Wednesday, April 26, 2017
► In today’s Olympian — Lawmakers need to find their spines (editorial) — The Democrats have balked at holding a floor vote for their roughly $3 billion tax package, which includes a modest capital gains tax on sales of stocks. The Democrats fear, perhaps rightly, that any final package will be smaller, so the Senate will kill anything the House approves and then attack Democrats in 2018 for “voting for billions in tax increases.” So much for convictions. The majority Republicans controlling the Senate are no less cowardly. Their budget doesn’t really balance and would force some schools to cut teaching positions. That hardly squares with a Supreme Court order for the state to fully fund basic education costs, including salaries for staff. Plus, the GOP sends its flawed budget, which includes a $1.5 billion increase in the state share of property taxes in mostly Democratic districts, to voters in November. So much for convictions.
Sometimes that’s how legislative sessions go. But on Friday, Senate-majority Republicans went further, engineering a “gotcha” that was silly and cowardly. Using a proposal from Republican Sen. Dino Rossi of Issaquah, the Senate GOP pushed for a floor vote on a fake tax package that included the controversial capital gains proposal… This Senate parlor game was not enough for some. Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen of Ferndale put out a silly, taxpayer-funded press release claiming that the vote proved no Senate Democrats support the House tax package. This kind of gamesmanship may fit in a college fraternity where boys full of beer are showing off for their peers. But voters are not as dumb as Ericksen thinks.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Wait. Ericksen was in this Washington?
► From KNKX — After early release scandal, Inslee appoints agency veteran to lead Corrections — Washington state has a new secretary of Corrections. Stephen Sinclair has been with the department for 28 years. Most recently he was in charge of the prison division. He was previously the superintendent of the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla.
► In today’s Seattle Times — A carbon tax is right for environment and economy (by Philip Jones and Howard Behar) — As a moderate Republican and an independent, we don’t always see eye to eye on how to solve some of society’s biggest challenges. But on climate change we agree: Taxing the sources of carbon pollution is a pragmatic, bipartisan, common-sense solution.
► From Reuters — Boeing near decision to launch 737-10 jet, sources say — Boeing is nearing a decision to launch a larger version of its 737 workhorse jet within two months to counter strong sales of the Airbus A321neo, after a breakthrough on the design for one of its parts, industry sources said.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing’s budget ax falls on popular gym for employees — On Friday, Boeing is closing a massive and beloved gym facility near Boeing Field, a former haunt of CEO Dennis Muilenburg that’s heavily used by current and former employees.
► From AP — Judge cites Trump’s words in blocking ‘sanctuary city’ order — For the third time in two months, a federal judge has knocked down an immigration order by President Donald Trump and used Trump’s own language against him. In a ruling on Tuesday, U.S. District Judge William Orrick quoted Trump to support his decision to block the president’s order to withhold funding from “sanctuary cities” that do not cooperate with U.S. immigration officials.
► In today’s News Tribune — Immigrants again on hunger strike at Northwest Detention Center, advocates say — More than 40 immigrants held at the Northwest Detention Center on Tacoma’s Tideflats are taking up another hunger strike, according to an immigrant rights group. The detainees are protesting conditions in which they are detained, which they also did two weeks ago.
► In today’s News Tribune — Public hearing draws opposition to Northwest Detention Center — The overwhelming response from people who came to air their thoughts on Tacoma’s interim regulations for correctional facilities was clear: They don’t want an immigration detention center in this city. Tacomans showed up to speak against the Northwest Detention Center’s very existence, much less any potential future expansion.
► From Huffington Post — Inside the immigrant-prosecuting machine that transformed America’s deportation policy — When President Trump took control of the immigration enforcement system, he inherited a well-oiled machine for prosecuting immigration violations that has continued to grow even as illegal border crossings decline. When Trump talks about imposing a “deportation force,” most observers interpret that as a reference to Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Border Patrol. But the most powerful tool he wields against unauthorized immigrants may well be the criminal courts.
► In today’s Seattle Times — The Affordable Care Act has been good for Washington state (editorial) — Under the Affordable Care Act, nearly 2 million people in Washington state and tens of millions more across the country have health insurance coverage. The ACA, also known as Obamacare, is not failing in Washington state. Now it’s up to Congress to stay out of the way of success and focus instead on making the Affordable Care Act better.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Which brings us to…
► In today’s Washington Post — House GOP’s ‘Freedom Caucus’ leaders back new health-care plan — White House officials and several Republican lawmakers claimed Tuesday they were nearing a deal on health-care legislation with the House Freedom Caucus, with at least three leading figures in the hard-line group ready to support an overhaul after the dramatic collapse of talks last month.
► From Huffington Post — New version of Obamacare repeal would gut pre-existing condition guarantee — If enacted, it would allow states to re-create the conditions that existed before the Affordable Care Act took effect — a time when insurance premiums were cheaper, chiefly because insurers didn’t have to pay the big medical bills of people with serious conditions.
► From Politico — Moderates chafe at Republican healthcare compromise — It’s not clear that any deal can actually deliver the votes of moderates that Trump and Ryan need to get their legislation across the finish line. That’s a dangerous dynamic that could sink the revived health care discussion just as Freedom Caucus members are warming to the bill.
► From CNN — Mnuchin promises Trump’s tax cuts will be biggest ever — President Donald Trump is proposing “the biggest tax cut” ever, even as the government struggles with mounting debt. The proposal faces a massive hurdle in that lower rates would blow a hole in the budget, possibly causing the national debt to soar by more than a trillion dollars over a decade… The plan will not include provisions to increase spending on infrastructure projects.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump’s tax plan: Low rate for corporations, and for companies like his — President Trump plans to unveil a tax cut blueprint on Wednesday that would apply a vastly reduced, 15 percent business tax rate not only to corporations but also to companies that now pay taxes through the personal income tax code — from mom-and-pop businesses to his own real estate empire.
► In today’s NY Times — Arthur Laffer’s theory on tax cuts comes to life once more — A white cloth napkin, now displayed in the National Museum of American History, helped change the course of modern economics. On it, the economist Arthur Laffer in 1974 sketched a curve meant to illustrate his theory that cutting taxes would spur enough economic growth to generate new tax revenue. More than 40 years after those scribblings, President Trump is reviving the so-called Laffer curve as he announces the broad outlines of a tax overhaul on Wednesday. Trump’s advisers argue that deep cuts in corporate taxes will ultimately pay for themselves with an explosion of new business and job creation.
► From TPM — GOP Congress ignores Trump threats, proceeds with deal to avoid shutdown — With mere days before Friday’s deadline to continue funding the government, the White House is delivering mixed messages on whether President Trump will demand money for a border wall. But lawmakers, including many Republicans, signaled Tuesday that they are navigating around Trump’s about-faces and are close to sealing a deal to keep the lights on.
► From Daily Kos — Trump might put a professional union-buster on board intended to protect workers’ right to organize — Trump likes to occasionally pretend he doesn’t 100 percent hate unions, usually by spending time with the relatively friendly building trades unions. But for anyone tempted to believe that, check out one of the people on his short list for NLRB. Doug Seaton is a professional union-buster — and that’s something new, even for Republican presidents.
► From Huffington Post — Jobs still going to Mexico as Trump’s 100th day approaches — The clock’s ticking on Trump’s promise to change the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.