Wednesday, June 12, 2013
► At PubliCola — Inslee announces second special session, blasts Republicans — Gov. Jay Inslee denounced five “ideological” policy bills the Republican-controlled Senate has put on the table as must-have legislation. He said the “My way or the highway” stance has stalled budget negotiations.
This is a must-see TV, particularly for those who are used to governor’s of the recent past — Chris Gregoire and Gary Locke — who acted as referees. This is a defining moment for Inslee who took the gloves off Tuesday morning and joined the fray, squarely on the side of the House Democrats saying that the Republicans, who have refused to close the estate tax loophole for a $160 million budget line item (unless their policy bills are passed), were prioritizing tax breaks for millionaires over educating kids.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Inslee calls out Senate’s ‘ideological agenda’ — Includes TVW coverage of the entire press conference.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — July 1 budget deadline, or government shutdown — Gov. Jay Inslee is preparing today for the possibility that lawmakers will fail to reach a budget deal in time to avert a government shutdown. Inslee will meet with his Cabinet this afternoon to sort out what might happen to public services and state workers if no budget is in place July 1 when the fiscal year starts.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Legislators locked in a fool’s game of chicken (by Shawn Vestal) — The problem with games of chicken is that the dumber driver wins. Whoever is most willing to crash the car wins. Who will win the game of chicken in Olympia? There’s not much question which side is more willing to crash the car. Senate Republicans — getting a feel for their new majority — seem to be doing their best impression of the intractable, immovable U.S. House of Representatives.
TAKE A STAND! — Send a message to your state legislators (again) urging them to reject the policy bills, avoid a government shutdown, and pass the budgets!
► At TheNewsTribune.com — State Revenue Dept. to send out 10 estate tax refunds worth $10 million starting Thursday — With no legal fix immediately in the offing for Washington state’s estate tax, the Department of Revenue is moving ahead and issuing $13 million worth of refunds — plus interest — starting Thursday. The refunds are necessary under a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that in effect left an exemption for certain married couples’ estates. The agency had been waiting for the Legislature to plug the loophole but can wait no longer, and additional refunds are expected in the coming weeks while waiting for lawmakers to act.
EDITOR’S NOTE — That’s $13 million coming directly out of the Education Legacy Trust Fund and going to millionaire families. The House passed a bill to fix this loophole, but the Senate has refused to do the same. The Senate is insisting on cutting future estate-tax rates before they’ll plug the loophole. Meanwhile, our schools are losing millions of dollars and the Legislature digs a deeper and deeper hole for trying to meet the Supreme Court order to improve education funding.
► At PubliCola — Isn’t it weird that… (Item #3) — …one of the Senate’s priority bills is a supposedly urgent workers’ comp reform bill that they say will prevent necessary rate increases that would otherwise be needed to make the fund solvent? With the economy picking up, rates were not raised this year and the (reserve) fund is growing. Indeed, it has already grown since its lowly $181 million in June 2010 to $953 million as of the end of last year.
ALSO at The Stand — Phantom workers’ comp tax hikes threaten government shutdown (June 10)
► In today’s News Tribune — State leaders agree on gas tax, but not on everything — The Republican transportation leader in the state Senate has prepared his own version of a gas-tax and fee-raising plan that could be taken up in the second special session that begins Wednesday. The proposal is a sign that a transportation tax plan is not dead, as it seemed to some lawmakers less than a week ago.
► In today’s Olympian — Saying ‘no’ to roads plan would jeopardize safety (editorial) — Years of underfunding the preservation and maintenance of our state’s roadways and bridges have created a rapidly deteriorating transportation system that is quickly becoming a liability to public safety and Washington’s economy. To remedy this situation, the Legislature must pass a 10-year transportation investment plan before it closes this frustrating 2013 legislative session.
► In today’s News Tribune — Dino Rossi has been quietly giving budget advice to Senate Majority Coalition — “I’ve had conversations with a lot of senators right from the start. They’ve been talking to me — how do you do this, how do you do that? I tell them what I did,” Rossi said in an interview this week.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Actually, that explains a lot.
► In the Spokesman-Review — Liberty Lake lands new company, 400 jobs — Vivint Inc., a fast-growing provider of home automation products including energy management and surveillance, expects to create 400 jobs after opening an office in Liberty Lake this summer. The Provo, Utah-based privately owned Vivint said Liberty Lake was selected because of the area’s skilled work force and strong community support. Vivint considered 10 states for this expansion.
EDITOR’S NOTE — But wait, somebody said Washington State was a horrible place to do business. What’s going on here?
► In the Ellensburg Daily Record — Time to settle on fair and just contract with nurses (letter) — KVH Board of Commissioners: Arrogantly telling these professional nurses at KVH to pull their heads out of the sand as you did at a previous board meeting in which I attended is not negotiating in a fair and just labor contract. They and the community deserve so much more.
GET UPDATES on these contract talks at the Washington State Nurses Association website.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Sequestration shrinks Head Start across Kitsap — The cuts affect babies and preschoolers of poor families, some of them foster or homeless children, and some with disabilities.
► In today’s NY Times — As Senate begins debate, organized labor makes immigration push — The A.F.L.-C.I.O., the nation’s largest labor federation, said it would take 50 union leaders from 27 states to Washington on Wednesday to lobby in the Senate and the House. The organization said it was also starting a call-in campaign by union members focusing on about two dozen senators, including lawmakers from Alaska, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee, who have not made public their positions on the legislation.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — WSLC President Johnson in D.C. to push for comprehensive immigration reform
► In The Hill — Immigration bill clears significant hurdle in Senate — Thirty Republicans, including Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), voted to take up the measure in the 84-15 vote, revealing a deep well of potential support.
► From AP — Boehner: Immigration bill can be signed by the end of the year — With the Senate ready to cast the first floor votes on a landmark immigration bill, House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday he thinks there’s a good chance the legislation can be signed into law “by the end of the year.”
► In today’s NY Times — Judge rules that movie studio should have been paying interns — A Federal District Court judge in Manhattan ruled on Tuesday that Fox Searchlight Pictures had violated federal and New York minimum wage laws by not paying production interns, a case that could upend the long-held practice of the film industry and other businesses that rely heavily on unpaid internships.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Tell us: How can we raise awareness about the needs to raise wages and working conditions? — Join Saru Jayaraman on TODAY (Wednesday, June 12) from 11 a.m. to noon Pacific time for the sixth in the AFL-CIO series of live online discussions on how we build a movement for the future of working people. Click here to join the discuss. Jayaraman, co-founder and co-director of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United — and the AFL-CIO — want to hear your ideas.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Household wealth still far from recovery — Four years after the official end of the recession, the average American household has recovered only 62.8% of the wealth it lost in the crash, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
The damage to families is substantial, affecting the ability of children to attend college and economic mobility. The report pays less attention to how persistent joblessness and federal austerity have made rebuilding household wealth more difficult, particularly for the hardest-hit groups. Nor does it account for intergenerational wealth, a valuable safety net that many lack. Also missing is an examination of how changes in the economy — a hollowed out manufacturing base, increased low-wage services and financialization — have contributed to the household burden. Until all these ills are addressed, we will continue to see a very dysfunctional recovery.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.