Monday, April 15, 2013
COLUMBIA RIVER CROSSING
► In Sunday’s Columbian — The Big Divide: Competing political wills block the way — Most business and civic groups, as well as local governments, see a new Interstate 5 bridge as a main ingredient of Clark County’s future prosperity. But their critics aim to sink the proposed CRC, in part because the $3.4 billion Interstate 5 Bridge replacement project will bring light rail into Clark County. If they’re successful, CRC opponents will tear into the very fabric of the leadership elite’s sense of what the county needs to thrive.
► In today’s Columbian — The Big Divide, Day 2: How Clark County really feels about CRC — While local opinion matters, decisions about money are being made elsewhere — in Washington, D.C., and in the state capitols of Olympia and Salem, Ore. The project appears headed for what many believe is a make-or-break moment in the Washington Legislature this spring.
► In today’s Columbian — The Big Divide, Day 2: Poll results — A total of 46% of respondents said they support the CRC, with 45% against after being told the project’s cost and that users would pay a toll. The remaining 9% were undecided.
► In Sunday’s Columbian — C-Tran at a crossroads over light rail — It boils down to yes or no. Should C-Tran stay the course on the Columbia River Crossing, and find a way to pay the local cost of operating light rail in Vancouver?
► In the Columbian — Washington Senate leaders say ‘no’ to money for CRC — Two key members of the state Senate on Friday threw cold water on the prospects for putting up the money that Gov. Jay Inslee says is necessary to keep the estimated $3.1 billion project on track — and to attract up to $1.2 billion in federal support.
► In today’s News Tribune — CRC fight could determine fate of SR 167 — The South Sound’s big road project is the most expensive one riding on the Legislature’s decision on a gas tax increase. That means the so-called Puget Sound Gateway, endorsed last week by Gov. Jay Inslee, also has the most to lose if a fight over a Vancouver bridge ends up sinking the whole tax package.
► In the Peninsula Daily News — House passes its own budget — The State House’s version of a proposed 2013-2015 biennium state budget passed more or less along party lines on Friday evening. The proposed $34.5 billion biennium budget passed 53-43, after about 25 amendments were debated and three minor ones enacted.
ALSO at The Stand — House delivers sustainable, responsible budget (WSLC Legislative Update)
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Washington’s budget could put state prisoners in county jails — Versions of the state House and Senate biennial operating budgets released last week require the state Department of Corrections to look at contracting with counties for housing certain medium-security offenders.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Air Force says budget cuts won’t hit Boeing tanker — U.S. Air Force officials call the Boeing Co.’s aerial-refueling tanker, to be built in Everett, their top acquisition priority, even as the agency faces $10 billion in budget cuts this fiscal year.
► In the PS Business Journal — FAA orders inspections for Boeing 737s — The Federal Aviation Administration is ordering inspections on more than 1,000 737s to look for improperly manufactured parts on the planes that could cause the pilot to lose control.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — For mill workers, a year shaped by loss — After years spent toiling at Kimberly-Clark on Everett’s waterfront, some retired sooner than they wanted. Others found new careers. Some went back to school. The unluckiest ones continue to hunt for jobs and paychecks.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — STA unveils plans to fix crowded corridors — Spokane Transit Authority last week unveiled a series of concepts to improve public transportation in future years. The cost ranges up to $400 million for construction of modern electric trolleys on heavily used routes. The trolleys would operate on pavement rather than rails. Light rail would likely double the cost.
► At AFL-CIO Now — We need to invest in public transit to keep America’s economy moving (by USW member Brian Lombardozzi) — Instead of pushing through an austerity based ideological agenda that pushes privatization of public resources to effectively shrink government that will further devastate our nation’s infrastructure, jeopardize needed services and threaten jobs in mass transit, our nation’s policymakers should look at how the poor management ruining service delivery; the aging buses plaguing a city; or the inadequate investment that is causing mass disrepair of city infrastructure can be solved through investment and sensible reform.
► In The Hill — On tax day, Republicans to vote on bill to fire federal workers who owe back taxes — The House approved similar legislation last year in a 263-114 vote that saw 59 Democrats join with Republicans to pass the bill. The Senate never considered the bill in the last Congress.
► In The Hill — Labor fight one front in GOP war (by Juan Williams) — The NLRB, along with the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau and appellate courts, is a key target for the GOP’s cynical — but successful — strategy of negating the American people’s decision to twice elect a liberal Democrat as president. Republicans are trying to deny him the control he should rightfully have over who should run government agencies. The NLRB is the focus of Republican efforts to defeat the president’s power because the GOP sees fundraising gold in telling the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and big corporations that they are preventing Democrats from giving unions the right to more easily organize.
ALSO today at The Stand — House GOP tries to take out the NLRB
► In The Hill — GOP report slams Obama Labor nominee over DOJ-brokered deal — Republican lawmakers on Sunday released a sharply critical report on Thomas Perez, President Obama’s nominee for Labor secretary, that spotlights a deal he brokered as a Department of Justice employee.
► In today’s NY Times — If companies are people…. (by James Livingston) — Why not tax corporations as if they were natural persons, in accordance with their newly discovered rights of free speech? That move would solve any impending fiscal crisis. Indeed, we used to do just that. For most of the 1950s, corporate income at large companies was taxed at 52%, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. The federal government, meanwhile, collected about a third of its revenues from this source. Today, thanks largely to the “reforms” ushered in by President Ronald Reagan, the ostensible tax rate on corporate income is no higher than 35% — and the corporate-tax share of federal revenue has fallen to about 9%.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.