STATE REVENUE NEWS:
► In today’s Seattle Times — State economist forecasts reserve revenue strain — Most of the state’s projected budget reserves were wiped out by new tax-revenue estimates. Estimated reserves stand at a relatively skimpy $163 million, just one day after Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a two-year, $32 billion budget that pegged reserves at more than $730 million. What changed? The state’s chief economist Arun Raha released a report Thursday saying the economy is recovering more slowly than expected.
► From AP — State revenue forecast could mean more cuts — Marty Brown, Gov. Chris Gregoire’s budget director, said the numbers will take the state into uncomfortable budget territory, but he wouldn’t predict whether lawmakers would have to come back for another special session.
► At SeattlePI.com — And the budget number is… — The state has $183 million less than it expected to pay for services through 2013. Or $600 million. Or $483 million. Take your pick. For the dozens of fans of economic forecasts and state budgets, Thursday’s meeting to discuss Washington’s economy was pretty good theater.
► At SeattlePI.com — Statewide transportation tax — the search begins — Washington voters have been tough on taxes lately. Will they be more accepting of higher taxes to pay for transportation projects – more room on the highway, more transit service, safer intersections and freeway interchanges? In the coming 18 months we may find out.
► In the NW Labor Press — NLRB sees unprecedented political interference in Boeing case (Don McIntosh column) — Imagine if the Environmental Protection Agency tried to fine British Petroleum $500 million for the Gulf oil spill … and the reaction in Congress was a call to repeal the Environmental Protection Act. Or suppose Walmart faced an order of $100 million in back pay for illegally making employees work off the clock, and in response leading Senate Republicans threatened to block the president’s nominee for the Department of Labor. That’s a little like what’s happening now in the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) case that the International Association of Machinists (IAM) filed against Boeing.
► In today’s News Tribune — South Carolina: Worker alleges union complaint is retaliation — A worker who led the successful campaign to decertify the Machinists Union in Boeing’s South Carolina plants has filed an unfair-labor-practice charge against the union. Dennis Murray, aided by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, contends that the union’s own complaint against Boeing about locating a new 787 assembly line in North Charleston is itself retaliation against him and workers who voted against union representation there.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue management, union reach contract — The agreement freezes firefighters’ wages for 2012. In 2013, a wage increase will reflect the region’s consumer price index. Should the index rise, firefighters will receive an equivalent percentage bump in pay but not to exceed 2%.
CONNECTING THE NATION’S POLITICAL DOTS:
► In today’s Washington Post — Biden on debt talks: Negotiators ‘getting down to the hard stuff’ — “Now we’re getting down to the real hard stuff: I’ll trade you my bicycle for your golf clubs,” Biden told reporters.
EDITOR’S NOTE — More like, “I’ll trade you the undermining of Social Security if you end your threat to plunge America into a Greece-style debt crisis by defaulting on loans.” And add a dash of: “I’ll give you means-tested Medicare surcharges if you end your threat to plunge America into a Greece-style debt crisis by defaulting on U.S. loans.” And: “I’ll give up on raising taxes for the wealthy and just cut more job-creating infrastructure spending if you… end your threat to plunge America into a Greece-style debt crisis by defaulting on U.S. loans.”
When will the Obama administration stop negotiating with economic terrorists?
Which brings us to…
► In The Hill — Obama trails generic GOP challenger by 5 points — Gallup poll: 44% of registered voters said they would elect a Republican candidate next fall, while 39% said they would reelect Obama, and 18% expressed no opinion.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Which brings us to…
► In The Hill — Government cuts make for lost jobs in Western states — The whole idea that jobs generated by government spending constitute being on the “dole” is pretty funny when it comes from readers living in the rural American West. We live in a subsidized region, historically receiving far more in federal support than we pay in taxes. Our water delivery, our power, our roads, our way of life were funded in part by taxpayers. … When we in the West, often the reddest of red states, demand federal contraction, we forget how many of our neighbors actually work for the government. Of course, government is already shrinking — and as that trend grows it will impact everyone because when those workers lose their jobs, they will not have money to spend as consumers. That’s essential spending in a consumer-driven economy such as ours. On top of that, states, cities, schools, and other governments are trimming jobs making the contraction that much deeper.
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.