Monday, February 25, 2013
► In Sunday’s Everett Herald — Boosting the middle class (editorial) — The value of a new Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FMLI) plan for Washington is that it’s (mostly) self-financing and won’t burden small businesses, the engine of the Northwest’s recovery. The plan augments the family-leave program established in 2007, providing up to 12 weeks to care for a new child or gravely ill family member, as well as 12 weeks for a worker’s own serious health condition.
Start-up costs are a little over $8 million per year for the first 2 years, or $17 million for the biennium. This amount would be recovered, since payroll premiums would begin in July 2014 (read: this would not be a charge on the general fund.) Total costs would be 0.2% of wages split between employers and employees. For someone earning $50,000, that translates into a weekly premium of 96 cents. FMLI’s Snohomish County proponents include HB 1457’s co-sponsor, Rep. Mike Sells, and SB 5292 co-sponsors Sens. Paull Shin and Nick Harper. It merits support.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — SPEEA talks with Boeing resume this week — The union representing Boeing Co. technical workers is polling members online through Wednesday about contract priorities as negotiations with the company resume this week.
► In today’s Washington Post — White House releases state-by-state breakdown of sequester’s effects — The White House on Sunday detailed how the deep spending cuts set to begin this week would affect programs in every state and the District, as President Obama launched a last-ditch effort to pressure congressional Republicans to compromise on a way to stop the across-the-board cuts.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State could lose millions if feds don’t reach a deal
ALSO today at the Stand — How sequestration will affect Washington
► In The Hill — Voters: Pentagon should bear brunt of cuts — A majority of voters believe cutting America’s debt is more important than maintaining domestic and military programs at their current levels, according to a new poll. But the public also feel strongly that the budget should be balanced on the back of reductions to defense spending rather than through cuts to programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
► In today’s NY Times — Budget impasse indicates shift for GOP — Republican lawmakers most keenly dedicated to shrinking the size of government are now more dominant than the bloc committed foremost to a robust national defense, particularly in the House.
► In today’s NY Times — Defense and the sequester (editorial) — The military budget not only can be cut, but should be cut, though not with this kind of political machete.
► In the National Journal — Business, labor agree, U.S. needs better data on immigration — In announcing their principles for immigration reform this week, two of the nation’s largest lobbies revived an old idea: creating a federal bureau to study labor shortages.
► At Politico — Signs of immigration roadblocks in Congress — On the face of things, there’s plenty of momentum in Congress. But momentum can change quickly, and last week saw signs of roadblocks for immigration legislation.
► In the Tri-City Herald — Gov. Inslee: Six Hanford tanks are leaking — The discovery of additional leaking tanks “is disturbing news,” and raises more concerns about the condition of the rest of Hanford’s 149 single-shell tanks, the governor said. But there is no imminent health danger to the public from the leaks, he said, and DOE agreed.
► In the Seattle Times — Judge blocks longshore workers’ arena lawsuit — Longshore workers and their attorneys Friday vowed to keep fighting the proposed Sodo sports arena after a King County judge tossed their lawsuit challenging the location.
► In the Oregonian — Columbia River Crossing barrels toward Salem, critics in its wake — Oregon’s House will consider a bill Monday authorizing $450 million in bonds expected to be matched by Washington state. Supporters are confident the House will pass the measure, which the Senate will consider as soon as March 4.
► In the News Tribune — Washington restaurant owners balancing better wages with business reality — From the standpoint of the labor groups who backed Washington’s minimum-wage initiative in 1998, the results have been overwhelmingly positive. “While minimum-wage jobs still aren’t what we call ‘family wage jobs,’ at least people with those jobs in Washington are better off than their peers in other states when it comes to buying the basic necessities,” said Lynne Dodson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council. “They’re out there in the economy spending that money every day at businesses in Washington.”
► From the Contributor — 40% of Americans now make less than 1968 minimum wage — The minimum wage would be $16.50 an hour — $33,000 a year — if it had kept up with the growth of productivity since 1968. To put the effect of this a different way, 40% of Americans now make less than the 1968 minimum wage, had the minimum wage kept pace with productivity gains.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.