The Stand

Public has Inslee’s back, Seattle is #1, magical mystery math…

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

 


STATE GOVERNMENT

 

inslee-budget-press► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Survey finds favor among voters for Inslee tax plans — A statewide Elway Poll released Tuesday found voters are most concerned about education and supportive — at least right now — of new taxes on carbon pollution and capital gains pushed by Gov. Jay Inslee. Fully 71 percent found the governor’s carbon tax proposal either favorable or acceptable, 57 percent felt the same way about Inslee’s plan for a 7 percent capital gains tax on profits from the sale of stocks and bonds that exceed $25,000 for an individual. His idea of increasing the cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack was endorsed by 77 percent and taxing bottled water had the backing of 56 percent.

ALSO at The Stand — Inslee’s budget plan funds first state pay hikes in 7 years (Dec. 19)

► From KPLU — Transportation funding fight looms in Legislature — Lawmakers failed to move a roads and transit package last year and pressure continues to build for the legislature to act. One of the big roadblocks and sticking points has been that Republicans want to take some of the sales tax revenue we charge for transportation projects and put that back into transportation. That’s been basically a non-starter with Democrats who say, “You’re robbing Peter to pay Paul; that money should go into the state general fund,” as it has traditionally and historically to fund schools, corrections, social services.

► Meanwhile, in today’s Oregonian — Raise vehicle taxes, business and legislative leaders agree — Oregon legislative leaders and business groups expressed strong support Tuesday for increasing vehicle taxes to provide more money for transportation projects.

EDITOR’S NOTE — So what about it AWB, et al? Is the business community in Washington State ready to step up and show some Oregon-style leadership by urging Republican leaders to remove such roadblocks and support a transportation revenue package?

 


LOCAL

 

WA-minimum-wage-front► In today’s P.S. Business Journal — Seattle is best city in the U.S. to find a job, according to new report — Seattle is the best city in the country to find a job, according to WalletHub, which ranked Des Moines, Iowa as No. 2 and Gilbert, Ariz. as No. 3. WalletHub said it “analyzed 150 of the most populated U.S. cities across 16 key metrics. They range from job opportunities to employment growth.” Sioux Falls, S.D. was No. 4 on the list and Fremont, Calif. was No. 5.

EDITOR’S NOTE — So, just to clarify, the city that has enacted a $15 minimum wage and a paid sick leave standard, in a state that already has the highest minimum wage in the nation, is the best city in the nation to find a job. Huh.

► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing rides Dreamliner and 737 to record production year — Boeing delivered a record 723 aircraft during the year, up by 75 from 2013. It also scored a record 1,432 orders, up by 152 from the previous year. This means the company won orders for nearly twice as many aircraft as it could build, essentially adding another year of backlog. This growing backlog is good news for the Puget Sound region, where all of Boeing’s commercial aircraft are assembled except for some 787s built in South Carolina.

► In today’s P.S. Business Journal — Retailers cautiously optimistic as feds intervene in port union dispute — There is a beacon of hope for resolving negotiations between the union workers at ports along the West Coast and the representatives of the terminal operators.

anti-immigrant► In yesterday’s Spokesman-Review — Immigration fight leads to City Council meltdown — After numerous, ultimately unsuccessful attempts to quiet the packed Spokane City Council chambers, Council President Ben Stuckart gaveled the meeting to an early close and stormed from the chambers Monday night. Most in the crowd of more than 100 people were there to speak in favor of repealing a city law that says police will not ask people about their immigration status. The Spokane County Republican Party urged people to attend the meeting and speak against the ordinance.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Keep Spokane’s law giving immigrants sanctuary (editorial) — The sometimes ugly remarks about immigrants made at Monday’s Spokane City Council meeting should be a concern to every resident who believes that a more diverse population will be critical to a thriving economy and robust cultural activity in the 21st century.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Condon proposes panel to discuss jobs training — With $500 million of public works projects scheduled during the next five years, Spokane Mayor David Condon has a plan to create a qualified local workforce to help in construction.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Fines not enough for fatalities (letter to the editor) — We have many workplace safety laws in place to protect workers, yet so many companies knowingly violate them, to save time and money. Paying a fine is the easy way out. Going out of business, or better yet, going to jail would be quite an incentive to comply with the rules.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Wet Seal workers fired for protesting terms of layoff — Three employees of teen-clothing store Wet Seal at its Northgate Mall location who had posted a sign protesting their treatment by the company said Tuesday they’ve been fired.

► In today’s Daily News — Firefighters contract on Longview council’s agenda — Council members will vote Thursday on contracts for IAFF locals 828 and 3375. The contracts will include cost-of-living raises to keep wages in line with similar jobs in the region, according to the city,

 


FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 

donahoe-USPS-front► In today’s NY Times — Postal chief says Congress, unions block progress — Critical changes needed to turn around the financially troubled United States Postal Service have been held up by Congress and by opposition from postal labor unions that want to preserve jobs and benefits, the postmaster general said Tuesday.

► In the Washington Post — Postmaster general takes parting shot at unions, mailers — The outgoing head of the U.S. Postal Service took a parting shot at labor unions and the commercial mailing industry Tuesday for what he called the “shortsightedness and myopia” that have impeded efforts in Congress to modernize the money-losing agency he’s led since 2011. As he prepares to retire in February, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe accused unions of singlemindedly fighting to preserve jobs and benefits with too little flexibility: “In today’s world, does it really make sense to offer the promise of a government pension to a 22-year-old who is just entering the workforce?”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Said the man who entered the USPS workforce nearly 40 years ago at age 20 and will retire with a comfortable government pension.

► In The Hill — New Congress begins with GOP infighting — Rep. John Boehner on Tuesday beat back a conservative rebellion and won a third and possibly final term as Speaker of the House of Representatives. The anti-Boehner crowd’s message was simple: Don’t expect any cooperation in the 114th Congress.

► From Reuters — House passes contentious ‘dynamic scoring’ method to estimate cost of legislation — More macroeconomic projections will be included in cost estimates for major fiscal legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives under a rule change approved on Tuesday, a move critics said could mask the true impact of tax cuts.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Check out Robert Reich’s explanation of the GOP’s “magical mystery math:”

It’s based on the belief that cutting taxes unleashes economic growth and thereby produces additional government revenue. Supposedly the added revenue more than makes up for what’s lost when Congress hands out the tax cuts.

Dynamic scoring would make it easier to enact tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, because the tax cuts wouldn’t look as if they increased the budget deficit.

dont-cut-social-security► At TPM — New Congress fires shot at Social Security on Day 1 — With a little-noticed proposal, Republicans took aim at Social Security on the very first day of the 114th Congress. The incoming GOP majority approved late Tuesday a new rule that experts say could provoke an unprecedented crisis that conservatives could use as leverage in upcoming debates over what they call “entitlement reform.” The largely overlooked change puts a new restriction on the routine transfer of tax revenues between the traditional Social Security retirement trust fund and the Social Security disability program.

► At Huffington Post — Dems decry Social Security sneak attack — Democratic aides said the Social Security provision was added to the broader rules package by surprise late Monday night. Says Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio):

Detractors working to privatize Social Security will do anything to manufacture a crisis out of a routine administrative function. Rather than solve the short-term problems facing the Social Security Disability program as we have in the past, Republicans want to set the stage to cut benefits for seniors and disabled Americans.

► At Huffington Post — Happy New Year, Wall Street! Congress has another gift for you — After stuffing Wall Street’s stockings in December with subsidies for risky trading, the House of Representatives plans to wish big banks a happy New Year on Wednesday by hacking up and delaying the Volcker Rule.

 


AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

 

uninsured-wristbands► In The Hill — Poll: Uninsured rate drops under ACA — The country’s uninsured rate dropped nearly 5 percent in one year under the Affordable Care Act, falling to a low of 12.9 percent last month, according to a new Gallup poll. The rate of Americans without health insurance plunged sharply from 17.1 percent in the start of 2014, which marked the first year that the healthcare law’s individual mandate went into effect.

► In The Hill — 30-hour week battle rages — Business leaders are waging an all-out fight to change ObamaCare’s definition of full-time work, even as the White House threatens to veto legislation that would strike down the statute’s contentious 30-hour week.

► At Think Porgress — How a stray remark from Wisconsin’s governor could save the ACA from the Supreme Court — The court’s five Republican members are much more likely to “play along” with an effort to undermine health reform if the repercussions are likely to be modest. Gov. Walker’s admission that he will “do nothing” if the Court revokes coverage for hundreds of thousands of his constituents drives home the fact that these repercussions will, in fact, be quite severe.

 


NATIONAL

 

► This morning from the Washington Post — Warren says improving economy not trickling down to most Americans — At a moment when President Obama is seeking to convince Americans that the economy is finally back on track, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) delivered a major address Wednesday at an AFL-CIO conference in Washington, D.C., in which she argued that average Americans are being left behind because Washington has failed them.

ALSO at The Stand — Watch the Raising Wages Summit live today

AP-Kaiser-strike► At Think Progress — 2,600 psychologists, therapists and social workers to strike in California — After years of lobbying Kaiser Permanente to hire more mental health clinicians to meet growing patient demand, thousands of mental health employees in California will take their fight to the streets during a strike scheduled to kick off next week.

► At Huffington Post — Minimum wage increases: The justice of redistribution (by John Burbank) — A lot of liberals don’t want to call increases in the minimum wage “redistributive.” It brings the reality of class conflict too close to the surface, apparently, and portrays workers as workers, not as victims. But in order for workers to not be victims, they must be compensated for the value of their work. That is not happening now, not in these United States.

► From AFP — Brazil Volkswagen workers down tools after layoffs — Workers at Volkswagen’s Brazilian plant at Sao Bernardo do Campo near Sao Paulo began an open-ended strike Tuesday to protest 800 layoffs, their union said.

 


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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