Thursday, October 16, 2014
► At PubliCola — A special session for transportation funding and not K-12 funding? — State Sen. Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island) reportedly told a group of surprised regional leaders at their regular closed door meeting two weeks ago that following this year’s election there would be a special session of the legislature to pass a transportation package — a gas tax for a $12 billion package. Litzow hasn’t returned calls for comment. As for the governor’s office: “The governor has been consistent all along. If legislative leaders can show him that they have a package and the votes to pass it on both chambers, we’ll bring them back in, but at this point there has been no indication that that’s the case,” Gov. Jay Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith said, adding she wasn’t aware of any current talks nor that anything had changed since the Democratic house passed a transportation package in 2013 while the tax-phobic Republican-dominated senate did not. Smith joked about Litzow: “It’s great to hear there are still Republicans willing to take action on this.”
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Gov. Inslee candid about state’s challenges
► In today’s Olympian — State refinances nearly $1 billion in debt, saving $29 million over next 32 months — Treasurer Jim McIntire says good Wall Street prices on a volatile day for traders means savings will total $172 million in state operating and transportation budgets over 17 years.
► In today’s Olympian — Lt. Gov. Owen heading to China for trade mission — The mission is Brad Owen’s 29th overseas to promote exports and cultural ties abroad since he took office in 1997.
► From KPLU — Former Boeing executive Alan Mulally on labor: ‘Working together works’ — Against a backdrop of Boeing labor relations that one analyst described as the worst he’s ever seen, former Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Alan Mulally delivered some advice on how to boost morale: work together and include everyone. Mulally has moved back to the Puget Sound region after retiring from the top job at Ford Motor Co. On Wednesday, he spoke at a breakfast gathering of businesspeople in Seattle.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State unemployment rate edges up to 5.7%, while Seattle’s holds at 4.8% — The number of nonfarm, seasonally adjusted jobs dropped by 600 from August to September, due largely to a decline in private-sector jobs. The small dip in jobs comes after a gain of 13,600 jobs in June, 10,600 jobs in July, and 3,700 jobs in August.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Food Pavilion in Arlington shuts down — Susan Burris, who started at the Food Pavilion as a checker in 1978 and had worked her way up to receiving clerk lamented what she sees as the loss of “another small business” to the coming of larger corporate stores such as Walmart and Costco.
► In today’s News Tribune — United Airlines, once Sea-Tac Airport’s dominant carrier, to close flight attendant base — United Airlines Tuesday told its flight attendants operating from a base at Sea-Tac that it will close that base at the end of January. The 264 flight attendants based at Sea-Tac will have an opportunity to transfer to United’s base in San Francisco or to accept a retirement package that includes up to $100,000 in severance pay if they meet the qualifications.
► In today’s Olympian — Olympia removes B&O tax exemption for Providence St. Peter Hospital — The Olympia City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to remove an exemption to the business and occupation tax for large non-profit organizations — most notably, Providence St. Peter Hospital.
► In today’s News Tribune — “It’s unprecedented:” JBLM to host its largest veteran job fair next week — Most importantly, the so-called “Service Member for Life Transition Summit” at JBLM promises to draw more than 200 employers with immediate openings and at least 4,000 job seekers, said base Commander Col. Charles Hodges.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Whatcom County firefighters’ fundraiser to buy coats for children — Whatcom County firefighters are raising money for Operation Warm — More than A Coat with an event featuring SpaceBand and the Bellingham Firefighters Pipes and Drums at 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at Boundary Bay Brewery, 1107 Railroad Ave.
► In the NW Labor Press — SW Washington Labor Council backs Clark County charter change — The Southwest Washington Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO encourages Clark County residents to vote “yes” on a proposed Home Rule Charter that will be on the Nov. 4 ballot.
► At Think Progress — Unanimous Arkansas Supreme Court rules Voter ID law unconstitutional — The Arkansas Supreme Court released a unanimous decision holding the voter ID law passed earlier this year in violation of the state’s constitution. The judges wrote: “The legislature can not, under color of regulating the manner of holding elections…impose such restrictions as will have the effect to take away the right to vote as secured by the constitution.”
► At Huffington Post — Union federation gets vocal on harsh prison sentencing: ‘It’s a labor issue’ — On Friday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is expected to deliver a speech in Los Angeles offering robust support for Proposition 47, a proposal that would reduce the penalties for simple drug possession and shoplifting. According to his prepared remarks, Trumka will declare that mass incarceration is a “labor issue” and that unions need to join other progressives in pressing for reform.
► In today’s NY Times — Walmart cuts sales forecast as holiday hopes darken — Ahead of what is expected to be a tough holiday season, Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, cut its annual sales growth forecast on Wednesday, and it announced that it would sharply slow openings of its superstores in the United States next year. The weak numbers from Walmart, disclosed at an investors meeting, add to worries over consumer spending and the overall strength of the American economy.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Corporate America’s self-destructive wage suppression — aided and abetted by Congress — is coming home to roost. It isn’t rocket science. Even the poverty-wage-paying retailers themselves are starting to understand. Low wages mean low consumer spending, which is bad for America.
► In today’s NY Times — Lax U.S. guidelines on Ebola led to poor hospital training, experts say — Many American hospitals have improperly trained their staffs to deal with Ebola patients because they were following federal guidelines that were too lax, infection control experts said on Wednesday. Federal health officials effectively acknowledged the problems with their procedures for protecting health care workers by abruptly changing them. At 8 p.m. Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued stricter guidelines for American hospitals with Ebola patients.
► In The Onion — More Americans saving money for child’s unemployment — According to the report, parents across the United States are saving a greater portion of their incomes than ever before, hoping they will be in a position to help with costs when their kids reach young adulthood and begin their jobless years.
► At Think Progress — Meet the people whose lives have been transformed by Medicaid expansion — Marc Sigoloff hopes he gets a chance to thank President Obama in person one day. “I really do believe that he saved my life with what he did,” he says… Sigoloff said that one of the best things about gaining health insurance has been the renewed sense of security. He no longer has to worry about the unknown medical issues that may be taking a toll on his body. He feels relieved. It’s a hard thing to measure relief, but there’s some research to back up his claim. A large study in Oregon that tracked the effects of people gaining access to insurance found that getting that coverage made them feel healthier, happier, and more financially secure. There is limited evidence suggesting that when one member of a family lacks insurance, that may contribute to higher levels of familial stress. There’s also similar anecdotal evidence from some of the other people who are gaining insurance coverage under the health law for the first time in years.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.