The Stand

Freshman class, postal ‘reforms,’ AFSCME election…

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STATE LEGISLATURE

 

► From AP — Freshman House Democrats seek change in state’s tax code— Freshman House Democrats call for wide-ranging changes to the state’s tax code, including creating a state capital gains tax and eliminating the out-of-state sales tax exemption. Washington is one of eight states that don’t tax capital gains and the only one exempting out-of-state consumers from its sales tax. Because the state relies heavily on the sales tax, Washington has the most regressive tax policy in the country.

► At Publicola — AWB to Chopp: We’re watching you — The state business lobby sends Democratic leadership a stern letter as a batch of liberal bills take center stage.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — House sends Hatfield’s biomass bill to Gov. Gregoire— The state House on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a bill to include decades-old wood waste incinerators and boilers at pulp mills as renewable energy.

► From AP — Bill would prevent 520 work stoppage — HB 2814 would grant the project an exemption from the state’s Shoreline Management Act, which requires a work stoppage until any lawsuit appealing the granting of an environmental permit is resolved.

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Olympian — State’s unemployment rate falls to 8.3%— The state added 13,200 jobs last month. Professional and business services, retail trade, and education and health services led the state’s job growth last month. Government showed the most job losses with 1,100. Meanwhile, an estimated 291,400 people still were without a job last month, and as of Feb. 25, 74,616 workers had exhausted their jobless benefits.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Letters to the Editor on “Postal Reforms” — The Times gets an earful in response to one of its typically ideological (and ill-informed) editorials, including from David Yao of the Greater Seattle APWU, who writes: “The $3.3 billion quarterly loss cited in the editorial includes a $200 million operational profit for the quarter. But this is more than wiped out by a $3.1 billion charge for the congressionally mandated prepayments on future health benefits, the like of which has not been forced on any other institution, public or private.”

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — $50 million expansion on horizon for Port of Kalama grain terminal— Area laborers’ union leaders say they are excited to hear about the possible expansion at the Temco grain terminal. However, they’re worried that local construction workers could be left out of the project, as local labor leaders say happened at the EGT terminal at the Port of Longview.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — SW Washington lands labor grants for training displaced workers— Two federal worker retraining grants totaling $2.5 million could help put 665 area manufacturing workers back on the job in Cowlitz, Clark and Wahkiakum counties.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Alaska Air pays average $5,200 annual bonus to local employees — The bonus, awarded for exceeding 2011 operational and financial goals, is about 6.75 of annual pay, or more than three weeks’ pay for most workers.

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — No estimate yet on when BP Cherry Point refinery will return to full production after fire

 


ELECTION

 

► In today’s Seattle Times — Local GOP: Divided they stand — As the Republican party’s most-protracted primary season in years rolls into Washington this weekend, GOP voters here appear as divided as they are everywhere else.

► In today’s NY Times — Romney wins, middle class loses (editorial) — Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum fought each other to nearly a draw in the Michigan primary, but together they may have lost Michigan for their party by running campaigns that were completely disconnected from the lives of middle-class voters and pushed ever farther to the right margins of American politics.

DON’T FORGET! 99% will roll out the red carpet TODAY for Mitt R-money — Be there!

 


NATIONAL

 

► At Huffington Post — Lee Saunders, AFSCME Treasurer, launching historic bid to be union’s president — He will be running to be the union’s president, a post being vacated by long-time leader Gerald McEntee. Unlike elections past, Saunders won’t run unopposed. Danny Donohue, president of the largest AFSCME local in the country — the 265,000-strong New York State Civil Service Employees Association — has also launched a bid. But should Saunders find himself elevated up the ranks, he would become the first black president of the 1.6 million-member AFSCME and one of the highest union officials of African-American descent ever.

► In The Hill — Amid rising gas prices, Obama to call for vote on killing oil tax breaks — President Barack Obama intends to press lawmakers Thursday to quickly strip billions of dollars in oil industry tax breaks.

► In today’s Washington Post — Obama team fires back at Koch brothers — The president’s re-election campaign is accusing the Koch brothers-funded conservative group Americans for Prosperity of faking its grassroots support.

► In today’s LA Times — ‘1,000 Ways to Die’ halts production — The shutdown comes less than a week after nearly 30 crew members went on strike, alleging their efforts to unionize the show were thwarted by their employer, Original Productions.

 


TODAY’S MUST-READ

 

► In today’s NY Times — A civil right to unionize (by Richard D. Kahlenberg and Moshe Z. Marvit) — It’s time to add the right to organize a labor union, without employer discrimination, to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, because that right is as fundamental as freedom from discrimination in employment and education.

While there are many factors that help explain why the nation has progressed on Martin Luther King’s vision for civil rights while it has moved backward on his goal of economic equality, among the most important is the substantial difference between the strength of our laws on civil rights and labor. It is time to write protections for labor into the Civil Rights Act itself.

 


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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