► In Sunday’s Olympian — Thousands will attend rallies at Capitol today — State officials are preparing for more than 3,000 people to descend on the Capitol Campus on Monday, the start of a special legislative session about budget cuts to address a $2 billion gap. The crowd could well exceed that number, because groups that have not registered for a permit have said they’re coming.
► In today’s Olympian — Political climate different for this special session — After lawmakers cut $10 billion in projected spending over the past three years, the stiff political opposition to tax hikes may be easing – if not turning.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Legislature’s special session could get ugly over budget — With prospects for a sustained partisan clash, members in both parties are tamping down expectations of what will be accomplished in the session, which could last a month.
► In the Spokesman-Review — With more budget cuts in offing, entire aid programs vulnerable
► In Sunday’s Seattle Times — Tax-increase fight likely to dominate session — Perhaps most important, the business community has indicated it is open to a sales-tax increase. Boeing, Microsoft and the Association of Washington Business sent out statements recently saying all options to balance the budget need to be considered.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This news article, like the Times editorial page, considers only the disposition of corporate interests, with no mention of any other constituency. Not labor. Not environmentalists. Not educators. Not criminal justice and public safety experts. Not social service advocates. Just business. It’s a rare, open acknowledgement from the Times’ news staff about who is “most important” in state government. Because the accompanying Times editorial predictably demonizes public employees (again), reenforces the right-wing meme that ending government “waste” will be a major factor in solving the budget crisis, and parrots AWB’s positions on just about everything else, we won’t bother including it in the following roundup of newspaper budget editorials.
► In the News Tribune — New tax or wrecking ball for schools? (editorial) — One question for the people accusing Gov. Gregoire of grabbing for new taxes instead of downsizing state government: Where on Earth have you been for the last three years? The K-12 system has been squeezed. Washington’s public colleges have lost a third to a half of their state funding. Health insurance for the poor has been nearly strangled. Many state employees have had wages cut or been laid off. State agencies – large and small – have been turned upside down and had the change shaken out of their pockets.
► In the Olympian — Governor right to put tax proposal before voters (editorial) — Let the voters decide, because there is no realistic chance of getting a tax-increase vote out of the Legislature in the 30-day special session.
► In today’s Olympian — Lawmakers must remember humans behind numbers (editorial)
► In the (Everett) Herald — Just saying ‘no cuts’ won’t help (editorial)
► In the Seattle Times — State’s revenue system needs reasonable reform (by Remy Turpin) — Yes, we need short-term revenue to meet the most immediate needs. But just as importantly, we need long-term structural reform to help fuel economic recovery and stabilize our tax system. A new tax on some capital gains — profits from the sale of corporate stocks and bonds — would help address these fundamental problems.
► In today’s Seattle Times — It’s time for more revenue (Jerry Large column) — We can’t afford to throw people away if we want to continue to be competitive in the world market, to sustain business in our communities, to be safer on our streets.
► In the News Tribune — State’s sex-offender lockup might move — The cost of locking up sexually violent felons on an otherwise vacant McNeil Island is growing, and that could make the Special Commitment Center a target for budget cutters. State lawmakers of both parties say the center might need to move to the mainland.
► In the Olympian — Rep. Ladenburg latest to say she’ll quit House — State Rep. Connie Ladenburg has added her name to the growing list of state lawmakers not seeking re-election in 2012.
► From AP — Fundraising freeze called ‘unfair’ — Upset about the voter-approved fundraising freeze affecting Rob McKenna but not Jay Inslee, Rep. Bill Hinkle (R-Cle Elum) said he will introduce a bill on Monday, the first day of the legislative special session, requiring federal officials running for statewide office to be subject to the same fundraising freeze as state officials.
EDITOR’S NOTE — What about state legislators seeking federal office? For example, a state senator is having a fundraiser in Olympia this week for his congressional bid that will be hosted by a husband-wife team of lobbyists. That event’s appearance of paying for access/influence amid active legislating directly defies voters’ intent, as opposed to McKenna’s hypocritical “fairness” issue.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — South Carolina gets low ratings in report on locating next Boeing plant — The Accenture report issued earlier this month on where Boeing might build its 737 MAX, one of the surprises was which state got low grades. It was South Carolina — the very place Boeing most recently picked to build a new jet.
► In Sunday’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing faces decade-long challenge of recouping 787 costs — How long will it take the Boeing Co. to work off the costs of developing the new 787? In September, Boeing handed over the first Dreamliner, more than three years behind schedule. And last month, company executives revealed the magic number: 1,100 jets. The company estimates it will take more than 10 years of production to reach this mark.
► In today’s Washington Post — Boeing may exceed tanker cost ceiling by $500 million — Chicago-based Boeing, which is developing the KC-46A tanker from its 767 airliner, absorbs 100% of any dollars over the contract’s $4.8 billion ceiling.
► In the Daily News — ILWU won’t join Occupy Oakland’s attempts to shut down West Coast ports on Dec. 12 — “Only ILWU members or their elected representatives can authorize job actions on behalf of the union, and any decisions made by groups outside of the union’s democratic process do not hold water, regardless of the intent,” said ILWU President Robert McEllrath.
► In the Seattle Times — ‘Concierge’ health care for local union members — The state’s largest private-sector union is breaking with tradition to offer members a health-insurance plan that includes unlimited primary care, arranged through a clinic system that spurns the fee-for-service system and instead asks patients for a flat monthly fee. UFCW Local 21 members who agree to get their primary care at clinics run by Seattle-based Qliance Medical Management Inc. will pay reduced premiums for the benefit plan offered for 2012.
► In today’s Washington Post — Divided moderates will be conquered (E.J. Dionne column) — Some of my middle-of-the-road columnist friends keep ascribing our difficulties to structural problems in our politics. A few call for a centrist third party. But the problem we face isn’t about structures or the party system. It’s about ideology — specifically a right-wing ideology that has temporarily taken over the Republican Party and needs to be defeated before we can have a reasonable debate between moderate conservatives and moderate progressives about our country’s future.
► In the NY Times — We are the 99.9% (Paul Krugman column) — The “We Are the 99%” slogan aims too low. A large fraction of the top 1%’s gains have actually gone to an even smaller group, the top 0.1% — the richest one-thousandth of the population. And while Democrats, by and large, want that super-elite to make at least some contribution to long-term deficit reduction, Republicans want to cut the super-elite’s taxes even as they slash Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in the name of fiscal discipline.
► In today’s NY Times — Hollywood labor fight looms as money for benefits wanes
► In today’s NY Times — The price of intolerance (editorial) — Alabama is waking up to the cost of its harsh immigration law.
► From Democracy Now! (It’s an hour long, but well worth it) — Occupy Everywhere: Next steps on the movement against corporate power — How does the Occupy Wall Street movement move from “the outrage phase” to the “hope phase,” and imagine a new economic model? In a Democracy Now! special broadcast, we bring you excerpts from a recent event that examined this question and much more.
► And a Bonus Must-Read in today’s Washington Post — Why black America isn’t embracing Occupy Wall Street (by Stacey Patton) — Black America’s fight for income equality is not on Wall Street, but is a matter of day-to-day survival. The more pressing battles are against tenant evictions, police brutality and street crime. This group doesn’t see a reason to join the amorphous Occupiers. But if the Occupy movement does not grow in solidarity with other constituencies of exploited and oppressed people, and if black America does not devise new leadership strategies to deal with today’s problems, the truth of Frederick Douglass’s wisdom will hold — the powerful undertow of race and class in America will keep both blacks and whites from being free.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m. These links are functional at the date of posting, but sometimes expire.