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Save our schools, Kochs vs. labor, ‘outrageous’ pay…



► In today’s Olympian — Democrats’ budget leaves schools alone—  Senate Democratic leaders laid out a partisan budget plan Tuesday that spares public schools and universities from new spending cuts and, like the House Democrats’ offering last week, avoids a tax referendum. The proposal also saves big swaths of the human services safety net from cuts. But it does all that by delaying $330 million in payments to K-12 schools, grabbing $71 million in liquor revenues from local governments and drawing down state reserves by about $250 million more than Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed.

Several conservative or swing Democrats — including Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam, Sen. Brian Hatfield of Raymond and Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens — said they will need to see “reforms” pass in the House before they can back the plan. Each want something: from four-year balanced budgeting to tougher new teacher evaluations in public schools, inclusion of mill waste products as a renewable energy resource, delays for storm water rules, and changes in the way public school employees get their health insurance.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Proposed budget avoids tax increases, school cuts, but still looking for votes — If no GOP members cross over, passage will require support of moderate Democrats, chiefly members of the so-called Roadkill Caucus who’ve shown a propensity to align with Republicans on fiscal matters. “We are willing to stay here through another special session if necessary to get some of these reforms passed,” Sen. Hobbs says.

► At Publicola — State cannot afford more cuts to higher education(by Ron Sims) — As Washington State’s public colleges and universities face a quiet crisis created by a massive state divestment in higher education over the last few years, our long-term economic future as a state is being put in serious jeopardy. This path of state disinvestment is compromising access, raising class sizes, reducing course offerings, and creating serious hardships across Washington State for students and their families, particularly those of more modest means. This downward slide needs to be stopped, and stopped quickly.

► CHECK OUT 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.




► In today’s News Tribune — Martinac vessel work is good news for tribes, veterans with apprenticeships— Tacoma’s last remaining major shipyard, J.M. Martinac Shipbuilding Corp., on Tuesday announced a new apprenticeship program designed to create a new generation of skilled shipbuilders while providing jobs for tribal members and military veterans.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s newest jumbo jet delivered to first buyer — Boeing delivered the first 747-8 Intercontinental Tuesday to an unidentified client, but the latest and biggest version of its jumbo jet is hardly ready for its mysterious owner: Completing the interior will take until 2014.




► In today’s LA Times — Romney averts disaster in Michigan primary — His primary victories in Arizona and his native Michigan give him badly needed momentum, if not the conservative stamp of approval.

► In today’s NY Times — What Mitt lost while he won (by Ross Douthat) — Months and months of careful positioning have come undone by several weeks of gaffes and defensive political maneuverings. Between his verbal miscues and his clumsy attempts to defend his right flank on policy, the likely Republican nominee is suddenly headed for the kind of political and ideological cul-de-sac that losing presidential candidates often end up occupying.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Romney lies about auto rescue; Obama tells UAW, ‘I bet on American workers’ — Romney says Obama should have let Chrysler and GM go bankrupt and Obama instead “gave the companies to the UAW.” Says Politifact’s Truth-O-Meter: “All the experts we talked to agreed that Romney’s statement is just flat wrong. Our ruling: False.” Responds Obama: “You know why I knew this rescue would succeed? … I placed my bet on American workers. And I’d make that same bet again any day of the week. Because three years later, that bet is paying off for America. Three years later, the American auto industry is back.”

► From ABC News — Obama suggests Romney shoveling a load of ‘you know what’

► At Huffington Post — Wisconsin Gov. Walker trails likely opponents in new poll — A new poll finds Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) trailing two likely opponents in a recall election. However, their narrow leads suggest a long road ahead for Democrats hoping to unseat the embattled governor.

► At Politico — Sen. Olympia Snowe’s retirement a boon for Democrats




► At TPM — Unions face off against Koch group over Arizona bills — Three of the four anti-collective bargaining bills stalled in the Senate two weeks ago, but one returned to life Tuesday and was quickly passed. Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group backed by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, stepped into the fray on Friday with a call for its Arizona supporters to pressure lawmakers to bring all of the bills back.

► At Politico — Jobs Council mostly mum on corporate tax plan— That’s despite a consensus among the members in favor of cutting tax rates, the main thrust of Obama’s proposal. But the president’s decision to back a minimum tax on global earnings, going directly against his council’s recommendation, snubbed the advice of Jeff Immelt, the General Electric CEO and chairman of the jobs council.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Immelt’s multinational GE, the 6th largest company in the U.S. and the 14th most profitable, paid a scandalously miniscule 2.3% tax rate over the past decade, so his company stands to pay more with any new “minimum tax” proposal. He will never support corporate tax reform that doesn’t uniformly lower taxes for already underpaying corporations. On the issue of corporate tax reform, this Council of CEOs is a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham. Speaking of which…

► At Huffington Post — JPMorgan Chase CEO: Newspaper industry pay ‘just damned outrageous’ — The chief executive of the biggest bank in the United States (who took down $24 million last year) says journalists are ridiculously overpaid. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon called the percentage of newspaper company revenue paid out to employees “just damned outrageous… Worse than that, you [the media] don’t even make any money!”

► In today’s Seattle Times — Recession lingers for African-Americans, Hispanics (by Jon Talton) — African-American unemployment exceeded 10% in 24 states and the District of Columbia in the third quarter of 2011; for Hispanics it was 14 states. Little relief is expected in 2012.

► At Huffington Post — ‘Tip theft’ bill would crack down on alleged employer skimming — A bill introduced in Rhode Island’s legislature this week would prevent restaurants and hotels in the state from pocketing portions of the “service fees” that many customers wrongly assume go to workers.

► In today’s NY Times — Undermining state campaign laws (editorial) — The cases in Montana show how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision is upending critically important state campaign spending laws that ban unlimited corporate donations.

► At Huffington Post — Goldman Sachs workers unionize in Japan — The workers made the decision after the bank allegedly attempted to convince certain employees to voluntarily resign in order to get around Japanese labor laws that make laying off workers difficult.


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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