► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing decision on 737 engine likely to benefit workers in state — The decision to extend the life of the 737 by giving it new engines is a boost to its Puget Sound area workers, given that the company will likely keep work at its Renton facility. Boeing had planned to have locations compete to be the final assembly site for a 737 replacement jet. Gov. Chris Gregoire noted on Wednesday that the state will continue its efforts to retain Boeing and expand the state’s aerospace industry here. “The announcement that Boeing will put new engines on the Renton-built 737 gives us a sense that Boeing recognizes the value of its greatest asset, that being its skilled workforce here,” said Tom Wroblewski, president of Boeing’s local Machinists union. (See Wroblewski’s entire statement.)
► In today’s News Tribune — Boeing decision gives new life to Renton plant — Boeing’s decision Wednesday to re-engine its most popular plane grants new life to Boeing’s oldest factory, its World War II-era Renton final assembly plant. That decision, prompted in part by a big order from American Airlines for the updated 737, drew praise from the union whose workers build the aircraft.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Big 737 order still leaves Boeing with egg on its face — Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief Jim Albaugh was forced to confront analysts’ suggestions that the company’s product strategy is in tatters. First, archrival Airbus won the larger piece of a blockbuster American Airlines order. Second, Boeing was forced into a major strategy shift: modernizing its 737 with new engines rather than launching an all-new replacement plane.
► In today’s News Tribune — State jobless rate inches up to 9.2% — Washington’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent in June from 9.1 percent in May, even though the state added 3,600 jobs last month. The state would need to add an average of 6,000 jobs a month over a year to cut the jobless rate by 1 percentage point.
► In today’s News Tribune — No-COLA contracts show good faith by Pierce County employees (editorial) — The no-COLA contract extensions approved by several of the county’s bargaining units is welcome, and likely will save some jobs. But even if every worker gets no pay increase, the county would only save $5.5 million as it heads into another brutal budget year.
► In today’s News Tribune — New downtown Tacoma hotel construction begins after 3-year delay — The hotel, which was mired in city design reviews and permitting for three years, will be the first new Tacoma hotel to open in five years when it begins renting rooms in December 2012.
STATE BUDGET CUTS
► In today’s Olympian — State worker health costs to rise 5% on average — The Public Employees Benefits Board made it official Wednesday, approving a set of insurance options effective in January that for the first time will include health savings accounts. The agency assumes about 10% of participants in the state-run Uniform Medical Plan will switch to health savings accounts, joined by 4% to 5% from those in Group Health and Kaiser Permanente plans.
► In today’s Daily News — LCC approves budget, cuts staff — Lower Columbia College’s Board of Trustees approved the $21 million operating budget for 2011-12 on Wednesday, relying on staff cuts and “excess” tuition revenue to make up for a $1.9 million drop in state funding. The college will eliminate 14 faculty and staff positions, bringing the number of jobs cut in the past three years to 39 — a reduction of about 10%.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle schools plan one-day shutdown to absorb state budget cuts — Principals have agreed to take Aug. 31 as a furlough day, and the district announced Wednesday that it has reached a tentative agreement with the Seattle Education Association for teachers and school support staff to do the same, plus a half-day later in the year.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Rolfes appointed to Senate; now focus shifts to House seat — Kitsap County Democrats will begin the process of selecting a replacement for her House seat. Expressing interest: Poulsbo City Councilman Ed Stern, Holly Mortlock of East Bremerton, and Bainbridge Islanders Drew Hansen and Hilary Franz, a city councilwoman.
► At TPM — Recalling Scott Walker: The other big story for 2012? — Lurking underneath the surface of the campaigning for recalling Wisconsin state legislators this year — has been the Dems’ main recall threat, against Gov. Walker himself.
CAREENING TOWARD THE CLIFF
► At TPM — AFL-CIO slams ‘Gang of Six’ proposal for ‘goring’ the poor — “We keep seeing bipartisan support for plans like the so-called ‘Gang of Six’ that cut Social Security benefits, kill jobs, give tax incentives for corporations to export good jobs overseas, tax health benefits, and lower tax rates for billionaires and corporations,” Trumka said in a statement Wednesday. “There’s no shared sacrifice here. The only sacred cows being gored are working people, the middle class, seniors and the poor.”
► In today’s NY Times — Push intensifies for larger deal on debt impasse — With the clock ticking down, President Obama and Congressional leaders began a final effort to forge a broad deficit-reduction plan even as new cracks appeared among House Republicans over how to proceed. Politically, the main question remained whether House Republicans would be willing to negotiate over any package that could be construed as raising taxes, and throughout the day there were signs of internal debate among party leaders.
► At The Hill — Republicans feuding about cuts in $1.5 trillion stopgap debt plan — A package of spending cuts totaling $1.5 trillion has become a political football in the battle between the House and Senate over raising the debt limit. The cuts have triggered something of a tug-of-war between Republicans on Capitol Hill, who still are not on the same page on the controversial issue.
► In today’s LA Times — Opposition to deal with Obama creates problems for GOP — House Republicans’ resistance to compromise on budget reforms has turned a significant bloc of voters against them and has frustrated members of their leadership and the party establishment.
► In The Hill — Partial FAA shutdown looms over debate — The Republican-controlled House passed an FAA funding extension Wednesday, but Democrats who control the Senate are opposed to certain provisions of the bill, putting Senate passage in jeopardy.
► In today’s NY Times — Bonuses for billionaires (Nicolas Kristof column) — The logic of the Tea Party caucus in the G.O.P. really grows on you. Who needs air traffic control, anyway?
► In today’s Washington Post — GOP leaders must free themselves from Tea Party’s grip (E.J. Dionne column) — When the hero of Ayn Rand’s breakthrough novel, “The Fountainhead,” doesn’t get what he wants, he blows up a building. Rand’s followers see that as gallant. So perhaps it shouldn’t surprise us that blowing up our government doesn’t seem to be a big deal to some of the new radical individualists in our House of Representatives. Our country is on the edge. Our capital looks like a lunatic asylum to many of our own citizens and much of the world. We need to act now to restore certainty by extending the debt ceiling through the end of this Congress.
► In today’s Washington Post — USPS considering closing thousands of post offices — The U.S. Postal Service is launching a major review of up to 3,600 post offices across the country for possible closure as it shrinks its network in light of declining mail volume.
► In today’s Washington Post — Congress addressing Postal Service losses (Joe Davidson column) –Because of declining mail volume, (Postmaster) Donahoe said he expects the USPS workforce will fall to 425,000 full-timers by 2015. That’s a huge drop from the 804,000 it had at the end of 1999 and significantly less than the 553,000 on the payroll today.
► From AP — Outsourcing spaceflight is NASA’s next frontier — With the space shuttle’s retirement today, no longer will flying people and cargo up to the International Space Station be a government program where costs balloon. NASA is turning to private industry with fixed prices, contracts and profit margins. The space agency will be the customer, not the boss.
► In today’s NY Times — Wheeling and dealing — At next week’s contract talks, carmakers and the United Automobile Workers union will square off over how to divide the profits of Detroit’s unexpectedly swift revival.
► At Huffington Post — Unions chastise Michelle Obama’s Walmart work, president’s embrace of deficit-cutting –The unions hit the White House with a triple-barreled shot for holding a major event with Walmart — a company that was once a villain for Obama when he ran for office. In this case, First Lady Michelle Obama praised the retailer for joining in her efforts to combat childhood obesity by opening hundreds of stores in “food deserts” — neighborhoods that lack outlets that sell decent food or the basic ingredients for healthy eating.
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.