Wednesday, March 20, 2013
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — GOP plan would add $300 million to higher ed — Senate Republicans announced what they dubbed a bold plan to reverse the trend in the state’s public colleges and universities, saying they wanted to add $300 million to the budget for higher education over the next two years and cut tuition by 3%. But in announcing the plan, sponsors refused to detail how they would find that $300 million in a budget that already is out of balance and has competing demands for the money that is expected to be there. They won’t raise taxes, they said.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Restore higher ed funding (editorial) — In the miasma of the Great Recession, austerity became the new normal, with tuition hikes a partial backfill for draconian state funding cuts. Since the 2005-07 biennium, tuition at Washington’s research universities has soared 118%, with a corresponding decline in state funding of 36% (read: less for more.) We countenance the decline at our own peril.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Sen. Roach tells Transportation Commission it can’t raise bridge tolls — Sen. Pam Roach (R-Auburn) said that there won’t be any toll increases on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge this year because the commission no longer has authority to raise rates and the Legislature won’t have time.
► From AP — Boeing clout: it’s why Congress is silent on 787 — Despite the plane’s grounding and the safety issues raised by its cutting-edge technology, there have been no congressional hearings or news conferences focusing on the problems, and little commentary from lawmakers who normally pounce at the first sign of trouble.
► In today’s Peninsula Daily News — Nissan Paper, union going back to bargaining table with mediator — Officials representing the company and AWPPW Local 155 say that they will reopen talks — possibly by next week and with mediator Kathleen Erskine present — in the hopes of resolving a 22-month impasse over a new contract.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Panel upholds layoffs of city workers — Ten city workers laid off last year from the East Central Community Center lost an effort to regain their jobs. The Spokane Civil Service Commission rejected a complaint from AFSCME Local 270, which represented the laid-off workers.
► At TPM — Democrats come up short in sequestration standoff — Across the country, newspapers carry reports of furloughs, airport closings, children kicked out of Head Start. The consequences are beginning to snowball. But lawmakers have reacted to the bad news with a collective shrug. That’s left Democrats resigned to malfunctioning and underfunded government in perpetuity, and Republicans confident they can weather the coming months and turn sequestration spending levels into a new normal.
ALSO at The Stand — Call Congress TODAY at 1-888-659-9401 — Urge your members of Congress to repeal sequestration as part of Wednesday’s National Day of Action. Also, attend events planned in Seattle, Spokane and Lakewood.
► In The Hill — Emerging immigration deal receives House leaders’ bipartisan backing — A group of eight lawmakers — four Republicans and four Democrats — has been meeting privately to craft a comprehensive immigration overhaul, and they told House Republican leaders that they are close to a deal.
► In today’s NY Times — GOP opposition to immigration law is falling away — Republican opposition to legalizing the status of millions of illegal immigrants is crumbling in the nation’s capital as leading lawmakers in the party scramble to halt eroding support among Hispanic voters — a shift that is providing strong momentum for an overhaul of immigration laws.
► In today’s Washington Post — America’s war legacy: Unemployment — Many firms say they want to hire veterans, but after a decade of war, many former soldiers are still struggling to find work.
► At Huffington Post — Low-wage workers feel worse off now than during the recession — As a workforce sector, those earning $35,000 or less annually are generally pessimistic about their finances and career prospects.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Sale of Hostess brands approved by judge — A bankruptcy judge has approved the sale of the sweet cake business formerly operated by Hostess Brands, clearing the way for Twinkies and other brands to return to shelves.
► In today’s Seattle Times — The Alpo Generation (by Jon Talton) — The Wall Street Journal reports today, “Workers and employers in the U.S. are bracing for a retirement crisis, even as the stock market sits near highs and the economy shows signs of improvement.” What passes for liberals now can correctly point to the elimination of guaranteed pensions (corporations are amassing record cash), stagnant and falling wages, job insecurity, and the weakening of the social safety net and sense of common purpose. For all of President Obama’s rhetoric castigating the Republicans for being the party of “you’re on your own,” he is presiding over just such a looming disaster. It is already hurting individuals and families, largely in silence. But ahead is a gathering storm. It’s causes and consequences will do great damage to America.
► In today’s Washington Post — Strapped for retirement, more workers hope to work longer — Nearly half of Americans have little or no confidence they are financially prepared for retirement, a problem many of them intend to solve by working longer. But those plans may be unrealistic. The survey found that 47% of workers end up leaving the job unexpectedly, largely because of disabilities or other health issues or problems at work.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.