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Projects held hostage, Republic solidarity, shall we Scrap the Cap…

Thursday, April 18, 2013




WSLC-agenda-investing► In today’s News Tribune — Could SR 167 sink in the Columbia River? (editorial) — Lawmakers in Olympia shouldn’t let the Puget Sound Gateway Project become hostage to lunacy in Vancouver. If people in Clark County are willing to kiss off a new bridge and that much federal and Oregon money, so be it. In this part of the state, we know a good thing when we see one — and we aren’t quarreling over our need for the Gateway.

► In today’s Columbian — Current, former Vancouver mayors urge support for CRC — Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt and two of his predecessors this week urged state lawmakers to support the Columbia River Crossing.

► In today’s News Tribune — Transportation agenda is critical in 2013 session (by Rep. Jake Fey) — I have no illusions about the political minefield through which this Connecting Washington proposal must now make its way before the end of session. But no one said it would be easy. There have and will be long hours hammering out compromises in the weeks ahead. That being said, with what is at stake for the future of Washington, this job is simply far too important to kick down the road.

► In today’s News Tribune — Group expects 600,000 in state to qualify for health care credits — Nearly 600,000 Washington residents will be eligible for premium tax credits to help defray the cost of medical care when the the Affordable Care Act goes into effect early next year, according to a new report from the consumer group Families USA.

► From AP — Senators seek changes in pension, medical costs — Under a bill sponsored by six senators, lawmakers would develop a voluntary risk pool for local governments to help manage the medical costs of the retirees in an old pension system called LEOFF-1.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Things get testy with adjournment looming in Olympia — You will be hard-pressed to find a representative, senator or lobbyist not expecting or preparing for a special session when this one concludes April 28.

► In today’s Daily News — Citing health concerns, DeBolt resigns House leadership post — Washington House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt has stepped down from his leadership post because of unspecified health problems but will finish the remainder of his term through 2014.


► At PubliCola — Voters in 48th frowning on Sen. Tom’s re-election — Results from a recent poll shows that voters in the 48th legislative district—the long contested Microsoft suburbs—are leaning to the left, as it has been for the last decade, and that they aren’t very fond of state Sen. Rodney Tom, who joined with the Republicans this year, ousting the Democratic majority, to become the leader of the Majority Coalition Caucus.

► In today’s News Tribune — As special session looms, Sen. Tom suggests statewide budget tour

EDITOR’S NOTE — Maybe his tour will head south, pause due to traffic at the I-5 bridge to Oregon, and just keep going.




AW-Republic► At — Local garbage workers picketing in solidarity with Ohio strike — Some Puget Sound area workers for Allied Waste and Republic Services took to the picket lines Wednesday in a show of solidarity for fellow workers on strike in Ohio, and that’s going to leave garbage on the curb for some customers. The Teamsters said picket lines were set up at the company’s facilities in Seattle, Lynnwood and Kent/SeaTac.

ALSO at The Stand — Local garbage drivers honor Allied/Republic picket lines in Ohio

AND in today’s Cleveland Sun News — Garbage strike, work stoppages continue, spread — The work stoppage started Monday at Republic’s hauling yards in Cleveland and Elyria. Workers at those hauling yards stopped working in support of striking workers at Republic’s landfill in Youngstown, who have been on strike since March 27.

► From AP — Washington state’s unemployment rate drops to 7.3% in March — Washington state’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent in March, the lowest rate in more than four years, but the state still saw a net loss of 5,500 jobs from the prior month.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Why does jobless rate fall even when jobs are lost? (by Jon Talton) — Economists aren’t sure about the reasons. Part of it may be demographic: Older baby boomers are taking early retirements. Then there’s the mismatch between workers and skills, causing many to drop out officially, even though they would still like work.

► In today’s Seattle Times — AARP: Washington boomers ill-prepared for retirement — While most boomers say they’ve tried to cut spending, they simply don’t have enough money coming in; 80 percent of those surveyed said they hadn’t saved enough for retirement because of a “lack of extra money.”  Other reasons boomers haven’t saved enough include: the recession/job insecurity; focus on short term; lack of discipline; and medical costs.

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Budget boost possible for some Hanford work in 2014 — Work at Hanford’s tank farms and Plutonium Finishing Plant would ramp up under the Obama administration’s proposed budget for fiscal 2014.




Apr10-immigration-rally-dc► At AFL-CIO Now — Highlights from the new immigration reform bill — While immigration reform advocates are still examining the legislation’s 844 pages, here are highlights that address some of the united labor movement’s key immigration principles, including moving forward on creating a road map to citizenship.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Labor leaders vow to strengthen, support Senate immigration bill

► In today’s NY Times — Conservatives see a turning tide on immigration — Even some of the right-wing talk show hosts most vehemently opposed to illegal immigration said they were worried that times have changed. They said their listeners seemed less agitated by the prospect that 11 million illegal immigrants might be granted legal status and concede that proponents of the legislation — who now include some conservative radio personalities — are better at promoting their message this time around.

► At Politico — Gang of Eight aims to stop conservative attacks — Republicans’ hope is to define the measure as a workable compromise on a highly complex issue, one that will help broaden the GOP’s reach to Latino and moderate voters.




► Breaking from AP — Frantic search after deadly blast in Waco — Rescue workers searched the smoldering ruins of a fertilizer plant Thursday for survivors of a monstrous explosion that leveled homes and businesses in every direction across the Texas prairie. As many as 15 people were feared dead and more than 160 others injured.

USPS-prefunding► In today’s Washington Post — USPS losing $25 million daily; waiting for Congress to fix ‘broken business model’ (by Joe Davidson) — The details that go with those bullet points can be very controversial. The unions won’t roll over, for example, to proposals that would control USPS health-care and retirement costs by pushing those costs onto employees. Donahoe said he sent letters to the postal unions and management associations Tuesday, asking them to renegotiate their labor contracts. Those letters will be welcomed like a tax audit. Labor-management relations can be frosty in any organization. Donahoe’s proposals have not endeared him to the USPS working class.

ALSO at The Stand — Congress broke U.S. Postal Service, and now must fix it

► At Politico — Poll: Most Americans say redistribute wealth — Only 33% of Americans think the current distribution of wealth in this country is fair, according to a new Gallup Poll, while 59% say it is not. Fifty-two percent said the United States should redistribute wealth through heavy taxes on the rich.

► From Reuters — How a student took on eminent economists on debt — and won — When Thomas Herndon, a student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s doctoral program in economics, spotted what he believed were glaring errors made by two eminent Harvard economists in an influential research paper, he called his girlfriend over for a second look. “I almost didn’t believe my eyes when I saw just the basic spreadsheet error,” said Herndon, 28. “I was like, am I just looking at this wrong? There has to be some other explanation. So I asked my girlfriend, ‘Am I seeing this wrong?’ ”




SocSec-cap-scrapped► “Room for Debate” in the NY Times — Should Social Security taxes affect all wages? — As he tries to reach a broad agreement with Congress on taxes and spending, President Obama has raised the possibility of cutting Social Security benefits. But a Congressional Budget Office report has said that Social Security’s financial problems could be resolved if we eliminated the cap on income that is taxed for the program (currently $113,700 a year), without raising the limit on benefits. Is that the fairest way to solve Social Security’s problems? Read the discussion/debate between policy experts (think-tank lobbyists).


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