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which included $716 billion in savings taken from health care providers, not seniors’ benefits. But unlike Romney, Ryan wrote and passed two Republican budgets that kept the cuts in place.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The difference is Obama used that $716 in savings from providers to strengthen Medicare and extend its solvency. Ryan’s budget used them to pay for more tax cuts targeted to the top 1%. Which might explain this…
► From TPM — CNN poll: Obama expands lead to 7 points, independent voters cool on Romney — Obama registers 50% percent support for the first time in the network’s polling since April. Overall, Obama leads Romney by 7 points, 52-45, a 4-point bump from his 49-46 lead in July.
► In today’s Washington Post — Romney (still) isn’t releasing his taxes — Ann Romney’s insistence that she and her husband have done everything “legally” required of them in regards paying their taxes is a refrain that seems to miss the point that the debate over their tax returns isn’t playing out in a court of law, it’s playing out in a political campaign.
► In today’s Daily World — Romney’s approach would hollow out the middle class (by Delaware Gov. Jack Markell) — Romney’s focus as a private equity executive was on the bottom line. His constituents were his investors — not teachers, small business owners, senior citizens or middle-class families. Romney believes in a top-down philosophy that lowers taxes for those faring best in our society and minimizes regulations. Though we all want low taxes and only appropriate regulations, his is not a philosophy that will help America win the global jobs competition and build an economy that grows from the middle class out. Rather, it’s a philosophy that will benefit a few, while hollowing out America’s middle class and eroding the American dream.
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