Tuesday, January 13, 2015
► In today’s Seattle Times — Senate Republicans add big hurdle for new taxes — The GOP-controlled Senate voted along party lines to require a two-thirds majority in that chamber to approve any new taxes. Democrats called the supermajority requirement an unconstitutional move that could complicate budget decisions. The higher bar for tax votes would apply to two new revenue streams proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee: a capital-gains tax and a cap-and-trade plan aimed at carbon polluters.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Senate GOP moves to shield rich, corporations from taxes (editorial) — Democrats pointed out the irony that senators had just sworn their oaths to uphold the state constitution, but were immediately attempting to circumvent it.
► From PubliCola — He’s back! Republican (simple) majority passes (super) majority rule for raising taxes — Tim Eyman himself, who urged his supporters to contact wavering Republicans this weekend (giving out Sen. Fain’s personal cell phone number), issued a jubilant email this afternoon: “Senate Democrats pissed, moaned, and complained, squealing like pigs, but in the end, the vote was 26 yes…!”
► A related story from KPLU — Economist Dick Conway says Washington has the worst tax system in country — Mention taxes and people either get irate or their eyes glaze over. But one well-known Seattle economist has spent a lot of time thinking about our state tax system and says it stinks. And, he says, it’s time we all paid attention.
► In today’s Olympian — Democrats help Republican Sen. Pam Roach unseat a Democrat — The move puts Republicans on notice they can’t count on the automatic support of Roach and ally Don Benton.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Transportation package tops wish list in Olympia (editorial) — As a new legislative session began Monday, Snohomish County’s delegation expressed bipartisan support for a transportation package in some form and money for Washington State University in Everett.
► From AP — Missouri ties size of subsidies for Boeing to job growth, retention — Missouri has agreed to an incentive package with Boeing that provides the aerospace giant up to $229 million if employment grows and less if it shrinks moderately.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Add Missouri to the growing list of states — including South Carolina! — that require some accountability from Boeing for their assurances that tax incentives will create jobs. But not in Washington, where the company announced it would lay off thousands of engineers weeks after legislators approved billions more in tax breaks. Tax incentive accountability is a bipartisan concept in other states, why not here?
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — A way to protect health and jobs (editorial) — The state Department of Ecology on Monday proposed a new water quality rule that, based on a realistic amount of fish consumption, will set pollution standards for rivers, lakes and other bodies of water and will allow industry, specifically Boeing and other manufacturers, to comply with those standards, reduce the amount of toxic chemicals being released into the environment and do so in an affordable, transparent manner.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Boeing supplier to assemble 737 Max winglets in Washington state — Boeing said it had contracted with GKN Aerospace to assemble and paint the advanced technology winglets for the 737 Max in Sumner. The 57,000-square-foot facility will open in late 2015 and will employ about 75.
► In today’s P.S. Business Journal — Two sides in ports dispute sling more allegations — On Monday, the ILWU said that port management is still to blame for the congestion situation at the ports, saying “longshore workers are ready, willing and able to clear the backlog created by the industry’s poor decisions.” The Pacific Maritime Association fired back on Monday, claiming that ILWU work slowdowns at the ports are leading to gridlock.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Shippers admit congestion not workers’ fault
► From Bloomberg — Elon Musk plans to hire hundreds for Seattle satellite-building program — SpaceX chief Elon Musk predicted the company’s Seattle engineering office will ultimately employ “several hundred people, maybe a thousand people.”
► In the P.S. Business Journal — WSDOT calls memo warning Bertha pit could be ‘catastrophic failure’ a miscommunication — Seattle City Councilmembers and top state transportation officials struggled to maintain civility Monday as they debated access to information around the controversial Seattle Bertha tunnel project.
► In the (Longview) Daily News — Woodland parents pack School Board meeting to support fired teachers — A standing-room-only audience packed a school board meeting Monday evening to support two fired teachers and highlight poor morale under the leadership of Middle School Principal Cari Thomson.
► In The Hill — Dems’ next big issue — Democrats are seizing on the fight for mandatory paid leave in the United States as their next big pocketbook issue. The Obama administration has for months called upon Congress to require employers to offer paid leave. While potential Democratic presidential candidates have voiced support for the proposal, the party has yet to elevate paid leave to the top tier of its policy agenda. That will soon change, according to Democratic operatives, administration officials and others on the political left.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Workers, public safety threatened by Republican regulatory bill — The Center for Disease Control and Prevention would have been prevented from issuing timely guidelines on protecting health care workers and first responders from the Ebola virus and how to control the spread of the deadly virus to the public under a Republican bill the House is set to vote on this week.
► In The Hill — Warren scores victory as Obama pick drops out — Investment banker Antonio Weiss, President Obama’s pick for the No. 3 spot at the Treasury Department, is withdrawing his nomination amid opposition from liberal Democrats. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and other progressives had opposed Weiss’s nomination, arguing that he was too close to Wall Street.
► At Huffington Post — Republicans prepare another Dodd-Frank attack — It’s official: House Republicans will again try to hamstring the Volcker Rule, after Democrats knocked down a previous effort last week. The vote will come within days, if not hours. Under conditions laid down by the House Rules Committee late Monday, the GOP will be able to easily pass the legislation as part of an 11-point deregulation plan without Democratic support, while ignoring any Democratic amendments. President Barack Obama has threatened to veto the bill.
ALSO at The Stand — Three Wash. Democrats side with GOP in effort to relax Wall Street reforms (Jan. 8) and I voted to improve Dodd-Frank reforms, not “gut” them (by U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, Jan. 12)
► In the Seattle Times — House Democrats vote Derek Kilmer to appropriations committee — The shrunken House Democratic Caucus on Tuesday voted to give a spot on the House Appropriations Committee to Rep. Derek Kilmer, a move that would give the sophomore lawmaker from Gig Harbor a more direct voice on federal spending decisions.
► In The Onion — First-term Congressman brings fresh roadblocks to the table — “He’s coming in here with an outsider point of view and original obstacles that can help us really bring things to a standstill this session,” said seven-term representative Mike Rogers (R-AL), adding that he was excited to work with someone who had not yet been worn down by years of the same tired obstructive tactics.
► At AFL-CIO Now — AFL-CIO to take raising wages campaign to states, cities — At the AFL-CIO’s National Summit on Raising Wages last week, President Richard Trumka announced two important new parts of the labor federation’s agenda. This spring, the federation will sponsor Raising Wages summits in four key states: Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Additionally, the AFL-CIO will organize projects in seven cities to focus on raising wages in those locales: Atlanta, Columbus, District of Columbia (Metro), St. Louis, Philadelphia, Minneapolis and San Diego.
► In Dissent magazine — Seattle’s left coast formula (by James Gregory) — Contemporary Seattle is a city with a dual personality. On one hand, a dramatic building boom is underway. But Seattle is also a progressive city, with loud echoes of a more radical past. The combination of resurgent radicalism and radical re-urbanization has existed since the final years of the last century, but it also belongs to a political tradition that Seattle shares with other West Coast cities, especially San Francisco. Linked together by business enterprise, migration, and geo-economic function, these cities share what we might call “the left coast formula,” a historically developed set of institutions and expectations that keep radicalism alive while allowing political elites identified as liberal or progressive to stay in power pretty consistently.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.