HIGHER EDUCATION NEWS:
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing, Microsoft pledge $50 million as tuitions are set to shoot up — Microsoft and Boeing have pledged a total of $50 million over five years toward a new program that will provide scholarships to Washington undergraduate students majoring in high-demand fields. The program, partly funded with money from the state, could provide as many as 10,000 scholarships of $1,000 apiece when it begins giving out money in December. The public-private scholarship partnership, dubbed the Opportunity Scholarship Program, aims to soften the blow of double-digit tuition increases at public higher-education institutions this fall.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Resident tuition at UW this year was $8,701 and will increase 16% — or $1,392 — to $10,093 next year. So the 10,000 recipients of the MicroBoeing Opportunity Scholarships™ will get the opportunity to pay 4.5% higher tuition next year instead of 16%. Mazel tov!
FUN FACTS — Microsoft and Boeing — which the Daily Beast lists as among the nation’s biggest corporate tax dodgers — both supported Tim Eyman’s I-1053 via the Association of Washington Business, which imposed a two-thirds supermajority requirement on repealing corporate tax loopholes or raising state revenue. Microsoft posted a $5.2 billion profit in the first quarter of 2011, while Boeing profited $586 million. A new report has found that Boeing has paid no federal income taxes for three years, during which time it had an effective tax rate of -1.8%.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Financial aid may not keep pace with fast-rising tuition — While drastically cutting state funding to state universities and colleges, the Legislature increased funding 32% for State Need Grants to low-income students. But that increase will only keep pace with double-digit tuition hikes. It will help about 70,000 students, the same number as last year. Another 22,000 students who qualified for the money last year didn’t receive it, because the state ran out of money. The same number — or even more — may qualify again for state financial aid and receive nothing.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — EWU likely to raise tuition — Tuition at Eastern Washington University could go up for the third year in a row, as many as 10 degree programs could be eliminated and about 20 employees could lose their jobs to bridge a $24.9 million budget gap. EWU says it has suffered a more than 45% reduction in state funding over the last three-plus years.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — High court should weigh in (editorial) — Four times in the past 18 years, Washington voters have shackled legislators with a two-thirds majority requirement for tax increases — to the great frustration of the Democratic majorities those same voters continue to send to the state Capitol. Three times, the state Supreme Court has been asked to rule whether such a supermajority requirement violates the state Constitution, an invitation it has declined each time. It may soon be asked again. Proponents and opponents alike deserve the legal clarity only a high-court ruling can provide.
► In today’s Olympian — The time is right for legal challenge of two-thirds vote for taxes (editorial) — It’s important that Democrats press the legal issue so the constitutional question can be settled in the courts.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Groups seek Latino-dominant district for Yakima County — Representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Voting Rights Advocacy Initiative said Monday such a district should be drawn for “both practical and legal reasons,” arguing that districts as currently drawn disenfranchise Latinos and violate the federal Voting Rights Act.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — State Sen. Erickson to run for Whatcom County Executive — The Ferndale Republican will run for Whatcom County executive this year, setting up a primary election fight over the seat being vacated by Executive Pete Kremen.
► At SeattlePI.com — Labor leader: Seattle government not getting enough done — David Freiboth, M.L. King County Labor Council executive secretary, criticized Seattle government on Monday, saying there was too much process and not enough progress. His comments were a not-too-subtle dig at Mayor Mike McGinn’s continued opposition to the tunnel replacement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct — which is main priority of labor.
► At SeattlePI.com — Support for Mayor McGinn plummets in new poll — The poll by EMC Research shows that just 23% of those surveyed approve of the job Mike McGinn is doing as mayor, while a whopping 73% term his performance as “fair” or “poor.”
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — DOE’s costs for retiree benefits rapidly rising — The Department of Energy’s benefit costs for retired contractor employees is rising quickly and could hit $1.7 billion next year, according to a GAO report to Congress. The costs have more than doubled from 2008-09, driven in large part by a drop in the interest rate used by contractors to calculate their pension plan liabilities, as well as poor asset performance due to market declines. At Hanford, DOE also has moved as contracts are up for bid to require that under new contracts new workers be offered 401(k)-style plans rather than traditional pension plans that guarantee set payments each month.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Edmonds mayor freezes city hiring — With the city facing an estimated $300,000 budget deficit, Mayor Mike Cooper has ordered a hiring freeze for the rest of the year. The freeze only affects positions paid for from the city’s general fund. Positions funded through other sources, such as the utility fund, will be filled.
THE REPUBLICAN WAR ON FEDERAL WORKERS:
► In today’s Washington Post — Bill targets union dues deductions — The latest note in the House Republican drumbeat to weaken federal labor organizations has been struck by freshman Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC). His bill would prohibit the government from automatically deducting union dues from federal employees’ paychecks. If the legislation were to become law, it would be “a dagger” to the heart of federal unions, said IFPTE’s Matthew Biggs. “That’s union-busting at its best.”
► In today’s Washington Post — House Republicans unveil plans to cut federal workforce — Three leading House Republicans detailed plans Monday to replace every three employees who depart federal agencies with only one new hire, in hopes of trimming the workforce by 10 percent by 2015 and fulfilling a key element of the House GOP’s 2012 budget plans.
MORE NATIONAL NEWS:
► From AP — Job cuts by states, cities slowing recovery — In a healthy economic recovery, states and localities start hiring, expand services and help fuel the nation’s growth. Then there’s the 2011 recovery. The U.S. economy is moving ahead, however fitfully, but cash-strapped state and local governments cut 30,000 jobs in May. That was the seventh consecutive month of public-sector job losses. Rather than add to U.S. economic growth, states and cities are subtracting from it. And ordinary Americans are feeling it — from reduced services to fewer teachers, police officers and firefighters.
► In today’s NY Times — Courts upend budgets as states look for savings — The courts are finding that many struggling states are not meeting their responsibilities as they strive to save money. And because many states have been forced to close budget gaps year after year, these decisions are having an outsized impact, and intensifying fiscal pressures.
► In today’s Wall Street Journal — Labor board broadens Delta probe — The National Mediation Board is widening its probe into union allegations that Delta Air Lines Inc. interfered in a failed organizing drive last year, further heightening scrutiny of the big U.S. carrier and the federal agency that oversees it. The federal agency on Monday notified Delta and the International Association of Machinists that it will conduct on-site probes into whether the airline unfairly pressured about 30,000 ramp workers and gate and reservation agents to vote against unionization. The IAM said Delta “inundated employees with anti-union propaganda” and “habitually engaged in surveillance and intimidation” to scare employees into voting against unionization.
► At WashingtonPost.com — Dems draw hard line with White House: Time to take RyanCare off table — Five Senate Democrats call on Vice President Joe Biden to make it crystal clear that Ryancare is not on the table in the deficit reduction talks he’s presiding over. It signals that moderate Democrats have decided that the Ryan plan is so toxic that they can oppose it without worrying about negative consequences for their reelection campaigns.
► In today’s LA Times — India’s $4.1 billion aircraft order with Boeing is boost for Long Beach factory — Boeing’s beleaguered jet-making complex in Long Beach received a major boost with a year’s worth of new work after India’s government approved the purchase of 10 C-17 military cargo aircraft. The deal should keep things humming at the sprawling plant through 2014. The production line had been slated for closure at the end of next year.
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.