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Capital costs increase, trade vacation, myth of the Trump Democrat

Monday, August 7, 2017




► In the News Tribune — Here are some projects that will cost taxpayers more money, thanks to construction budget impasse — Some construction projects have been put on hold and others will continue with creative financing as local schools, agencies and cities wait for the passage of a state capital budget.

ALSO at The Stand — Senate GOP’s brinkmanship suspends construction, kills jobs (by Sen. Bob Hasegawa) — Nearly a month after the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan capital budget on a near-unanimous vote, Senate Republicans continued to refuse to bring it to a vote. They were holding it hostage to try to force the Legislature to pass a totally unrelated water rights bill to “fix” a Washington State Supreme Court decision known as the Hirst Decision, which stopped developers from infringing on the senior water rights of others. Funding the capital budget has never been a partisan issue until this year, and shouldn’t be.

► In the Seattle Times — Implement Hirst decision to allocate state’s water rights cautiously and fairly (by Timothy Ballew II of the Lummi Tribe) — Overturning Hirst would be a shortsighted fix causing lasting damage to the region, especially since the court’s ruling protects everybody’s access to water. We don’t need to “fix it,” we need to help local governments implement it… Water management is a complex issue. Important water-policy decisions should not be made under the pressure of budget negotiations. We stand ready to work with our neighbors and the Legislature to implement a water policy that protects everybody’s access to water.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle-area education officials question adequacy, equity of state’s new school-funding plan — It’s been more than 36 days since the Washington Legislature crammed through a sweeping overhaul of public education. And school districts still don’t have a firm grasp on who wins and loses in that deal.

► In the News Tribune — Rape allegation against division manager reveals ‘highly sexualized’ culture at state agency — A law firm found some workers in the upper ranks of Fish and Wildlife often held or tolerated sexually explicit conversations at work. Some engaged in other inappropriate behavior both on the clock and after hours.

► In today’s Olympian — Hunt agrees to fine in campaign finance disclosure case — State Sen. Sam Hunt of Olympia has agreed to pay a $1,367 fine to resolve a campaign finance disclosure charge that he didn’t report in-kind contributions, expenditures and incurred debts quickly enough.




► In the News Tribune — Decisive union vote cuts the chances that our stuff will be trapped at the port (by Bill Virgin) — Members of the ILWU at 29 West Coast ports agreed to a three-year extension to the existing contract, taking it to 2022. The union reported that early returns suggest the contract extension has been approved by 67 percent of those voting. If that margin holds, it’s a welcome piece of news… Even more welcome, though, is that the West Coast ports, including Tacoma and Seattle, get an additional three years of labor peace, in theory anyway.

ALSO at The Stand — ILWU longshore workers ratify contract extension to July 2022

► In today’s Bellingham Herald — What does inexpensive power mean for Whatcom County? Jobs — Whatcom County’s economy would look much different if it didn’t have access to inexpensive power – much of it provided by a network of hydroelectric dams in the Northwest.

► In the (Aberdeen) Daily World — Rep. Kilmer announces Aberdeen town hall meeting — Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-6th) has announced he will hold a series of town halls throughout the region, including one at Aberdeen High School on Sunday, Aug. 13.

EDITOR’S NOTE — If you live in the 6th District, click here for dates/locations of Kilmer’s other town halls. If you live in the 8th District, click here for Rep. Dave Reichert’s town halls.




► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Local ports worry over Trump’s possible steel tariffs — Last year, 960,000 metric tons of steel passed through docks on the Lower Columbia River — enough steel to build more than 800,000 cars. At least 870 jobs are directly tied to steel imports at the Ports of Kalama and Vancouver, so when President Trump starts talking about slapping tariffs on steel, Southwest Washington ports get understandably uneasy.

► From Politico — Trump delays announcement of trade action against China — In the latest delay of a White House trade move, a planned Friday announcement of President Donald Trump’s trade action against China has been postponed. Democrats have accused the president of being all mouth and no action. “There is a real cost to all the overhyped rhetoric, when the follow-through isn’t there,” Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump’s stalled trade agenda leaves industries in a lurch — Donald Trump promised Americans that they would be exhausted from “winning” on trade under his presidency. But nearly seven months after Trump took office, the industries he vowed to protect have become tired of something else: waiting.





► In today’s NY Times — Trump embraces a senseless immigration proposal — The bill, which would do nothing to solve the country’s immigration and economic challenges, is unlikely to become law. The only way to understand Trump’s vocal support of an obvious turkey is as yet another attempt to energize his dwindling base of right-wing and nativist supporters.

► In today’s NY Times — The debt-ceiling crisis is real (by Edward Kleinbard) — Sometime in October, the United States is likely to default on its obligation to pay its bills as they come due, having failed to raise the federal debt ceiling. This will cost the Treasury tens of billions of dollars every year for decades to come in higher interest charges and probably trigger a severe recession. The debt ceiling is politically imposed, and the decision not to raise it, and therefore to choose to default, is also political. It’s something America has avoided in the past. This time, though, will be different.

► In the Seattle Times — Microsoft’s state, local income tax bill is lowest in 15 years — The Redmond company’s U.S. state and local income-tax bill of $30 million in its just-completed fiscal year is the smallest since it started reporting the figures in 2003. Microsoft’s latest regulatory filing also shows the fruits of the company’s effort to avoid U.S. federal income taxes. The company’s overseas income, untaxed in the U.S., rose to a record $142 billion as of June 30, up 15 percent from a year earlier.

► In today’s NY Times — Republican senator is on a mission to rescue the health care law — The Republican effort to overturn the law is in shambles and the insurance program itself is in serious trouble, leaving Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to try to pick up the pieces. And he is doing so in a way that is virtually unheard-of in today’s Washington — an overtly and unashamedly bipartisan approach.




► In today’s NY Times — UAW accuses Nissan of ‘scare tactics’ as workers reject union bid — Out of roughly 3,500 employees at the Canton-based plant who voted Thursday and Friday, more than 60 percent opposed the union. The election campaign at the plant, where a large majority of workers are African-American, frequently took on racial overtones. In a statement after the vote, UAW President Dennis Williams said:

“Perhaps recognizing they couldn’t keep their workers from joining our union based on the facts, Nissan and its anti-worker allies ran a vicious campaign against its own work force that was comprised of intense scare tactics, misinformation and intimidation.”

► From the AFL-CIO — In Missouri, a race to the bottom — The NAACP took the unusual step this week to declare a travel advisory to African Americans for the state of Missouri. This bold action came in response to legislation passed by the Missouri Legislature limiting workers’ ability to sue over discrimination… Since legislators in Missouri passed a “right to work” law undermining the freedom of workers to negotiate for a better life, they have continued to expand these unfair attacks. Earlier this year, they overturned local powers to set minimum wages, effectively lowering the wage floor in St. Louis from $10 an hour to $7.70. This will have a major impact in one of the nation’s poorest cities.

► In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — More than 100 St. Louis businesses opt to keep $10 minimum wage, despite new state law — More than 100 local businesses have pledged to continue paying workers at least $10 an hour, despite a law taking effect this month that will override a minimum wage raise for more than 30,000 workers in St. Louis. Those that don’t could face protests or boycotts.

► In the Washington Post — Uber’s search for a female CEO has been narrowed down to 3 men — The troubled ride-hailing company trying to replace deposed chief executive Travis Kalanick after a reign defined by highflying growth and a toxic brand of corporate machismo. In the wake of Kalanick’s departure, a number of A-list female executives have made it clear they are not interested in the role.

► From HuffPost — The ironworker challenging Paul Ryan sees path to victory through working people — Although it is a long shot, Randy Bryce’s bid has already attracted national attention. His campaign is an opportunity for Democrats to both regain working-class trust in the Rust Belt and land an unlikely knockout blow against the country’s second-most powerful Republican.




► In today’s Washington Post — There’s no such thing as a Trump Democrat (by Dana Milbank) — It has become an article of faith that an unusually large number of people who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012 switched sides and voted for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. But new data, and an analysis by AFL-CIO political director Michael Podhorzer that he shared with me, puts all this into question. The number of Obama-to-Trump voters turns out to be smaller than thought. And those Obama voters who did switch to Trump were largely Republican voters to start with.

“Democratic analysts who are looking to solve the party’s problem by appealing to this small group of Obama-Trump voters are pointing themselves to a group that by and large is a Republican group now,” Podhorzer told me. “The bulk of Obama-Trump voters are not fed-up Democratic voters; they are Republican voters who chose Obama in 2012. As such, few are available in 2018 or 2020.” Democrats should instead appeal broadly to working-class voters, he said.

This is important, because it means Democrats don’t have to contort themselves to appeal to the mythical Trump Democrats by toughening their position on immigration, or weakening their support for universal health care, or embracing small government and low taxes. What Democrats have to do is be Democrats.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

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