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Olympia’s big guns, schooling LaHood, ‘Silver Springs’…

Friday, April 12, 2013




microsoft-amazon► At — Washington State tax knife may slice Microsoft, Amazon — Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing to cut certain tax breaks as part of a bid to patch together the more than $1.5 billion projected deficit and respond effectively to a Washington Supreme Court ruling that the state isn’t contributing enough to public education. The bill on the table right now would narrow B&O and sales tax exemptions for import commerce. The technology sector would be hit the worst, as the Democrats seek to narrow the high-tech research & development B&O credit and repeal the R&D sales & use tax exemption. As I write this, the Capitol is swarming with lobbyists. One such man, who asked to not be named, said that every major company — Amazon and Microsoft included — has sent in the “big guns” to try to see that such a bill is not passed.

ALSO today at The Stand — State lawmakers should call the corporate bluff on higher education (by John Burbank) — The leaders of Washington’s biggest corporations say they want more graduates from the state’s colleges and universities to employ. It is up to our Legislature to put forward a solution which will allow these corporations to help solve a problem they helped create with the billions of dollars in tax breaks they get from the State Legislature each year.

► In today’s Olympian — Coal-export impact study loses steam — A House Democratic budget proposal to spend $150,000 to study the larger economic impact of coal-export facilities on Washington state was dying just one day after majority Democrats introduced their proposed $34.5 billion operating budget plan on Wednesday.

► At PubliCola — Republican Caucus vs. LaHood — This video shows yesterday’s private meeting between the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Gov. Jay Inslee, also at the meeting, brought LaHood to Olympia to discuss the controversial Columbia River Crossing project. After the meeting, Sen. Don Benton (R-Vancouver), who adamantly opposes the project, in part because it would include light rail, posted on his web page that he and the MCC “schooled” LaHood.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Senate Democrats apologize to LaHood — for Republicans — State Senate Democrats sent a letter of apology to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood for what they viewed as a rude reception on Wednesday by the GOP-led majority caucus. “It was appalling to see the tenor of the reception he received from Sen. (Don) Benton and the Republican majority, “ Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver) said.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Thanks for putting him in charge, Sen. Tom.

► In today’s Olympian — New GA home not happening in 2013 budget — The Senate’s capital budget author Jim Honeyford (R-Sunnyside) said that a House plan to replace the state General Administration building with a new structure next door is a no-go for him. He said a more comprehensive solution to the state’s building needs could be a topic for negotiation when the House and Senate start talks to reconcile their rival $3.6 billion capital-construction budgets in the next week.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Thanks for putting him in charge, Sen. Tom.

► In the PS Business Journal — Bill favoring payday lender MoneyTree runs out of time — The Legislature apparently will not be revamping the state’s payday lending laws this year in Olympia. Payday-loan provider MoneyTree was seeking to change state law to let the lender make high-interest installment loans of up to six months.

In today’s Spokesman-Review — State creates news releases, but very few jobs (editorial) — South Carolina hasn’t home-grown anything like a Boeing, a Microsoft, an Amazon or a Starbucks, but any executives looking to relocate or expand their companies would look at the news headlines on the two state’s Department of Commerce websites and wonder just what business Washington is in, if any. There’s no doubt looking at South Carolina’s.




PSNS► From AP — Pentagon looking to cut furlough days, officials say — Senior Pentagon leaders are taking another look at sharply reducing the number of unpaid furlough days that department civilians will have to take in the coming months, suggesting they may be able to cut the number from 14 to as few as seven, defense officials said Thursday.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Sinclair known for conservative political tilt — Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is buying Seattle-based Fisher Communications, may also bring their conservative political leanings, even to one of the most liberal cities in the country.

EDITOR’S NOTE — That’s rich. Serving “one of the most liberal cities in the country,” hasn’t stopped The Seattle Times itself from endorsing and actively campaigning for conservative Republicans, why should it stop Sinclair?




sack-obama-soc-sec► At Huffington Post — President’s Social Security plan is a really, really bad idea (by Bob Cesca) — While attempting to play the role of the grown-up in the room and apparently taking responsible steps toward deficit reduction and Social Security salvation, President Obama is only managing to wrap his entire presidency around the big political third rail. Not only is the idea a punitive one for seniors, but the president is also fueling a series of inside-D.C. myths.

► At Huffington Post — In 2008, Obama vowed never to cut Social Security cost-of-living adjustments (video) — “John McCain’s campaign has gone even further, suggesting that the best answer for the growing pressures on Social Security might be to cut cost-of-living adjustments or raise the retirement age. Let me be clear: I will not do either,” Obama said in a rarely viewed video that was posted online.




► In today’s Yakima H-R —Immigration bill clears hurdle on farmworkers — Senators writing a landmark immigration bill broke a logjam between farm worker unions and growers Thursday, reaching a tentative agreement on the number of future agricultural visas and pay scales for foreign farm workers.

► From AP — AP source: Immigration bill could exclude many — A bipartisan immigration bill soon to be introduced in the Senate could exclude hundreds of thousands of immigrants here illegally from ever becoming U.S. citizens, according to a Senate aide. The bill would bar anyone who arrived in the U.S. after Dec. 31, 2011, from applying for legal status and ultimately citizenship. It also would require applicants to have a clean criminal record and show enough employment or financial stability that they’re likely to stay off welfare.

nyt-hi-tech-visas► In today’s NY Times — Tech firms push to hire more workers from abroad — Silicon Valley is battling in Washington to make the immigration process easier for thousands of people in the country on a temporary work visas, many of them Indian engineers, while also pushing to hire many more guest workers from abroad. Industry lobbyists who have spoken to Senate staff members say they are optimistic about at least two items high on their wish list: a fast-track green card line for math and science graduates on temporary work visas and a near doubling of the visas for temporary workers.

► In today’s NY Times — Immigration bill expected to open opportunities based on work skills — The sweeping bill that a bipartisan group of senators is preparing will include a major new merit-based program for foreigners to become permanent legal residents based on their work skills, including both high-skilled and blue-collar workers, sources say.




Time-Made-in-the-USA► In Time Magazine — How ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ is making a comeback — It’s perhaps the best economic news the U.S. has witnessed since the rise of Silicon Valley: Made in the USA is making a comeback. Climbing out of the recession, the U.S. has seen its manufacturing growth outpace that of other advanced nations, with some 500,000 jobs created in the past three years. It marks the first time in more than a decade that the number of factory jobs has gone up instead of down.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Philadelphia falls one vote short of sick days for over 180,000 workers — With 12 votes needed, only 11 members of the Philadelphia City Council were willing to override Mayor Michael Nutter’s veto of the sick leave bill. For the second time in three years, corporate interests defeated a measure that would allow more than 180,000 Philadelphians to finally earn sick days.

► At Daily Kos — The big labor win almost nobody noticed — The historic merger between US Airways and American Airlines is a huge win for labor unions, for good well-paying jobs, and for the public. It’s a big loss for American’s old management, for the horde of consultants and advisers, and for the banks which would have undoubtedly profited from issuing more debt for the restructured corporation. And it’s a lesson for the management at other companies who are tempted to try the same trick.




► For no reason, other than its start-to-finish awesomeness, the entire staff of The Stand presents Fleetwood Mac performing “Silver Springs” in 1997. Enjoy.


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