‘RIGHT TO WORK’ (FOR LESS)
► At AFL-CIO Now — Republican Party makes RTW its top priority — The national Republican Party has selected Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels to respond to President Obama’s State of the Union address next week — sending a clear signal the party is making attacks on working people a top priority in the 2012 elections. Daniels is a key backer of right to work for less (RTW) legislation. Democratic state house lawmakers yesterday left the Indiana legislature to protest moves by the Republican majority, especially the refusal to allow Democrats to offer a vote making RTW a referendum, so that the people of Indiana would vote on it directly.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Gov. Daniels against RTW before he was for it — Here’s a video clip of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who’s now teamed up with statehouse Republicans to ram into law a “right to work” for less bill, telling a Teamsters stewards dinner in 2006 that he opposes “right to work.”
► At AFLCIO.org — GET the facts on ‘Right to Work’ for Less
► In today’s Washington Post — 50 years ago, Kennedy’s order empowered federal employees (Joe Davidson column) — This week marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s executive order allowing federal employees the right to collective bargaining. Today, an estimated 63% of federal workers are unionized. A major reason is that Kennedy’s order told agency officials not to mess with employees who want to join or organize a union.
► From AP — U.S. says American Airlines underpaid on pensions — The airline contributed only $6.5 million of the $100 million that it was supposed to pay into employee pension plans this week, raising tensions between the company, which filed for bankruptcy protection in November, and federal pension-protection officials.
► From AP — Wisconsin recall webcam so boring, it’s mesmerizing— You know you live in a state consumed by politics when a webcam showing bureaucrats silently shuffling around a nondescript room feeding papers into a scanner attracts tens of thousands of viewers. Such is the case in Wisconsin. (Check it out here!)
► In today’s Seattle Times — Microsoft, others endorse same-sex marriage — Microsoft and five other companies endorsed SB 6239, while Sen. Jim Kastama (D-Puyallup), who once opposed same-sex marriage, said he now supports it. That leaves the Senate just one vote short of passing it.
► In today’s Seattle Times — McKenna opposes sales-tax boost; Inslee not sold either — Neither of Gregoire’s potential successors is supportive of the idea, even though they’ve both been loudly decrying cuts to education.
► At TheOlympian.com — No takers so far on Gov. Gregoire’s lottery bid plan — Most of her ambitious legislative agenda has been turned into legislation, but there’s no sponsors or bill yet for her plan to seek bids from private companies wanting to take over Washington’s Lottery.
ALSO AT THE STAND — Privatizing Washington’s Lottery is a gamble that won’t pay off (Brendan Williams column)
► At Publicola — Republicans oppose repealing sedition law— Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon’s HB 2251 would eliminate an out-of-date state law outlawing “subversive” (i.e. Communist) activities and requiring all state officials to take an oath of loyalty to the U.S. government. A 1964 U.S. Supreme Court ruling found such laws unconstitutional, but the state’s sedition law has remained on the books since 1951. All of the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee voted against HB 2251.
► In today’s Columbian — Wylie’s proposed bill would targets government contract abuses — State Rep. Sharon Wylie (D-Vancouver) filed HB 2452, which aims to set better guidelines that all state agencies must follow when choosing a contract.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — 30 Chambers of Commerce take their agenda to Olympia — Says George Allen of the Seattle Chamber: “We want to be sure they have a clear direction from the business community.”
► In today’s Columbian — Panel to discuss state-run bank in Washington — A forum is planned for Wednesday, Jan. 25 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 426 E. Fourth Plain Blvd. in Vancouver.
► In today’s Columbian — Local economic development leaders to pursue Boeing suppliers — Clark County economic development leaders say they’re working to make Boeing a bigger presence in the region by recruiting its suppliers and by expanding existing companies that help equip the company.
► Yesterday at SeattlePI.com — Airbus exec calls Boeing 747-8 a ‘dog’— Asked if Boeing’s aggressive marketing of the 747-8 has hampered Airbus’s efforts to get better pricing on its A380s, John Leahy, Airbus’ chief operating officer for customers, says: “If you give away a dog, it’s still a dog.”
► And today, the real dog returns to his own vomit, in the NY Times — European air safety regulators order checks on A380s— Inspections are ordered on nearly one-third of all Airbus A380 jets after hairline cracks were found in a component of the wings on the 555-seat superjumbos.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Trial date set for ILWU lawsuit against sheriff, police chief— A trial date has been set in the federal civil rights case the longshore union filed against local law enforcement agencies — but it’s still more than a year away: March 4, 2013.
► In today’s NY Times — Taxes at the top (Paul Krugman column) — The larger question isn’t what Mitt Romney’s tax returns have to say about Mitt Romney; it’s what they have to say about U.S. tax policy. Is there a good reason why the rich should bear a startlingly light tax burden? Romney’s tax dance is doing us all a service by highlighting the unwise, unjust and expensive favors being showered on the upper-upper class. At a time when all the self-proclaimed serious people are telling us that the poor and the middle class must suffer in the name of fiscal probity, such low taxes on the very rich are indefensible.
► In today’s NY Times — Why Americans think the tax rate is high — and why they’re wrong — Many Americans see themselves as struggling under the weight of a heavy tax burden (partly for the understandable reason that wage growth has been so weak). Yet taxes in the U.S. are quite low today, compared with past years or those in other countries. Most important, American taxes are not sufficient to pay for the programs that many people want, like Medicare, Social Security, road construction and education subsidies.
Together, all federal taxes equaled 14.4% of the nation’s economic output last year, the lowest level since 1950. Add state and local taxes, and the share nearly doubles, to about 27%, according to the Tax Policy Center in Washington — still lower than at almost any other point in the last 40 years.
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.