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Verizon update, tax exemption review, “A new car!”…

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VERIZON STRIKE NEGOTIATIONS

 

► At AFL-CIO Now — Striking Verizon workers to return to work Tuesday — The 45,000 striking Verizon workers, represented by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, will return to work Tuesday under the existing contract as bargaining resumes.

► In today’s Boston Globe — Strike is over, but not the sparring — Both sides announced Saturday that they would return to the bargaining table to begin a fresh set of talks this week. Neither side declared victory. Verizon officials issued a statement saying both sides were making “headway in negotiating a number of local and regional issues.’’ The company had no further comment yesterday.

► At Slog — Verizon employees don’t want you to eat that sandwich — Verizon wants to increase the amount that workers pay into their healthcare and pension plans. “This is money that would go into the pockets of CEOs,” said one of the organizers of Friday’s protest in Seattle, Kamaria Hightower of the Young Emerging Labor Leaders of Washington. “Verizon doesn’t need this money. They’re trying to take advantage of people’s fears of the current economic situation and ram through wage and benefit cuts.”

 


STATE GOVERNMENT

 

► In the Olympian — Citizen’s panel looks at tax exemptions — Pulp-and-paper companies, large banks and other interest groups already are lining up at the Capitol to defend against possible changes in their favorable tax rates next year. A citizen commission that reviews tax preferences every year began looking last week at a legislative auditor’s report, which identified one exemption that should be terminated and two that should be left to expire in June 2013.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Rise in unpaid care a bitter bill for area hospitals to swallow — The economy has continued to lag and Cowlitz County’s unemployment rate climbed to 12.2% in June. St. John Medical Center have been serving more and more uninsured people. State cuts that have lowered the reimbursement rates for Medicaid patients have exacerbated the problem. As a result, the Longview hospital has seen an increase in unpaid bills and “charity care” over the past few years.

► In the (Longview) Daily News — State panel to hear appeal against Longview Fibre’s biomass expansion — The state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board plans to review the appeal submitted by Seattle-based No Biomass Burn and two other Puget Sound conservation groups May 2 to 4 in Tumwater.

 


POLITICS

 

► At SeattlePI.com — McKenna gets free use of Honda from car dealer (Joel Connelly column) — State Attorney General Rob McKenna, whose job includes investigating complaints against auto dealers, has long enjoyed use of a car supplied and subsidized by the Honda Auto Center of Bellevue, whose president is a substantial contributor. Citing public employee unions, McKenna has argued that a conflict of interest exists with Democrats holding the governor’s office.  Union leaders sit down at one side of the table, across from politicians they worked to elect — and can turn around and defeat if they are displeased. “You cannot have true collective bargaining” with such a dependency, McKenna has said,  saying that if he sits in the statehouse, “This is a governor who does not owe anything to people sitting on the other side of the table.” Shouldn’t the same hold true for an attorney general sitting across the table from auto dealers accused of deceptive advertising practices?

► At TheOlympian.com — Here’s a list of all 42 lawmakers who cut own pay — Out of 147 lawmakers, 10 Senate members and 32 in the House are willing to share in the 3% pay reductions that they imposed on most state employees starting July 1.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Weary of Rep. McMorris Rodgers (letter) — Rep. McMorris Rodgers proclaims herself a patriot. She writes me that she will always do what is best for the 5th District. How patriotic is it to deliberately deepen this depression, decimate the middle class, tax the poor to the hilt, while refusing to demand even one dime from the wealthy?

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Whatcom County won’t impose development ban on SSA Marine — Crews broke the law when they did forest clearing on SSA Marine’s land without permits, but Whatcom County government cannot impose a six-year development ban on the property, county officials said. SSA Marine is proposing to build a coal and bulk cargo terminal at Cherry Point.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Also see WSLC President Jeff Johnson’s column: Whatcom County needs jobs, Gateway Pacific Terminal

► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Weatherization program strong in Kitsap — Kitsap County’s weatherization grants, part of President Obama’s $787 billion Recovery Act package, seem to have accomplished what they set out to do: Increase the number of weatherized homes and jobs.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing’s next drama: 737 engines — Whether the 737 can regain its momentum against the A320neo will depend, in large part, on the ability of engineers at CFM International and Boeing to design a new engine for the passenger jet. It’s an engineering drama measured in inches.

 


NATIONAL

 

► Today from AP — Social Security disability on the verge of insolvency — Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security’s disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency. Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can’t find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs.

► In today’s Washington Post — Corporations pushing for job-creation tax breaks shield U.S. vs. abroad hiring data — Some of the country’s best-known multi­national corporations closely guard a number they don’t want anyone to know: the breakdown between their jobs here and abroad. Some of the same companies that do not report their jobs breakdown, including Apple and Pfizer, are pushing lawmakers to cut their tax bills in the name of job creation in the United States. But experts say that without details on which companies are contributing to job growth and which are not, policymakers risk flying blind as they try to jump-start the hiring of American workers.

► In today’s LA Times — Southern Calif. grocery workers authorize strike — Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers approve a walkout if the union and supermarkets including Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons can’t agree on a contract.

► At AFL-CIO Now — New AFL-CIO Latino Facebook, Twitter up and running — The AFL-CIO’s social media family is growing with the addition of our new AFL-CIO Latino page and a Spanish language Twitter feed. The new initiatives are part of the union movement’s continous efforts to reach out to the Latino workforce, especially younger workers.

► Today in The Hill — Wall Street execs turn back on Obama, donate to Romney — Dozens of Wall Street executives who supported President Obama in 2008 have donated to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign this year.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Wow! Who could’ve seen that coming?

► At Huffington Post — Mitt Romney looks to expand his $12 million La Jolla, Calif., home — The GOP presidential candidate has filed an application with the San Diego government to bulldoze the 3,009-square-foot beachfront house in La Jolla and replace it with a 11,062-square-foot property. According to his campaign, “They want to enlarge their two bedroom home because with five married sons and 16 grandchildren it is inadequate for their needs.”

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► In Saturday’s Seattle Times — Wake up and smell the lobbying (Danny Westneat column) — Campaign donations are not the biggest pressure point on Congress. Lobbying is. Nobody is proposing a cease-fire on that. Take Starbucks. Each year the coffee giant spends about $700,000 lobbying Congress — more than triple what Howard Schultz has donated to campaigns in nearly 20 years. I looked up the recent lobbying reports, which list what issues Starbucks is pushing on Capitol Hill. Nowhere is debt or deficit reduction mentioned. In fact, the company’s big effort of late has been fighting off attempts by the government to collect taxes on profits that U.S. corporations transfer to tax havens overseas. U.S. corporations such as … Starbucks!

(So) here we have a big public call from Schultz for responsibility and leadership on the debt that puts all the blame squarely on politicians. While at the same time his company works the back alleys of the capital, as big corporations do, to persuade those same politicians to preserve its tax loopholes. Which effort is the more sincere?

 


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.


 

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