► In today’s Seattle Times — Higher-ed tuition freeze offered for more state funding — Washington’s public-university presidents say they have a deal for the Legislature: If lawmakers will restore $225 million in state funding to higher education, the schools won’t raise tuition for the next two years.
► In the Kitsap Sun — Ferry finances facing extra hurdles this session — The DOT directed WSF to propose $5 million in cuts for the 2013-15 biennium that begins July 1. Ferries officials came back with $4.8 million in service reductions, including trips between Bremerton and Seattle. To prevent the cuts, legislators must find $4.8 million. Plus, the Coast Guard recently required WSF to beef up its boat crews. That will cost another $14.4 million.
► At Slog — Great news for state lawmakers: Voters have low expectations — And that Republican coup state Sen. Rodney Tom engineered? Just 41% said it would make the Senate “more likely” to achieve progress, while 45% said “less likely.”
ALSO at the Stand — Nobody’s ‘crying out’ for this self-serving Senate Tom-foolery (by D. Nolan Groves)
► At SenateErstwhileDemocrats.com — Sen. Tom to hold town hall meeting — Have questions, or would like to discuss the issues with Sen. Tom? He and the 48th District’s legislative team will host a town hall meeting TONIGHT (Jan. 8) from 6 to 8 p.m. at Bellevue City Hall, 450 110th Ave. NE.
► In today’s NY Times — Huge amounts spent on immigration, study finds — The Obama administration spent nearly $18 billion on immigration enforcement last year, significantly more than its spending on all the other major federal law enforcement agencies combined, according to a new report. Spending on immigration enforcement was 15 times greater last year than in 1986, the last time Congress considered an overhaul of the immigration laws that included measures granting legal status to large numbers of illegal immigrants.
► At Huffington Post — Choose citizenship (by Gordon Whitman) — The latest sign of how fast U.S. immigration politics are changing came last week from House Republican leadership. On Thursday, in her speech nominating John Boehner as Speaker, Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, Chair of the House Republican Conference surprised some people when she said that immigration reform would be one of the three top priorities of the House of Representatives.
► In today’s NY Times — Dreaming and driving (editorial) — Young undocumented immigrants who are allowed to work legally should be allowed to drive legally, too.
► In today’s Washington Post — A glimpse of Obama’s second-term trade agenda? — Doha is dead. Long live the Transpacific Partnership. So says Mike Froman, the Obama administration adviser often mentioned as a possible new U.S. Trade Representative.
► From McClatchy — If debt ceiling deal fails, U.S. could delay tax refunds — Absent an early deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling, the federal government could run out of ways to pay creditors and Social Security recipients by mid-February, earlier than expected, according to a new analysis.
► At Politico — Poll: 77% say D.C. hurting nation — More than three-quarters of Americans believe the way politics works in Washington, D.C., is actively harming the country, according to a new Gallup poll.
► Plus, Jon Stewart speaks for the rest of America as he takes House Republicans to the woodshed for their delayed vote on scaled-back Sandy aid: “This is just a simple, down the middle, black and white, cut and dry, warm cup of ‘what would Jesus, or anything other human being that isn’t an asshole, do?’ And you blew it,” Stewart said.
► From AP — Health care cost growth stays lean — Last year was the third straight year of historically low increases in the United States. The 3.9% increase meant that health care costs grew in line with the overall economy in 2011 instead of surging ahead as they normally have during a recovery.
► At Huffington Post — Wendy’s franchisee cuts employee hours to sidestep Obamacare — The owner of several Wendy’s restaurants in Omaha, Neb., is attempting to sidestep Obamacare by cutting hundreds of workers’ hours so that they will not be legally entitled to health benefits, WOWT NBC reports.
► At Huffington Post — Idaho Medicaid won’t expand under Obamacare, GOP governor says — Butch Otter is the 10th Republican governor to reject extending Medicaid health coverage to more poor residents. The governor’s decision contradicted a unanimous recommendation from a commission appointed by Otter that the state take advantage of the available federal funding to broaden Medicaid.
► In today’s NY Times — Rescued by a bailout, AIG may sue its savior — A lawsuit that the company may join claims that the rescue deprived A.I.G.’s investors of tens of billions and took private property for public use without appropriate compensation.
► At Huffington Post — The jobs numbers and the deficit (by Robert Kuttner) — To the extent that the economy has remained stuck in first gear, it has everything to do with high unemployment and lagging wages, and just about nothing to do with the fiscal cliff or worries about the debt ratio 20 years down the road. None of the economic quacks who contend that budget cutting will produce more private sector jobs can tell a convincing story of cause and effect, on how cutting deficits will yield more or better jobs. In a weak economy, the opposite is true — as the austerity hawks inadvertently confessed in their own hysteria about how the automatic fiscal-cliff cuts would harm the economy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m.
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