The Stand

MLK roundup, grading tax breaks, a nation united…

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MLK DAY

 

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Turnout nearly double for Spokane’s MLK march — The event, which started at the Spokane Convention Center and followed with a march to the heart of downtown, drew about 3,000 people, far surpassing the previous year’s crowd. The Rev. Happy Watkins said it was clear the strong turnout was a response to the backpack bomb discovered along the planned route of last year’s march.

► More local MLK Day coverage in the Bellingham Herald, Columbia Basin Herald, (Ellensburg) Daily Record, Kitsap Sun, (Longview) Daily News, Peninsula Daily News, Seattle Times, (Tacoma) News Tribune, Tri-City Herald, (Vancouver) Columbian, Walla Walla U-B, and the Yakima H-R.

EDITOR’S NOTE: “By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed levels of production. Those who today attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.” — The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 


STATE GOVERNMENT

 

► At Publicola — Tax breaks to continue despite “no conclusive evidence” of success— JLARC’s authority is legislatively granted and the legislature has never instructed the committee to conduct an actual return on investment analysis (of tax breaks). JLARC only looks at whether tax exemptions meet “legislative intent” — an unhelpful metric because the legislature typically fails to say what the specific policy goals of tax exemptions are. Case in point: The controversial tax deduction on first mortgages for big banks. JLARC simply asked legislators to review the bank break (rather than terminate it), despite “No conclusive evidence that the deduction increased loan availability or decreased loan costs in Washington,” which is what they guessed the purpose was. Sigh. “Public policy objective not stated.”

► From AP — Too much power for the attorney general? — A bill introduced Monday by a group of Senate Democrats would prohibit the state’s attorney general from unilaterally taking legal action against the wishes of the governor or other agency heads. Attorney General Rob McKenna angered state Democrats, including Gov. Chris Gregoire, by signing onto a multistate challenge to the national health care reform law.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Charter schools is the wrong fight to pick this year (editorial) — Passing a charter bill this session would undoubtedly spark a referendum to overturn it, drawing attention away from the more immediate question of whether taxes should help narrow the budget gap. It’s just not a battle to have this year.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Proposal would stymie Costco’s ability to sell liquor — One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Sherry Appleton (D-Poulsbo), said she doubts the bill is going anywhere, but “sometimes people send messages.”

► In today’s Seattle Times — Sen. Rodney Tom proposes increasing cigarette tax by $1 — Sen. Rodney Tom’s (D-Bellevue) proposal joins a variety of tax and fee proposals being floated this session, including Gov. Chris Gregoire’s push to send voters a half-penny sales tax increase and a proposal by state Rep. Ross Hunter (D-Medina) to revamp the state property tax system.

► At TheOlympian.com — More state agency shuffles in the offing?— Two Democratic lawmakers are offering another shakeup in government agencies’ alignments this year. One likely to be controversial is the proposal to transfer ethics enforcement in both the legislative and executive branches of government to the state PDC.

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s News Tribune — Tacoma police vote on concessions could save 56 jobs — Tacoma Police Union Local 6 voted Monday night to approve concessions that could save 56 jobs, but will not publicly disclose the concessions until they are approved by the City Council.

► In today’s Columbian — Herrera Beutler still has CRC concerns — U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler says she expects a new House transportation bill in the next two months, but also said she remains unsold on the Columbia River Crossing.

 


A NATION UNITED!

 

► In today’s Washington Post — 84% of Americans disapprove of job Congress is doing — A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows a new high disapproving of the job Congress is doing, with almost two-thirds saying they “disapprove strongly.” Just 13% of Americans approve of how things are going after the 112th Congress’s first year of action, solidifying an unprecedented level of public disgust that has both sides worried about their positions less than 10 months before voters decide their fates.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Try getting 84% of Americans to agree on anything — except that they can’t believe how much they just ate.

► At TPM — Polls: Republican voter enthusiasm drops, Dems not far behind — Mitt Romney’s presence at the top of the ticket, which is becoming more and more likely, seems to be having an effect on the party — a CNN poll shows that GOP enthusiasm is going down just as 2012 is starting.

 


NATIONAL

 

► At Politico — ‘Occupy Congress’ protest planned as lawmakers return — As Congress returns from winter recess on Tuesday, lawmakers on Capitol Hill will be greeted by throngs of Occupy Wall Street protesters, who are trying to organize one of the largest gatherings that the movement has seen. In a demonstration they are dubbing Occupy Congress organizers are hoping to see thousands gather on the National Mall for “a day of action against a corrupt political institution.”

► In The Hill — White House warns the left: You will not like our budget — Top White House officials are warning liberal and labor leaders to brace themselves for President Obama’s budget proposal. Obama staffers sought to present their budget plan as a glass half full.

► In today’s Washington Post — Re-examining the myth of no-fault capitalism(Eugene Robinson column) — Government has played a huge role in guiding the nation through previous economic upheavals — after World War II with the GI Bill, for example. It can and should play such a role now.

 


WALKER RECALL

 

► At TPM — Wisconsin Democrats submitting Walker recall petitions today — It’s the big day in Wisconsin: After two months of collecting petitions, state Democrats will officially turn in a vast number of signatures collected in order to trigger a recall election against Gov. Scott Walker.

► In today’s Wisconsin State Journal — Next phases of recall likely to be more difficult— When organizers of Wisconsin’s massive recall effort deliver what is expected to be more than 700,000 signatures to the Government Accountability Board Tuesday, it will mark just the first — and likely easiest — hurdle in a confusing process that could stretch well beyond the summer.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► At Huffington Post — How, exactly, does trade bring prosperity? (by Stan Sorscher of SPEEA/IFPTE) — When America industrialized, we rejected free trade (trade deficit agreements), and our living standard rose dramatically. Since NAFTA and WTO took effect, factories in America closed, entire industries declined, and millions of good jobs moved offshore. Why do we insist on an underperforming trade policy that enriches a few, and undermines civil society in America and abroad, while doing little good or real harm to workers and communities? What if we could have trade AND prosperity? We should be thinking about different and better trade agreements, not more NAFTA-style de-industrialization agreements.

 


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.

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