► At AFL-CIO Now — Washington Jobs Bonds ‘a great victory’ for workers, state (crosspost from The Stand) — With strong bipartisan support, the Washington state legislature today passed the Infrastructure Jobs Bonds sought by a labor-business coalition to create some 20,000 jobs throughout the state. Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson called it “a great victory for the working men and women of our state, especially those in the construction industry who have suffered from such high unemployment since the beginning of the recession.”
► Today’s local coverage of some Jobs Bond-funded construction projects in The Columbian (Clark County Skills Center buildings, Clark County Family YMCA remodel, improvements at Vancouver’s Waterfront Park, funding for Port of Vancouver’s Centennial Industrial Park); The Daily News (LCC Health and Science Building easing overcrowded classrooms and bringing state-of-the art laboratories to campus, plus Longview’s Downtown Streetscape project); The Seattle Times (adding third building at UW-Bothell to add space for 1,000 more students); and The Tri-City Herald(two Pasco rail projects that will help secure new tenants for the Heritage Industrial Center).
MORE STATE GOVERNMENT
► In today’s Seattle Times — Lawmakers wrap up session after marathon give and take — Democrats fought off potentially big cuts to the safety net and, with GOP help, eliminated a tax break for big banks. Republicans pushed through some structural changes to the budget, including a reduction in pension benefits, that they say will save the state money in the long run.
EDITOR’S NOTE — It was a relief to read in the 4th paragraph that corporate think-tank shiller Richard Davis gave the budget “a passing grade.” Whew!
► AT WFSE.org — State employees still standing — but challenges remain — Since 2008, they’ve tried to use the Great Recession to do us in. Layoffs, furloughs, pay cuts, higher caseloads, higher health costs. But they couldn’t do it. We’re still here. But this year’s bad pension bill shows they now will use the economic recovery to try to finish us off. Their goal: Less collective bargaining, more contracting out, fewer state employees, higher health costs. In the recession, they had to attack and cut to stop the budgetary bleeding. In the recovery, their plan is to attack and cut to “sustain the recovery.”
► At Publicola — Was it really a budget compromise or did the Democrats actually win? — While all the editorials have focused on the brilliance of the GOP coup and how they commandeered the session, if you actually look at what happened, the Democrats are the surprise winners.
► At TheOlympian.com — State gains $25M in April revenue report
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Dozens rally as longshoreman Ronald Stavas reports for jail sentence — Dozens of longshoremen gathered at the Cowlitz County Jail on Wednesday morning to show their support for fellow dockworker Ronald P. Stavas, who began a 22-day sentence after pleading guilty to charges related to last summer’s tumultuous labor dispute with the EGT grain terminal.
► In today’s Skagit Valley Herald — Whatcom County approves Cherry Point proposal — The proposal to build a large cargo terminal at Cherry Point north of Bellingham was recently approved by the Whatcom County Planning Department. SSA Marine’s plans outlined the project and its plans for mitigating related environmental impacts. The approval means the environmental review and permitting process could get underway.
► In The Hill — AFL-CIO bolsters Super-PAC for general election push— Today, the AFL-CIO will announce that the Workers’ Voice super-PAC is bringing on new staff and revving up its presence online. The plan is to use email and social media to connect to voters. In addition, it will unveil a new digital organizing tool called Amicus that combines online campaigning with labor’s traditional strength in ground-game canvassing and phone banking.
► At TPM — Romney backer McMorris Rodgers, who praises support for ‘pay equity,’ voted against Ledbetter — Facing criticism on his policies toward women, the Romney campaign rolls out a list of statements from female supporters. The latest from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) praises Romney’s commitment to “pay equity for women.” But she voted against the voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.
► In today’s NY Times — The wages of ideology (editorial) — An attack on equal pay for women by Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin is part of a national Republican agenda.
► At TheOlympian.com — AG race: Ferguson catches Dunn with March fundraising
► At AFL-CIO Now — State lawmakers back off ‘right-to-work’ — but not yet toward reason — While anti-worker bills in state capitols across the country still threaten middle-class families, Republican state legislatures are beginning to second-guess whether to continue pursuing their extreme agenda attacking working families.
► At Politico — Pew: States don’t track tax breaks — The report identified 13 states — including Washington and Oregon — that have developed the best review of their business-friendly tax incentive programs. Twelve other states have mixed results. But fully half the states have not taken the basic steps needed to know whether their incentives are effective.
► In today’s LA Times — California workers’ comp overhaul is stirring — Unions and large employers are quietly crafting the biggest reform in a decade. The system’s pendulum, which swung in favor of business and insurers last time, appears to be moving toward injured workers.
► In today’s NY Times — Obama won’t order ban on gay bias — The president has disappointed and vexed gay supporters with his decision not to sign an executive order banning discrimination by employers with federal contracts.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Taxes are for the common good (Jerry Large column) — I’ve always thought we’d have a more rational tax policy if we at least agreed that taxpaying is ultimately a civic duty. Then we might have a more collegial discussion about who pays how much, and what kind of taxes we should have. A prerequisite is recognizing that we are a community, that we are in it together — and that means giving up some individual autonomy for the benefit of the whole. Fragmented community equals fragmented ideas about taxes and the things they pay for at every level of government.
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.