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State shutdown, tax amnesty’s cost, GOP ♥’s Big Oil…



►  From AP — State prepares for July shutdown as budget talks stall — Top officials in Washington state started preparing Monday for a potential government shutdown in July as lawmakers stalled in their bid to reach a budget compromise. Policy matters have become more of a stumbling block than how to fill a projected shortfall of $5 billion. One of the key issues facing negotiators is a $1 billion cut in workers’ compensation costs and a constitutional amendment to reduce the state’s debt. Both ideas are opposed in the House, but the Senate is holding up budget consideration unless the House agrees to the proposals.

EDITOR’S NOTE: That’s right. Now, we’re talking about a possible GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN unless the House capitulates in its support of injured workers and creating construction jobs, all in the name of cutting business taxes and fiscal conservatism. Who’s running our Democrat-controlled State Senate? John Boehner and Paul Ryan?!

►  In today’s Spokesman-Review — DSHS privatization halted by judge — A Thurston County judge has ordered the Department of Social and Health Services to stop contracting with private agencies to manage child welfare cases until it can show that it complies with state law. The judge ordered a preliminary injunction on Friday after the Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28 sued the department, claiming it was exceeding its authority by privatizing child welfare.

►  In today’s Olympian — Governor’s plan for consolidation still on — The House and Senate are still caught in a fight over how to shape the new agency, what to merge and what to outsource to the private sector. Sen. Michael Baumgartner (R-Spokane) sponsored SB 5931 to directly farm out some state services to the private sector such as printing, the state Motor Pool and real estate contracts. … Three Democrats in the Senate Ways and Means Committee – Sens. Brian Hatfield, Jim Kastama and Rodney Tom – have voted for Baumgartner’s bill.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Stay tuned for more on this later this morning.

►  In today’s Tri-City Herald — State’s tax amnesty pays a lot, but costs some, too (editorial) — The Department of Revenue says the business tax amnesty program collected $320.7 million in state and local back taxes from thousands of delinquent businesses. Although the state and other government agencies received 75% (the state’s own estimate) of what was owed, we missed out on about $107 million more owed to us.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Meanwhile, AWB President Don Brunell portrays tax cheats coming clean as a “bright spot in our dismal economy.” File that column under: WTF.

►  In today’s LA Times — Jump in revenue helps halve California deficit — After months of doomsday scenarios, the news from Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday was nothing short of startling: California is now expected to see $6.6 billion more in revenue over the next two years than had been expected.




►  In today’s Washington Post — Study: $2 trillion needed for U.S. infrastructure — The United States is falling dramatically behind much of the world in rebuilding and expanding an overloaded and deteriorating transportation network it needs to remain competitive in the global marketplace, a new study finds. Burdened with soaring deficits and with long-term transportation plans stalled in Congress, the United States has fallen behind three emerging economic competitors — Brazil, China and India, the study finds.

►  In today’s Seattle Times — Gregoire: Public will need to pay more for roads — New taxes, fees and tolls would be among the options on the table as state leaders explore ways to pay for growing transportation needs. The governor is forming an advisory panel that will help develop a plan to take to voters next year.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Of course, our state’s self-appointed champion of “competitiveness” over at the Association of Washington Business have taken a turn to the ideological right and are more concerned with supporting Tim Eyman’s efforts to starve government of revenue than to maintaining the infrastructure and freight mobility necessary for Washington to remain a great place to do business.




►  In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing will add 1,200 in Renton over two years — After years of shrinking its facilities in Renton, Boeing is hiring at its plant and preparing to build there again in anticipation of booming production lines for its workhorse 737 jet. Boeing told employees Monday it will build a 75,000-square-foot extension to a current building at the site. The space will be used to warehouse and process seats, galleys and lavatories for the narrow-body jets.

►  In today’s Kitsap Sun — Leaders meet to keep 737 in state, and maybe in Bremerton — Port of Bremerton CEO Cary Bozeman recently summoned a dozen and a half business chiefs, labor leaders and politicians to Bremerton National Airport, where they met with Washington Aerospace Partnership co-chair Tayloe Washburn. The WAP was formed in 2009 to support Boeing’s bid for an Air Force tanker deal. Now it wants to make sure that if the aerospace giant decides to build a new version of its 737, the plant will be in Washington.

►  In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing returns 777 output to 7 a month — In response to the economic downturn, the jet maker announced it would cut 777 production from 7 down to 5 per month in June 2010. But before that cut took effect, Boeing made plans to ramp up again following a strong aviation industry recovery.




►  At The Hill — Senate to vote on Big Oil tax breaks today — The Senate is set to vote Tuesday on the Democrats’ controversial bill that would cut the tax breaks received by the big five oil companies. It must reach a 60-vote threshold to proceed in the legislative process (due to a Republican filibuster). Democrats estimate that the bill will bring in about $21 billion in revenue over a decade and they vowed to use the money to pay down the nation’s $14.3 trillion deficit.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Republicans are FILIBUSTERING to protect billions of dollars in tax breaks for oil companies. Think about that next time you’re filling up at the pump for $4-plus per gallon. Republican fiscal conservatism goes out the window when it comes to protecting tax breaks for Exxon, which is raking in $5 million in profits EVERY HOUR. How are you and you’re family doing these days? And speaking of Republican fiscal conservatism…

►  At TPM — Oops! GOP’s historic ‘spending cut’ bill increased spending by $3 billion — In other words, total direct spending will be higher by the end of September than if Congress had just set spending on autopilot for the remainder of the fiscal year back in April.

►  In today’s NY Times — Ultimatum holding up trade deals — The Obama administration said on Monday that it would not seek Congressional approval of free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea until Republicans agree to expand assistance for American workers who might lose jobs as a result.

►  In today’s NY Times — As federal government hits debt limit, lawmakers spar over solution — Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner officially informed Congress on Monday that the government had reached its $14.3 trillion debt limit and had begun taking what he has called “extraordinary measures” to meet obligations while lawmakers and President Obama seek a budget deal to raise the limit.

►  In today’s Columbian — Crowd pulls few punches at Herrera Beutler town hall — U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler faced a boisterous, partisan crowd Tuesday evening at her first Vancouver town hall, where she fielded sometimes hostile questions about her vote to restructure Medicare and her reluctance to support raising the federal debt limit.

►  In today’s NY Times — The need for greed (Timothy Egan column) — The bet was audacious from the beginning, and given the miserable, low-down tenor of contemporary politics, not unfathomable: Could you divide the country between greedy geezers and everyone else as a way to radically alter the social contract? But in order for the Republican plan to turn Medicare, one of most popular government programs in history, into a much-diminished voucher system, the greed card had to work. The early verdict is in, and it looks as though the better angels have prevailed: seniors are opposed. Republicans: Meet the Fockers.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Every Republican in Washington’s Republican delegation supported Rep. Ryan’s Medicare privatization plan. They’ll be asking for your vote next year.




►  In today’s (Everett) Herald — An Everett woman was delivered by firefighters; decades later, her son is, too — Kirsten Clark has a special appreciation for Everett firefighters. They are the ones who brought her into the world on her mother’s couch in the fall of 1989. They were there again to deliver her son, Alexander, on the floor of her mom’s home May 5, 2010.




►  At Politico — Post-reform, labor’s role is a-changin’ — While health care has not disappeared from labor’s agenda, it is no longer the marquee issue that it has been for generations.Heading into the 2012 elections, the political terrain is very different for organized labor. Says Alison Omens, the AFL-CIO deputy director of public affairs: “In 2008, it was the Employee Free Choice Act, it was health care and it was jobs. At this point, it is jobs, period.”

► At Huffington Post — Hospital workers, facing layoffs, launch counterattack on executives — In a sharp break from the national labor playbook — where unions have been negotiating just how deep the concessions they’ll give to management will be — some hospital workers facing layoffs are mounting aggressive campaigns highlighting executive pay and publicly shaming hospitals into reconsidering. In essence, the union’s campaign serves as a rebuttal: No, you’re not broke. And we can prove it.

►  At Huffington Post — NFL lockout remains in place; appeals court grants permanent stay — The NFL’s lockout remains in place, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. That means the league likely won’t get back to business until at least next month – and maybe much longer than that.

►  In today’s Washington Post — Federal pension proposal may make public service less attractive, observers say — A proposal to significantly increase payroll deductions of federal workers to contribute to the pension fund may make public service less attractive and possibly hasten an exodus among current workers eligible for retirement.

►  In today’s NY Times — Some White House workers want to join union — About half of the career work force at the Office of Management and Budget filed a petition on Monday seeking to join the nation’s largest federal employee union (AFGE).


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