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Inslee on choices, McNerney on unions, The Stand on vacation…

Friday, March 29, 2013




eh-inslee-budget► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Inslee on budget: ‘I choose education over tax breaks’ — Gov. Jay Inslee unveiled his budget proposal Thursday, laying out plans to make some temporary taxes permanent and to end some tax exemptions to address both the state’s projected budget deficit and a court-ordered requirement to put more money into the state’s basic education system. Inslee seeks to raise some $1.2 billion from tax changes, with more than half of that coming from permanently extending business and beer taxes that were about to expire. The rest of the money would come from eliminating or lowering tax exemptions, raising new money from bottled water sales, trade-in vehicles and sales taxes on non-residents.

ALSO at The Stand — Inslee’s budget ideas show ‘bold leadership’

► In today’s Olympian — Inslee budget boosts agencies — Public sector workers in state government agencies got a boost from Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget outline Thursday, which proposes to honor contracts with some two-dozen worker unions while also raising taxes to pump $1.2 billion in new spending into K-12 public schools. But Inslee’s plan also calls for a suspension of I-732 for the third straight budget cycle, canceling cost-of-living raises for teachers.

► In the Columbia Basin Herald — Parents talk school overcrowding — At a community meeting on the Moses Lake School Board proposals to alleviate overcrowding, one woman said she didn’t think her children’s needs would be met at Moses Lake High School, and broke down in tears: “That school is like New Orleans. It’s the place for second chances.”

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Pot tax revenues will be less than half what’s projected, consultant says — Washington’s new pot consultant has one overarching, discouraging message for lawmakers and state budget writers: don’t look at weed as an ATM.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Expansion of payday loans needs a hard look (editorial) — There are some good consumer safeguards written into the bill, but does the state want people in short-term debt twice as deep as they can get now?




► In today’s Seattle Times — As Boeing flight simulators move, pilots and instructors won’t — In negotiations  with SPEEA to discuss the effects of that move, Boeing told the union it will not offer to relocate this group of employees to Miami. The group joined the union only last May. Rich Plunkett, a senior SPEEA official who attended the bargaining session, said Boeing’s move looks like “a strike at union representation.”

Boeing-McNerney-champagne► In the P.S. Business Journal — 5 messages from Boeing CEO Jim McNerney — McNerney says that if he were starting with a blank sheet of paper, he’d prefer not to have a union standing between him and his employees, but he respects workers’ choice to have a union. The big question for Boeing concerning labor relations is that it wants to create the most competitive aerospace country in the world. “Some unions work with us toward that end,” he said.

EDITOR’S NOTE — McNerney’s definition of “competitive” includes getting rid of Boeing employees’ defined-benefit pensions and replacing them with 401(k) savings plans. Meanwhile, his definition of CEO competitiveness included a 20% raise last year to $27.48 million (amid one of the biggest self-inflicted crises in company history) plus a substantial increase in his own defined-benefit pension to $3.18 million per year. If shareholders were starting with a blank piece of paper in 2005, they would have preferred Mulally over McNerney.

► At Leeham News — McNerney on unions and other stuff — McNerney’s comments about labor in the Business Journal notwithstanding, the anti-union sentiment at Boeing Corporate is obvious for all to see. The future of the 747-8 is in jeopardy. … We don’t count on building the 777X in Seattle. Boeing being Boeing, it will analyze site location because that’s what it does. But buying hundreds of acres in Charleston and the clear, obvious anti-union sentiment from Chicago are ominous signs. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is already on record vowing to see the 777X built here. But there is little he can do while Jim McNerney remains CEO.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Latest round of layoffs at T-Mobile draws static — Between 200 and 300 employees in the company’s operations group were laid off, ranging from administrative assistants to senior vice presidents. That’s in addition to a layoff of 100 employees in the marketing department earlier this month.




wage-peonage► At AFL-CIO Now — Who wants poverty wages in immigration bill? Employers — Senate Republicans rejected adding language to the bill that would ensure new W visas would only be issued when employing foreign workers would not hurt wages and working conditions of workers already in the United States. As Bloomberg columnist Margaret Carlson writes, that’s an incredible stance to take “with unemployment stubbornly high and an income gap reminiscent of the Gilded Age.”

► In today’s Washington Post — Dispute over guest-workers puts immigration talks at risk of delay — The Obama administration has remained on the sidelines as the standoff has worsened, calculating that the president would risk alienating Republican senators crucial to the process. Obama said this week that the issue is “resolvable.”

► At TPM — Poll: Republicans like immigration reform, not sold on immigrants — The policy outlook might appear bright for immigration reform, but Republicans have surprisingly deep animus towards immigrants themselves. Just 33% of Republicans agreed with the statement that immigrants “strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents” while 55% endorsed an opposing statement: “immigrants today are a burden on our country because they take our jobs, housing and health care.”

► In today’s Washington Post — Republican Rep. Don Young refers to Latinos using racial slur — Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), in an interview with a local radio station, referred to Latinos working on a ranch by using the derogatory term “wetbacks.”




PSNS► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Civilian defense worker furloughs cut from 22 to 14 days — Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, which employs about 11,000 of the area’s 13,700 defense workers, had agreed with its unions to take the nonpaid days on non-payday Fridays and the following Mondays, creating four-day weekends. It’s uncertain how Thursday’s changes will effect the plans.

► In The Hill — Pentagon can’t rule out 2014 furloughs — Even as the Pentagon’s leaders announced a reduction in the number of days workers will be furloughed this year, officials said budget uncertainties could lead to more furloughs in the next fiscal year.

► In today’s Washington Post — For federal workers, the furlough terrain is uneven — The budget ax was supposed to fall across the board but hardly does so, federal workers are learning. And the situation is quickly splitting the workforce into haves and have-nots, inflaming labor-management tensions and straining agency resources as everyone struggles through the details.

► In today’s Washington Post — Postal Service to close more than 50 mail-processing centers — The U.S. Postal Service announced that it would close more than 50 mail-processing centers this year, accelerating a consolidation plan that the agency developed to trim more than $2 billion in annual costs.

EDITOR’S NOTE — As we reported yesterday, the APWU has denounced the decision and the new closure list includes the processing center in Pasco.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Pasco mail handling facility to close this year — “Locally that means 47 full-time career federal employees will not have a job to do anymore,” said John Michael Wald, president of APWU Tri-Cities Area Local 2293.

► In today’s NY Times — Cheating our children (by Paul Krugman) — The deficit scolds who insist on reducing government borrowing have done far more damage to future generations than the federal debt ever did.




obama-compromise► In today’s NY Times — Talk of Medicare changes could open way to budget pact — As they explore possible fiscal deals, President Obama and Congressional Republicans have quietly raised the idea of broad systemic changes to Medicare that could produce significant savings and end the polarizing debate over Republican plans to privatize the insurance program for older Americans.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The jury’s still out on these latest proposed changes, but once again, the Republicans — who lost the last election thanks to their radical agenda — propose something outrageous and unpassable (privatized Medicare vouchers) and Democrats feel compelled to “compromise” (increase out-of-pocket expenses). Somebody failed Negotiations 101.

► In today’s NY Times — Deal reached to require paid sick leave in New York City — New York City is poised to mandate that thousands of companies provide paid time off for sick employees, bolstering a national movement that has been resisted by wary business leaders.

► In today’s Washington Post — JOBS Act falls short of grand promises — Nearly a year after its enactment, major portions of the act are in limbo, and other parts have failed to measure up to the grandiose job-creation promises.

► In today’s NY Times — Malicious obstruction in the Senate (editorial) — President Obama’s nominees for his cabinet and the courts face an unprecedented level of ridiculous Republican hurdles.

► In today’s Washington Post — Stop subsidizing Wall Street (by FDIC Vice Chairman Thomas Hoenig) — This form of corporate welfare allows the protected giants — those “too big to fail” — to profit when their subsidized bets pay off, while the safety net acts as a buffer when they lose, shifting much of the cost to the public. It is time to return our financial system to one in which success is no longer achieved through government protections but, rather, through innovation and competition.




► The entire staff of The Stand will be taking next week off for a team-building Spring Break retreat at an undisclosed location…

We’ll be back on Monday, April 8.  Guess we’ll have to go now.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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