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VOTE! ‘Enough’ at Capitol, GOP raising taxes, ACA sign-ups spike

Tuesday, November 7, 2017




TODAY (Tuesday, Nov. 7) is the deadline to mail or deposit your ballot in a local dropbox. You have until 8 p.m. but you should do it earlier than that. See the list of labor-endorsed candidates who have been vetted, interviewed and recommended based on where they stand on wages, health care, housing and other working family issues. If you have questions about how to vote or want to locate a ballot drop box near you, check with your county auditor’s office.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Collapse of T-Mobile-Sprint merger talks eases layoff worries — Employees at Bellevue-based T-Mobile have been spared months of layoff speculation with the collapse of a merger deal, which could have led to cuts of an estimated 20,000 jobs. The end of the saga could also lead to more wireless price cuts.

► From The Stranger — New Seasons grocery store has faced labor backlash in Seattle, now its Portland workers want a union — The Portland-based grocery New Seasons (think Whole Foods lite) has begun its expansion into Puget Sound. At nearly every step of the way, New Seasons has faced backlash from local unions. UFCW Local 21 has led a campaign against the company. In Mercer Island, UFCW 21 hosted an “unwelcome ceremony” for the new store. In response to the Central District plans, a letter signed by unions and community leaders criticized the company for gentrification as well as its employee benefits and working conditions. In Capitol Hill, labor and community groups sent regional leaders a letter saying New Seasons creates “an anti-union climate” in its stores and could undermine nearby unionized stores. Now, workers at New Seasons’ Portland locations want to unionize.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — City appealing ruling on minimum firefighter staffing levels — The city of Everett is appealing an October ruling by a state labor-management board that said it must negotiate minimum staffing levels with firefighters. Staffing levels are a “fundamental prerogative of management,” and the budget process, the city argues. IAFF Local 46 leaders have said they are satisfied with the ruling. They long have argued that staffing impacts workload and safety and should be subject to bargaining.

► In today’s (Aberdeen) Daily World — Financial pressures result in 7 layoffs at Grays Harbor Community Hospital — The targeted employees (UFCW 21) work in the hospital’s health information management group. The hospital plans to outsource their work to a private vendor.

► In today’s News Tribune — St. Joseph Medical Center goes from D to A on hospital-safety report card — In spring of 2017 Tacoma’s St. Joseph Medical Center earned a D from a nonprofit hospital safety ranking guide. Now, it’s one of only two A hospitals in the South Sound.




► From AP — Women sign letter calling for change at Capitol — More than 170 women — including lobbyists and lawmakers — signed a letter Monday calling for a culture change at the Washington state Capitol when it comes to dealing with sexual harassment. The signers, who include more than 40 lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle, say that as “women serving and working in the legislative and political realm, we add our voices to the chorus of ‘enough.’ ”

ALSO see coverage in today’s Seattle Times.

► In the Seattle Times — Washington ranks third in State New Economy Index — Any place that stands a chance at landing Amazon’s HQ2 had better come off well in the State New Economy Index, a gold-standard measure by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation think tank. In the report released today, Washington ranks third behind Massachusetts and California. That’s one rung higher than 2014.

► From GeekWire — Bugged by budget cuts, state aerospace chief John Thornquist says he’s ‘moving on’ — John Thornquist said the Office of Economic Development and Competitiveness has been hard-hit by budget reductions over the past few years. Most recently, the funding for international trade assistance has been reduced by 60 percent, he said.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Sen. Kirk Pearson (R-Monroe) resigns to join Trump administration — The staunch supporter helped bring a campaigning Donald Trump to Everett in 2016.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The four hours Trump spent in town cost the city $79,000.




► MUST-READ in today’s NY Times — Republican tax plan would raise taxes on millions — Nearly half of all middle-class families would pay more in taxes in 2026 than they would under current rules if the proposed House tax bill became law, and about one-third would pay more in 2018, according to a New York Times analysis, a striking finding for a bill promoted as a middle-class tax cut.

► From Vox — The Republican tax plan’s original sin (by Matthew Yglesias) — Raising taxes on individuals is an inevitable consequence of the Republican tax plan’s original decision — an unpopular and unworkable scheme to reduce the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. The business tax cuts in the GOP plan add $1 trillion to the deficit over 10 years, accounting for two-thirds of the total net tax cutting. And with plenty of tax cuts for rich people also in the plan, that leaves Republicans raising taxes on many families and increasing the deficit.

► In today’s Washington Post — Who wins biggest in the GOP tax plan? The lazy rich. (by Catherine Rampell) — The Republican tax bill is often described as being weighted toward “the rich.” But that’s not the full story. It’s actually weighted toward the loafer, the freeloader, the heir, the passive investor who spends his time yachting and charity-balling. In short: the idle rich.

► In today’s Washington Post — Two words in the GOP tax bill mean tens of billions for the superwealthy — There is little surprise that the Republican tax bill would include an estate-tax repeal. But what is surprising is that the tax bill also allows the beneficiaries of estates to not pay capital gains taxes on the increase in value of assets held by the estates.




► In the Seattle Times — Paradise Papers: Millions of leaked files shine light on where the elite hide their money — The Paradise Papers are shedding light on the trillions of dollars that move through offshore tax havens. They focus on a Bermudan law firm that helps clients reduce their tax burden; obscure ownership of assets like companies, real estate and yachts; and set up huge offshore trusts.

► In today’s NY Times — After a tax crackdown, Apple found a new shelter for its profits — Tim Cook was angry. It was May 2013, and Cook, the chief executive of Apple, appeared before a U.S. Senate investigative subcommittee. After a lengthy inquiry, the committee found that the company had avoided tens of billions of dollars in taxes by shifting profits into Irish subsidiaries that the panel’s chairman called ghost companies. “We pay all the taxes we owe, every single dollar,” Cook declared at the hearing. “We don’t depend on tax gimmicks,” he went on. “We don’t stash money on some Caribbean island.” True enough. The island Apple would soon rely on was in the English Channel.

► From the Guardian — Offshore cash helped fund Steve Bannon’s attacks on Hillary Clinton — Leaked documents show how the billionaire Bannon patron Robert Mercer built a $60 million war chest for conservative causes inside his family foundation by using an offshore investment vehicle to avoid U.S. taxes.

► From The Guardian — Bernie Sanders warns of ‘international oligarchy’ after Paradise Papers leak — Bernie Sanders has warned that the world is rapidly becoming an “international oligarchy” controlled by a tiny number of billionaires, highlighted by the revelations in the Paradise Papers.




► In today’s Washington Post — ACA sign-ups spike at open enrollment’s start — In the first few days of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, the numbers of participants has surged compared with the past, according to federal officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the administration has yet to release official numbers. More than 200,000 Americans chose a plan on Nov. 1, the day open enrollment began, according to one administration official. That’s more than double the number of consumers who signed up on the first day of enrollment last year. More than 1 million people visited, the official federal website, the official said, which amounts to roughly a 33 percent increase in traffic compared with 2016.




► From Last Week Tonight — State and local governments offer large financial incentives to attract employers to their part of the country. John Oliver explains what communities get, or often don’t get, in return.


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

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