Monday, November 28, 2016
► In today’s Seattle Times — In new case, WTO rules against state’s tax breaks for Boeing 777X plants — The World Trade Organization ruled Monday that the extension of the business-tax reduction that Washington state granted to Boeing in 2013 for the forthcoming 777X jet is a prohibited subsidy. But in a testament to the excruciating frustration of the WTO process, legal experts on both sides of the case say the outcome will almost certainly leave Boeing’s bottom line untouched — and Washington state’s tax coffers none the richer.
► In the Seattle Times — At Boeing’s 777X wing factory, robots get big jobs — Boeing’s latest venture in advanced manufacturing marks a significant step toward a future in which much of an aircraft factory’s work is done by automated machines and robots. Some areas of the Everett facility will have massive machines and just a handful of humans.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Aerospace Futures Alliance honors Washington Speaker Frank Chopp — The (Boeing-funded) aerospace industry group cites his support for Boeing tax incentives and educational investments.
► In the Olympian — Final tally: Legislature to remain split with Democrats controlling House, Republicans leading Senate — Now that a handful of close races are settled, Democrats will maintain their slim 50-48 majority in the Legislature’s lower chamber, while gaining one seat in the state Senate. The state Senate will remain controlled by a mostly Republican coalition, which will have a 25-24 majority in that chamber.
ALSO at The Stand — Historic election victories for Washington workers
► In the Seattle Times — State Democrats do some soul-searching after disappointing election — State Chairman Jaxon Ravens said the party would conduct a statewide listening tour, after elections that went far better than for their national counterparts, but still proved disappointing to some party members.
► In the Seattle Times — Sound Transit moves fast to get deals on loans, bonds for big expansion — Sound Transit is rapidly moving to nail down a total $2.9 billion worth of bond sales, federal grants and easy credit this winter, to launch the huge rail-expansion plan that voters just approved. The deals would go a long way toward making the 25-year program known as “ST3” recession-proof, in terms of lowering the risk of a project being delayed.
► From PubliCola — Paying to regulate local labor standards with a fee on businesses (by Jennifer Robbins) — Unlike a tax, which raises money for general government purposes, the primary purpose of revenue-generating fees like the one proposed by Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold is to regulate — namely, to pay for the cost of ensuring that existing labor standards rules are complied with and enforced.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Legislators face divide over changing law to prosecute officers who use deadly force — Community advocates have perhaps never been closer to getting changes in the Washington law that protects police from prosecution after officers kill people. But it’s likely going to take compromise.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Change restrictive state law on police use of force (editorial) — Washington’s laws wrongly protect even the most rogue police officers from criminal liability. That must change.
► In today’s NY Times — The GOP and health care chaos (editorial) — What will happen if President-elect Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress carry out their pledge to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 health reform law? By most estimates, up to 22 million people, many of them poor or older Americans, will lose their health insurance.
► From Bloomberg — What’s next for Trump, Congress on overtime rule? — The decision seems to mean that it’s up to lawmakers in Congress to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act if they want to raise the salary threshold for automatic overtime eligibility from the current level, about $24,000 per year. But President-elect Donald Trump’s administration is expected to also consider publishing a new regulation to either tweak the one on hold or scrap it altogether.
ALSO at The Stand — Texas judge blocks OT pay raises for millions
► In the LA Times — Appeal the overtime ruling (editorial) — Any appeal would go through the 5th Circuit, considered the nation’s most conservative federal appellate court. We hope that even those justices would recognize that a regulation with a seven-decade history has withstood enough of a test of time to survive this challenge. Hanging in the balance is an element of basic fairness — paying people for their labor and protecting them from exploitation, which is exactly what Congress intended.
► In the Washington Post — Help workers earn a living wage (editorial) — The overtime rule needs to be updated. The likeliest place for that to happen is not in the federal courts, where an Obama administration appeal is unlikely to prosper, but in Congress — where Republicans have been gunning for the Obama administration rule. Our concern is that lawmakers probably won’t go far enough.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump claims, with no evidence, that ‘millions of people’ voted illegally — President-elect Donald Trump said on Sunday that he had fallen short in the popular vote in the general election only because millions of people had voted illegally, leveling the baseless claim as part of a daylong storm of Twitter posts voicing anger about a three-state recount push.
► In today’s Huffington Post — Stop perpetuating the myth of vote fraud to distract from the reality of massive voter suppression (by Kristen Clarke) — Voter suppression tactics come packaged in different forms but there is usually one single justification put forth by suppression proponents. They claim these restrictions are needed to prevent voter fraud and that there are “millions of people illegally voting.” When pressed to provide the proof, they are unable to offer any because vote fraud simply does not exist. Once we move beyond the myth of vote fraud, greater focus must be placed on the reality of voter suppression that threatens the integrity of American democracy.
► In the NY Times — What unions got wrong about Trump (by Steven Greenhouse) — Why, after unions spent more than $100 million to defeat Donald Trump, did Hillary Clinton win only narrowly among voters from union households, 51 percent to 43 percent, according to exit polls? In a further indication that union leaders were not on the same wavelength as the working-class whites who tipped the election to Trump, Clinton lost among union households in Ohio, 49 percent to 44 percent… Unions are brainstorming how to weather a Trump presidency. Some will no doubt work with Mr. Trump on rebuilding infrastructure and overhauling trade agreements, while other unions will do battle with him — on his plans to repeal Obamacare, deport millions of immigrants and much more.
► In the P.S. Business Journal — Judge rules Amazon pilot strike must end — The pilots with ABX Air have been striking since Tuesday after alleging unfair practices, but the airline announced that U.S. District Court Judge Timothy S. Black in Ohio determined the labor dispute is minor and ordered the union and ABX must resolve differences through arbitration and their labor agreement.
► From The Hill — Postal Service critics complaining about red ink ignore facts (by NALC President Fredric Rolando) — There is red ink but it has nothing to do with the mail. Instead, it stems from the 2006 decision by a lame-duck Congress to compel the Postal Service to pre-fund future retiree health benefits. No other public agency or private company has to do this even one year in advance; USPS must pre-fund these benefits decades into the future. That $5.8 billion annual charge not only accounts for the ‘red ink,’ it disguises the actual profits postal operations have been generating for years.
► In the NY Times — Cities vow to fight Trump on immigration, even if they lose millions — Across the nation, officials in sanctuary cities are promising to maintain their policies of limiting local law enforcement cooperation with federal immigration agents. In doing so, municipal officials risk losing millions of dollars in federal assistance for their cities that helps pay for services like fighting crime and running homeless shelters.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.