Tuesday, July 30, 2013
► At the P.S. Business Journal — Seattle traffic 8th worst in U.S., says Inrix — Seattle’s traffic congestion is the eighth-worst in the U.S. and in June, grew far more than the national average grew, according to a new study.
EDITOR’S NOTE — The right-wing anti-tax ideologues who now control Washington’s State Senate killed the Governor-backed, House-approved state transportation funding package without a vote and without offering an alternative. Thus died one of the business community’s biggest 2013 legislative priorities: addressing freight mobility and the state’s other critical transportation needs.
Then last week, after Boeing announced it was shifting some engineering work to California, these right-wing Senators sent out a flurry of press releases blaming Gov. Jay Inslee, claiming Washington has a poor business climate, and citing the Legislature’s failure to approve more workers’ compensation benefit cuts as Boeing’s reason for shifting work out of state.
For its part, Boeing has not said the move has anything to do with Washington’s business climate, which consistently ranks among the nation’s best. If it did, the company most certainly wouldn’t shift work to California, one of the most expensive states in the nation in most business-climate rankings. In fact, California has significantly higher workers’ comp costs than Washington does. Sens. Rodney Tom (“D”-Medina), Mike Hewitt (R-Walla Walla) and Mike Schoesler (R-Ritzville) should be ashamed of their now-predictable counter-productive vilification of Washington state and their pathetic, weak efforts to seek political gain from the misfortune of Washington working families.
► In today’s Columbian — CRC’s collapse leaves behind shock and awe — The county’s business booster groups and major employers saw the project’s collapse as a tragic loss of a once-in-a-lifetime public works project that would have fed countless payrolls.
► In today’s Columbian — Medicaid changes spur concerns locally — In Clark County, where about 60,000 residents are on Medicaid, expanding the program means an estimated 28,600 new Medicaid clients. It also means new concerns about the program’s sustainability, the local physician workforce and the state’s method of enrolling clients.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Pencils, pens, paper can’t be put off by Legislature (editorial) — Amid all the talk about the state of Washington making progress toward the goal of fully funding basic education, schools still rely on parents to supply items such as pencils, notebooks, crayons, glue, rulers, erasers and folders. But costs can run from $60 to $100 per student.
ALSO today at The Stand — Union-made in America back-to-school supplies
► In today’s NY Times — New challenges for fixes of 787 — While airlines love how this lightweight carbon-fiber fuselage saves fuel, the recent fire on a 787 at Heathrow Airport in London provides the first test of how difficult and costly it will be to repair serious damage.
► In today’s News Tribune — Tacomans support utility tax for road repair — A majority of Tacoma residents support taxing utility companies to fund road repairs, according to a June survey commissioned by city officials.
► In today’s News Tribune — New Pacific mayor tries to ‘pick up the pieces’ — Leanne Guier is the new mayor of Pacific, but the 17-year resident isn’t new to the city or to leading it. She estimates she worked 20 to 30 hours a week as City Council president during the past year. That’s in addition to her full-time day job as the business development specialist for Plumbers & Pipefitters United Association Local 32. After residents of the 6,800-person town on the Pierce-King county line recalled embattled Mayor Cy Sun earlier this month, Guier expressed interest in the job and the council appointed her July 11.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Herrera Beutler announces birth of daughter, who will need kidney transplant — The baby girl was born about nine weeks premature and is under care at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University in California. She is breathing on her own but requires dialysis and will eventually need new kidneys to survive.
► From AP — Senate ready to confirm new NLRB members — The Senate on Tuesday moved a step closer to approving Democratic nominees to the National Labor Relations Board. Following a script crafted by the two parties, the Senate voted 64-34 to cut off debate and move to a final confirmation vote for Kent Hirozawa. By the end of the day, the Senate could confirm five nominees waiting to join the independent labor agency.
► In The Hill — Obama: Pay gap is ‘morally wrong’ — President Obama is changing gears on the economy, highlighting income inequality as a growing problem in advance of pitched fall battles with congressional Republicans over funding the government and raising the debt ceiling.
► In The Hill — Obama to propose ‘grand bargain’ on jobs, corporate tax rates — According to reports, the president will offer to cut taxes on most corporations from 35% to 28%, with a preferred rate of 25% for manufacturers. The president’s plan will also include measures to prevent corporate tax evasion and the use of offshore tax havens through a minimum tax on foreign earnings. In exchange, Obama seeks spending on investment projects he says will benefit the middle class, such as infrastructure repair and aid to community colleges.
► In The Hill — Shutdown showdown over ObamaCare gains steam from right — A who’s who of conservative leaders is pushing Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to threaten a government shutdown in order to defund ObamaCare.
► At AFL-CIO Now — McCain: Path to citizenship must be ‘fundamental element’ of immigration reform — Pointing to the “broad spectrum of support” from faith, labor and business groups that have lined up to support comprehensive immigration reform that includes a road map to citizenship, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told the AFL-CIO Citizenship 2013 forum today, “I am confident we can prevail.”
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hastings ‘cautiously optimistic’ immigration reform will pass — U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) said Monday that he is “cautiously optimistic” that immigration reform will pass this year. But the House of Representatives is looking to pass several smaller immigration-related bills, a contrast to the comprehensive package the Senate passed last month. “Just generally speaking, I think Americans are tired of comprehensive bills,” says Hastings, who says his priority is a guest worker program for agriculture.
► In today’s NY Times — Big-name GOP donors urge members of Congress to back immigration overhaul — More than 100 Republican donors — many of them prominent names in their party’s establishment — sent a letter to Republican members of Congress on Tuesday urging them to support an overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws.
► At Politico — Menu for House GOP: Immigration à la carte — Two key House committees have at least laid out a menu of some options for the full chamber to consider when it begins voting on immigration bills this fall. Reflecting GOP wishes for a piecemeal strategy, each bill passed one at a time and, except for one, no Democrats voted in favor of them.
► From ABC News — The Life of a DREAMer: A young woman’s journey to live legally in the U.S. — Evelyn Rivera is a “DREAMer.” Her family came to the United States from Colombia when she was 3 years old and, for much of her childhood, Rivera didn’t know that she was an undocumented immigrant. She now lives in the United States legally under a program started by the Obama administration in 2012 that grants temporary legal status to DREAMers.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) recently made headlines by claiming many DREAMers are drug runners, telling Newsmax that “for everyone who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds, and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” Rivera says she was “shocked” by King’s remark: “I didn’t think that that would come from a legislator,” Rivera says. “That is not who we are. We are Americans, we are students, and we work and contribute to this country.”
► At AFL-CIO Now — Fast-food strike is biggest yet — In the biggest strike yet in the growing fast-food/low-wage workers’ actions demanding a voice, thousands of workers making the minimum wage or just slightly more walked off the job in several cities Monday, demanding a living wage, no retaliation for striking and the right to join unions.
► At EOI Online — Rhode Island governor signs Paid Family and Medical Leave into law — Rhode Island’s Temporary Caregivers Insurance (TCI) allows workers to take paid time off when welcoming a newborn, caring for an ailing family member or recovering from a personal illness. Qualifying workers will receive two-thirds of their weekly wages for up to four weeks.
► In the Seattle Times — Amazon to hire 7,000 in warehouses, customer service — Amazon announced plans Monday to hire 5,000 employees in its U.S. distribution warehouses, part of an ambitious growth strategy that has come at a financial cost to the company in the near term. The company is also adding 2,000 jobs in customer service in several locations, including Kennewick.
► From AP — GOP donor’s school grade changed — When it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, schools chief Tony Bennett’s education team frantically overhauled his signature “A-F” school grading system to improve the school’s marks.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.