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$1.2 million a day, Jay vs. Cathy on tax plan, sick and detained at 10

Wednesday, November 1, 2017




► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle Public Schools says it will seek $1.2M a day if school-bus drivers go on strike — Seattle Public Schools said Tuesday that it intends to seek damages of $1.2 million per day from its school-bus contractor if the contractor’s drivers go on strike and students have no way to get to school. In a letter to First Student, the district strongly encouraged the company to resolve its issues with its 400 bus drivers, who are represented by Teamsters Local 174. If it doesn’t, the district will seek damages “to the maximum extent of the law.”

ALSO at The Stand — Seattle school bus drivers prep for strike at First Student

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Northeast Washington smelter plans raise concerns — Last year, a Canadian company announced plans to build a $325 million silicon smelter in northeast Washington. About 150 people are expected to work at the smelter, making high-grade silicon for use in solar panels and computer chips. Average wages are projected in the $70,000 range. But as smelter details emerge, however, some local residents question whether the project is right for their area.

► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — RiverCities Transit cuts routes due to staff shortages — Staff shortages have cut RiverCities Transit bus routes at a time when agency officials say they were already considering route changes. Five employees resigned early in October, dropping the number of bus drivers to 16.

► From KUOW — Burien neighbors write ‘love letters’ to immigrants targeted in controversial flier — The flier that started uproar came from a group called Respect Washington and listed names and addresses of people who are allegedly undocumented and accused of crimes. In response, a group of Burien neighbors are writing what they call “love letters” to the immigrants targeted.




► In today’s Olympian — State worker unions get court victory in public records clash with conservative group — A coalition of state worker unions was handed a court victory Tuesday in a long-running feud with the Freedom Foundation, a conservative organization dedicated to shrinking the influence and size of unions. A panel of three state Court of Appeals judges unanimously reversed a lower court ruling, saying workers have constitutional privacy protections that bar the Freedom Foundation from getting the names and corresponding birth dates of employees through public records requests.

ALSO at The Stand — Court ruling protects state employees’ privacy

► From KUOW — Legislative leaders respond to report on sexual harassment in Washington Capitol — Leaders in the Washington Legislature said they won’t tolerate sexual harassment, and encourage women to report unwanted attention from men. Those comments follow our investigation with The News Tribune of Tacoma into the workplace climate at the state Capitol.




► From the (Longview) Daily News — Inslee sounds alarm on GOP tax plan during Vancouver visit — Gov. Jay Inslee appeared in Vancouver on Tuesday afternoon to sound the alarm over a proposal circulating in Congress that he said would “victimize hundreds of thousands of Washington taxpayers.” Currently, Washington residents are permitted to deduct their local sales and property taxes from their federal income taxes. Congressional Republicans are considering removing the deduction as part of a larger overhaul of the tax code. Speaking at the Vancouver Firefighters Local 452, Inslee called it a “midnight raid of middle-class families’ incomes” and called on local congresswoman Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-3rd) to oppose it. “This is an emergency,” said Inslee. “And it’s an emergency because Republicans want to do this quickly before anyone finds out what’s going on.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-5th) has been an unabashed and vocal supporter of the yet-to-be-unveiled Republican tax plan. She brags that it will get rid of tax loopholes for special interests. Apparently, those “loopholes” include the one that protects the people of Washington state from paying higher taxes than other states because we have no state income tax.

► In today’s NY Times — Republicans delay releasing tax bill, signaling trouble for party — The bill, which had been scheduled for release on Wednesday, was delayed until Thursday, as Republicans struggled with the daunting arithmetic of drastically cutting tax rates without alienating key constituencies by eliminating popular tax breaks.

► From Politico — House GOP struggles to unite on tax bill — Republican leaders have refused to ditch the idea of imposing some limitation on 401(k) plans. The reason comes down to basic math: Republicans want to lower the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, and collapse and lower individual rates into four brackets — and targeting 401(k) plans could help pay for those cuts.

EDITOR’S NOTE — So there you have it. To provide a massive tax cut for corporations, some of which already pay little or nothing on federal taxes, Republicans want to take away tax incentives for working people to save for retirement.

► From Politico — Poll: Voters like tax reform overall but cool to corporate cut — Overall public support for the tax plan outlined in September by President Donald Trump and GOP Hill leaders remains steady, but a key part of the plan, lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent, remains one of its least popular aspects. A plurality of respondents said it shouldn’t be part of tax legislation.

► In today’s Washington Post — Republicans to propose keeping top tax rate for very wealthy, working to win over moderates — House Republican leaders plan to propose preserving the top income-tax rate for very wealthy people, a last-minute adjustment to their plan to overhaul the tax code that they hope will assuage concerns that it will mainly benefit the rich. The bill will aim to slash corporate tax rates.




► In today’s Washington Post — ACA insurance exchanges open for fifth year after Republicans fail to kill them off — Despite Republicans’ attempts to tear down the Affordable Care Act, the law’s fifth annual insurance enrollment season began Wednesday morning, opening a 45-day window in most of the country for eligible consumers to buy health plans for the coming year.

ALSO at The Stand — Health coverage signups begin Wednesday — In our state, the open enrollment period for the seeking health insurance through Washington HealthPlanFinder runs from today through Jan. 15, 2018.

► From Politico — Dems weigh government shutdown over Dreamers fight — Senate Democrats are weighing whether to use their ultimate leverage — the threat of a government shutdown in December — in their bid to protect hundreds of thousands of so-called Dreamers from possible deportation. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a prospective 2020 presidential hopeful, raised the specter of a year-end showdown last week when she declared she wouldn’t vote for a spending bill that doesn’t help children of undocumented immigrants who came to the country as minors. Republicans will need Democratic votes — definitely in the Senate and almost certainly in the House, too — to pass legislation to keep the government funded.

► In today’s NY Times — ACLU sues Trump administration over detention of 10-year-old immigrant — Rosa Maria Hernandez, 10, who has cerebral palsy was stopped by Border Patrol agents in Texas last week on her way to surgery and later detained. She had been living in Laredo, Tex., with her parents, where she was brought illegally from Mexico when she was 3 months old.

► In today’s Washington Post — Is this who we are? (editorial) — Is this what President Trump had in mind when he promised that federal enforcement resources would be focused on the “bad hombres”? Rosa Maria Hernandez, whose developmental delays put her on a mental par with a 4- or 5-year-old, faces deportation in a case that calls into question the judgment — not to mention humanity — of federal agents. It also should prompt reassessment of the change in policy from that of the Obama administration, which focused enforcement on recent arrivals and those with serious criminal records, to one in which anyone — anywhere — apparently is fair game.

► From The Hill — Poll: Most say this is lowest point they can remember for U.S. — A recent poll published by the American Psychological Association finds 59 percent of Americans surveyed think this is the lowest point in the nation’s history that they can remember. A slightly larger percentage, 63 percent, say they are stressed about the nation’s future.




► In today’s Seattle Times — New pilot contract at Alaska raises pay to levels just below largest U.S. airlines — A new combined labor contract for the pilots of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, finalized Monday, provides hefty wage increases that bring the highest pay rate to $251 per flight hour, with increases of 3 percent in 2018 and in 2019.

► From AP — Postal Service eyes next-day Sunday delivery for holidays — As consumers demand ever-quicker and convenient package delivery, the U.S. Postal Service wants to boost its business this holiday season by offering what few e-commerce retailers can provide: cheap next-day service with packages delivered Sundays to your home.


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

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