Thursday, February 4, 2016
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Tax breaks cloud talk on aerospace industry — Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday trumpeted the accomplishments of Washington’s aerospace industry the past century and telling a roomful of executives from aerospace companies, including Boeing, that “the sky’s the limit” in the years ahead. But without mentioning Boeing by name, the governor cautioned that a recent decline in jobs may compel the state to look to link industry-wide tax breaks with levels of employment. Said Inslee:
“It is a frustration that Washington machinists and engineers have lost jobs after the aerospace incentive package was enacted awhile back. I don’t know that anyone has figured out the perfect answer to this problem. But I do believe that some measure of future job accountability is worth considering as maintaining and growing our aerospace industry is a priority that I know we all share.”
TAKE A STAND — This story suggests that our State Representatives in Olympia may not go on record about whether they support our aerospace workforce and transparency and accountability for massive tax breaks. Click here to send an email to your State Representatives urging them to help Washington families by advancing the Aerospace Tax Incentive Accountability bill.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Spokane’s paid sick leave law would be ‘grandfathered’ under changes to Baumgartner bill — Spokane would keep a recent ordinance requiring sick leave for many businesses under a change to a bill approved Wednesday. Sen. Mike Baumgartner (R-Spokane), sponsor of the bill that attempts to block increases to the minimum wage and other workplace rules in cities around the state, admitted his proposal is likely to continue changing and may not pass this year.
EDITOR’S NOTE — State government should create a floor, not a ceiling, for communities to promote better standards of living for their residents.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Transgender bathroom bill passes committee — People in Washington would be required to use a restroom, locker room or other public facility based on their biology, not their sexual identity, under a bill approved by a divided Senate panel Wednesday evening.
ALSO at The Stand — WSLC fights bills discriminating against transgender people
► From AP — House panel considers free tuition; K-12 funding in Senate — Legislative staff has estimated the cost to offer free college tuition at the state’s community and technical colleges would be between $94 million and $105 million in 2017, depending on how many students enroll.
► In today’s Seattle Times — For state’s charter schools, it’s a matter of survival — The campaign to keep charter schools open is organized and well-funded, with millions at its disposal. But the future of the charter-school system in Washington is uncertain.
ALSO at The Stand — Charter schools ruling is a rebuke of privatization agenda
► From KIRO 7 — WA State Ferries working to prevent captain shortage — There’s a very real possibility that in a few years there won’t be enough captains to pilot your ferry. The Washington State Ferry System says there is a shortage of people applying for the job.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — State parks might open door to private developers — Washington State Parks is considering a plan that would designate certain areas for the privately financed construction of vacation cottages, restaurants, campsites, boating facilities and other recreational amenities.
► From AP — Inslee appoints interim leader for state’s largest agency — The governor has appointed DSHS Assistant Secretary Patricia Lashway an acting secretary while a national search begins for a permanent leader.
► In today’s Columbian — Legislative panel OKs bistate bridge measure — Although HB 2414 does relatively little — it would carve out $100,000 to form a coalition of legislators from both sides of the Columbia River to revive conversations about how to improve freight mobility and congestion over the river — it’s already created controversy.
► In today’s Bellingham Herald — Former Sen. Spanel remembered as effective, ‘authentic’ leader — Harriet Spanel, who served Whatcom County for more than two decades as a state legislator, died Tuesday, Feb. 2. She was 77.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Concentrix closing Bremerton facility, laying off 520 — Concentrix will close its Bremerton office in March, laying of all of its 520 employees. The call center reportedly does work for Sprint.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Veolia purchase of Kurion could create more Tri-Cities jobs — Kurion’s Richland operations director expects the market share of the company’s current technology to grow, creating more jobs in the Tri-Cities.
► In the (Aberdeen) Daily World — Hoquiam in midst of labor negotiations — The City of Hoquiam is in the process of negotiating the terms of a new employment contract for its public works employees with an AFSCME representative.
► From The Hill — U.S. joins 11 nations in signing Pacific trade deal — The U.S., along with Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, joined six other nations in signing the 12-nation TPP, calling the agreement an historic deal that will provide far-reaching benefits to their nations.
ALSO at The Stand — Why rosy predictions about TPP are wrong (by Celeste Drake)
► From The Hill — Sanders vows to stop Obama trade deal — “As your president, not only will I make sure that the TPP does not get implemented, I will not send any trade deal to Congress that will make it easier for corporations to outsource American jobs overseas,” the presidential candidate said… Hillary Clinton advocated for the TPP while she was Secretary of State, but she came out against the deal shortly after it was completed in early October, saying, “I think there are still a lot of unanswered questions.”
► From Huffington Post — Chamber of Commerce’s Tom Donohue: Clinton will support TPP after election — The Chamber president said he expected Hillary Clinton would ultimately support the TPP if she becomes the Democratic nominee for president and is elected.
► From The Hill — Senior adviser: White House willing to scale back ‘Cadillac’ tax — The Obama administration is agreeing to scale back its unpopular “Cadillac” tax on high-cost health insurance plans as part of its years-long fight to keep the tax in place. Opponents of the tax dismissed the proposal, arguing that the tax “cannot be fixed” and must be repealed.
► From The Hill — Air traffic control fight heating up — Supporters of the bill said separating air traffic control from the FAA would modernize the nation’s aviation system and bring it on par with countries such as Canada that have already set up independent flight navigation systems. But Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) said, “This privatization proposal gives a private corporation the power to tax the American public to pay for safe operations, and it hands over a public asset worth billions of dollars to a private corporation for free.” The National Air Traffic Controllers Association union has endorsed splitting off U.S. flight navigation from the FAA: “After extremely careful review, consideration, and deliberation, we have reached a decision: NATCA supports this bill.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), and the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), the unions representing thousands of employees at the FAA are strongly opposed to the bill.
► From Think Progress — Obama received 136,000 petitions to stop deportation raids this week — Immigrant rights activists delivered 136,000 signed petitions to the White House this week, calling on President Obama to stop operations targeting Central American mothers and children for expedited deportation proceedings.
► In the Washington Post — What Obama plans for federal pay raises in 2017 — The president will include an average 1.6% pay raise for federal employees in his fiscal 2017 budget proposal. This year, the average raise is 1.3%.
► In today’s NY Times — Many Flint residents are desperate to leave, but see no escape — Because the drinking water flowing from their pipes is contaminated, tens of thousands of people here may have been exposed to lead and other toxic chemicals. Untold numbers of them are desperate to leave. But few see a way to pick up and move to a place where the water that flows from the taps is clean and safe. “I couldn’t rent out my house now if I wanted to,” said Joyce Cruz, 35, a homeowner and the mother of five. “Who would want to move to Flint?”
► From Think Progress — Gov. Snyder wasn’t asked to testify at hearing on Flint water — The Republicans who run the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform did not invite Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) or any of the emergency managers who were appointed to run the city in recent years.
ALSO at The Stand — Government run like a business has poisoned our children
► From Reuters — Rising U.S. layoffs point to ebbing labor market momentum — The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose more than expected last week, suggesting some loss of momentum in the labor market amid a sharp economic slowdown and stock market selloff.
► From The Nation — The two-tier employment system you haven’t heard of — A new analysis of a decade of data on guestworkers under the H-2B visa program, which pipes immigrants into temporary low-wage service-industry jobs, shows that the visa allows bosses to employ guestworkers at “hourly wage rates that are far lower than state and national averages in the overwhelming majority of cases.”
► From Huffington Post — It’s time to ask, why wouldn’t you support paid leave? (by Ellen Bravo) — Three states, California, New Jersey and Rhode Island, have already passed bills that grant workers access to paid leave through family and medical leave insurance funds. Our movement may double that number this year with wins in places like New York, Washington, D.C. and Connecticut. More wins are on the horizon. Paid leave will keep gaining momentum. Many voters, who have made this a priority, are asking elected officials and candidates my son’s question: “Why wouldn’t you support this?” Babies and cancer and ailing parents touch all of us. It’s high time to make family leave available and affordable to every American.
► A related story today from The Onion — Zika virus joins lack of paid leave, unaffordable child care as reasons woman afraid of getting pregnant
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.