The Stand

Yakima wants ‘Jobs Now,’ good/bad budget news, Congress’s deal…

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STATE LEGISLATURE

 

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Yakima underpass project underfunded, overdue— The city of Yakima hopes the Legislature will consider approving $5 million to complete the financially troubled underpass project. A bipartisan group of lawmakers is considering a proposal that would dedicate $1 billion in bond-supported revenue for public construction projects. How the money would be divvied up or applied for remains to be determined, but Yakima and other cities have presented key legislators with a wish list. City Manager Michael Morales said the connection between jobs and public projects also can’t be ignored, a point that has been made by supporters of the legislative proposal, dubbed Jobs Now. “If you look out there, the biggest projects that are keeping people working are public projects,” Morales said.

ALSO at The Stand — ‘Jobs Bond’ would spur state’s economy. private-sector growth (by AGC President Steve Isenhart and WSLC President Jeff Johnson)

Sen. Kilmer’s plan: ‘Ingenious job creation in hard times’

‘Jobs Now’ bill gains steam in Olympia with projects lists

► In today’s News Tribune — State representatives propose narrowing big banks’ tax breaks — House Republican leaders threw their support Wednesday behind a plan to narrow a tax break for big banks, an idea they unanimously voted to defeat less than a year ago. “We’ve looked into this,” said House GOP Leader Richard DeBolt. “It is not in the best interest of the state of Washington to pursue (the tax break) anymore.”

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Relatively rosy state budget forecast expected today— Washington might get the most optimistic budget outlook in years today when state economists deliver the latest revenue forecast. The demand for state services may be lower and the amount of expected revenue may be higher, signaling a shift of more than $500 million to the good.

► At Publicola — $340 million budget windfall a mixed blessing — Part of the reason caseloads are dropping is that the state has been cutting services for several years now. Projections of people who actually get to use the Basic Health Plan may be going down, but the number of uninsured people in the state has actually increased by 170,000 since 2008 to roughly 880,000. Cuts to social services go a long way in explaining why medical assistance to families caseloads are down by 10,000 cases or nearly 3%.

► In today’s Seattle Times — More cuts to home-care workforce will be costly in long run (by SEIU 775’s David Rolf) — One in five of the more than 42,000 people who care for seniors and people with disabilities lives in poverty, making barely more than $10 per hour on average. Up to half will be forced to leave the field this year. This high turnover not only increases costs but also will make it increasingly difficult to recruit enough caregivers to care for the growing senior population in our state.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — State budget problem won’t be solved mathematically (Jerry Cornfield column) — If a large bloc of Democrats keep pushing for revenue, then arguably this idea is the shortest path to finishing the budget. They can put it on the ballot with a simple majority which means Republican support isn’t required. What’s the worst that could happen? Voters reject the sales tax measure and lawmakers return to reassemble the pieces.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Filmmaking tax credit deserves another run (editorial) — The Senate reauthorized the Motion Picture Competitiveness Program last year, but the measure was left on the cutting room floor when representatives left Olympia without taking a vote. On Tuesday, the Senate voted 40-8 to revive the program. It’s time for the House to get the picture.

► In today’s Wenatchee World — House committee hears testimony on Wenatchee tax increase — Local officials and business leaders made their case to lawmakers on Wednesday for why the city of Wenatchee needs to impose a sales tax increase without a public vote.

► SEE the Washington State Labor Council’s Legislative Tracker™ to get status updates on many of the key bills of concern to the WSLC and its affiliated unions. (If your union would like to add a bill of particular concern to the Tracker™, please contact David Groves at dgroves@wslc.org.)

 


BOEING

 

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing on upswing provides Obama with backdrop for jobs message — When President Obama arrives Friday at the Boeing’s factory here, he’ll see a manufacturer on the upswing, with jet orders galore and new employees coming in the door every week. It’s precisely the picture of success the president has been promoting: an American manufacturer hiring workers at home rather than sending jobs abroad.

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Seattle Times — Book fulfills promise to slain union activists (Jerry Large column) — Ron Chew’s book, “Remembering Silme Domingo and Gene Viernes: The Legacy of Filipino American Labor Activism,” tells the story of two young men who fought for better treatment for cannery workers and who were fatally shot June 1, 1981, in their Pioneer Square office by members of a gang that opposed their work… Few canneries are left. But the social- and economic-justice work Domingo and Viernes started continues, through a web of organizations and personal connections that grew out of their early activism. Chew said, “I want people to have a sense of optimism about the possibilities for changing the world for the better.”

► In today’s Seattle Times — Amazon to buy Denny Triangle property; plans 3 big office towers — In one of Seattle’s biggest real-estate deals in years, Amazon.com has agreed to buy three blocks from Clise Properties and plans to build a 1 million-square-foot office tower on each.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — City council puts development on hold at K-C mill site — The mayor and other city officials want to keep the 90 acres on the waterfront devoted to industry or a commercial enterprise that puts people to work.

► From AP — Tri-Cities builder constructing all-American home — Builder Aaron Sullivan of Titan Homes says he’ll construct a home using materials all made in America. He got the idea from a Montana contractor doing the same thing and says the idea is to support jobs in the USA.

► In today’s Seattle Times — McKenna returns donations from foreclosure trustee firm — McKenna’s office had put the company, Northwest Trustee Services, on notice in 2010 that it could face investigation, but his campaign accepted donations from the donors on Sept. 30. The $13,800 in donations was made by three attorneys, and two wives, associated with the Bellevue-based firm.

 


NATIONAL

 

► From AP — U.S. unemployment applications drop to 4-year low — The number of people seeking jobless benefits in the U.S. fell to the lowest point in almost four years last week, the latest signal that the job market is steadily improving.

► In The Hill — Boxer sees ‘no path forward’ on Senate transportation bill — The bill’s sponsor says it has been held up by “ridiculously unrelated amendments,” even as she vows to continue pushing for a clean vote on the $109 billion transportation proposal.

► At Politico — Hawker Beechcraft plays the outsource card after losing defense contract — Shrinking defense budgets and election-year politics have tied up a relatively small, $355 million contract to supply 20 light attack aircraft to the Afghan air force. Now, some conservatives say the Obama administration is shipping U.S. jobs to South America.

► In today’s NY Times — GM reports its largest annual profit — General Motors reported the largest annual profit in its history on Thursday. (Mitt “Let Them Fail” Romney refuses to comment.)

► In today’s NY Times — The New Haven experiment (Nicholas Kristof column) — Teachers’ unions have often been an obstacle to efforts at school reforms. But, in New Haven, they are showing that they can be part of the solution

 


WHAT’S THE DEAL?

 

► At AFL-CIO Now — Tentative deal reached on jobless aid, payroll tax cut — Congress has reached a tentative deal extending unemployment insurance — reportedly through the end of the year — but caps at 73 the number of weeks for jobless benefits, down from the current 99.  And in exchange for extending the desperately needed UI program for the nation’s nearly 13 million workers and maintaining the payroll tax cut, Republicans also insisted on forcing cuts on federal workers’ pensions to pay for jobless benefits. AFGE President John Gage says the cuts to federal workers retirement “is simply wrong headed.”  He told reporters this afternoon that two successive federal pay freezes have cost workers some $60 billion.

► EDITOR’S NOTE — And the New York Times reports that President Obama is leaning on members of Congress who are reluctant to target federal employees, urging them to back the deal. ALSO at The Stand — Urge against federal workers’ pension cuts

► In today’s Washington Post — Payroll tax deal may include federal pension changes — Federal employees will probably be forced to pay more for their pensions as part of a plan to extend payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits through the end of the year.

► In today’s Washington Post — How much do federal employees earn? — One of the main arguments against forcing federal employees to pay more for their pensions is that most rank-and-file feds don’t make bloated, six-figure salaries — as fiscal conservatives and Republican lawmakers often allege.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► At Huffington Post — ‘Right-to-work’ laws and working class voters (by John Russo) — All the current Republican candidates have refused opportunities to speak to union leaders. Instead, they have signed on to the anti-labor agenda, including RTW legislation, proposed by conservative corporations, business groups, and donors. Together with their other economic proposals, they have established a Republican brand that embraces and even celebrates a distorted sense of morality and inequality of income, wealth, and power. But as Governors Kasich and Walker have found out, “as you sow so shall you reap.” Ultimately, these RTW proposals may well undermine the historic white working-class support of Republicans, and that could bode well for Obama’s re-election.

 


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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Posted by on Feb 16 2012. Filed under DAILY LINKS. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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