Thursday, January 29, 2015
► At Slog — We need to become a state where everyone pays their fair share (by Gov. Jay Inslee) — Our tax system is the most unfair in the nation. According to a report released this month by the Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy, Washington residents with the lowest incomes — less than $21,000 — pay 16.8 percent of their incomes in taxes. Meanwhile those with the highest incomes — more than $507,000 — pay 2.4 percent in taxes. In other words, our poorest residents pay seven times as much. With capital gains and a carbon charge we can we move toward a revenue system that meets our expectations for what Washington can be, and we can do that while doing more to become a state where everyone pays their fair share.
EDITOR’S NOTE — So… his dad supported making the tax system more fair, but Bill Gates himself recently told noted economist and author Thomas Piketty that he doesn’t want to pay more in taxes because he can spend his money in “more efficient [ways] than the government.” Of course, that means that low-income people have to pay a greater share of their incomes in taxes to make up for Bill’s relatively low Washington state taxes. But again, that’s his preference. So, yes, we can blame him.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Don’t limit chance to find a job (editorial) — Finding employment often is tough enough for those with a criminal record. But Washington state hasn’t made it any easier, having closed off to those with a past conviction any job that requires an occupational license. HB 1553 would allow those with past convictions to petition a superior court judge for a Certificate of Restoration of Opportunities.
► In today’s Seattle Times — 3 ways the Legislature can help community-college students (editorial) — Here’s what the Legislature should do: Fund the State Need Grant program, train more counselors, freeze tuition to keep classes affordable, but ensure state funding keeps up with inflation.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Once again, the Times advocates for higher spending without suggesting how to pay for it. And yet they hated I-1351 for doing the same thing. Huh.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This story is listed under State Government because our Legislature is considering HB 1519, sponsored by Rep. Marcus Riccelli (D-Spokane), which would clarify which workers classify as independent contractors. This will stop employers from deliberately misclassifying employees as such in order to avoid paying taxes and insurance premiums, and ensure that businesses that play by the rules aren’t undercut by competitors that deliberately misclassify workers.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Be careful what you wish for.
► In today’s Oregonian — Oregon minimum wage, paid sick day advocates say poll findings support their causes — A coalition of Oregon community and labor groups seeking a higher minimum wage and mandatory paid sick days for workers on Wednesday released the results of two recent polls showing broad support for those and other proposals.
ALSO at The Stand — Give the people what they want (WSLC Legislative Update) — It’s hard to find legislative issues more popular across party lines than raising the minimum wage and allowing all workers to earn paid sick leave.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Oregon workers call for $15 state minimum wage — At a Salem rally, hundreds of supporters, including many union members, gathered in front of the state Capitol steps on Jan. 24, demanding lawmakers make Oregon the first state to raise minimum wage to $15. The Oregon AFL-CIO says raising the state minimum wage would give nearly 650,000 workers who earn less than $15 an hour a fair shot at a better life.
ALSO at The Stand — St. Joseph, St. Clare hospital workers in Tacoma win contract
► In today’s News Tribune — VA Puget Sound receives money to hire 124 more employees — Congressional funds will help Seattle and Lakewood veteran hospitals continue increasing staff, cutting patient wait times.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing to build Air Force One replacement — The Air Force will let Boeing build the replacement for Air Force One without competition but allow bidding on specialized equipment for the new presidential aircraft, the service informed Congress.
► From Al Jazeera America — Obama’s base mobilizes against president’s free trade agenda — The White House, Congress and progressive activist groups are preparing to resume a long fight over the TPP. While the administration’s U.S. trade representative testified in favor of TPP, labor unions and environmentalists made clear they intend to continue lobbying against the deal. “For us trade is not a matter of numbers,” said Leo Gerard, president of the labor union United Steelworkers, on a Tuesday conference call with reporters. “It’s a matter of lives, and jobs, and lost opportunity.”
ALSO at The Stand — Keep calling Congress, urging them to ‘Say NO to Fast Track’
► In The Hill — Obama seizes leverage from Republicans on immigration — President Obama on Thursday will call on congressional Republicans to approve a “clean” funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that preserves his executive actions on limiting deportations.
► Frp, TPM — GOP at a loss about what to do if SCOTUS scuttles ACA subsidies — Many Republicans would view it as a dream come true if the Supreme Court were to slash a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act by the end of June. But that dream could fade into a nightmare as the spotlight turns to the Republican Congress to fix the mayhem that could ensue.
► In today’s NY Times — How do we increase empathy? (by Nicholas Kristof) — A column about a buddy who dealt with the consequences of poverty and inequality sparked a conversation about empathy, or the lack thereof.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.