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Inslee’s budget ● ACA anxiety ● No raise for most

Monday, December 17, 2018




► From the AP — Inslee proposes $54.4 billion state budget with new tax on capital gains — The plan would fund existing government services — such as schools, prisons, parks and social-service programs — and provide $675 million for new collective-bargaining agreements that give raises to state workers. The budget would fund his plans to reshape the mental-health system and add $1.1 billion in new education spending, from early learning through K-12 and higher learning, including $103 million to expand college financial aid.

ALSO at The Stand — Teachers’ unions back Inslee’s budget plan — But AFT Washington urges greater investment in Washington’s community and technical colleges.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Inslee’s big tax plan: Even Democratic lawmakers aren’t all on board — While many say they support his ambitious budget proposal, Washington’s Democratic lawmakers Friday gave mixed reviews of Gov. Jay Inslee’s $3.7 billion tax package. Three moderate Democratic senators (Takko, Mullet, Hobbs) say they are unlikely to support a capital-gains tax.

► In today’s Columbian — Will state’s minimum wage hike have major impact on Clark County employers? — Washington’s minimum wage is scheduled to jump one dollar to $12 per hour in January, the third in series of four annual wage hikes prescribed by the I-1433. A local economist expects the impact of the latest wage hike to be relatively minimal compared to the larger increase (to $13.50) scheduled for 2020. Still, the pay bump will be a welcome New Year’s gift for the people receiving the increase.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Columbian fails to find a business owner who’ll complain about the coming increase.

► In the Seattle Times — Yakima County strains to pay for $65/hour court interpreters vital for justice — Two full-time Spanish interpreters, supplemented by freelance interpreters, provide assistance for criminal defendants, parties in civil lawsuits and families of juvenile offenders so they can hear court proceedings in their own language and be able to actively participate in the process. It is a job where more help is needed, the county’s budget is straining and state reimbursements do not make up the difference.

► In the Spokesman-Review — Shea donations from surplus campaign money prompt complaint — The Spokane Valley Republican’s use of leftover campaign funds for contributions to conservative groups has drawn a PDC complaint.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Would a $2 billion gas-to-methanol plant in Washington state help combat climate change? — Yes, according to a study of greenhouse-gas emissions requested by the state Shoreline Hearings Board for the project planned for a 90-acre site at the Port of Kalama. The 241-page document concludes that Washington methanol made from cleaner-burning natural gas will slow the growth of a Chinese methanol industry based on more expensive – and much more polluting – coal-based technology. But some critics still disagree that the plant would reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing buying 80% stake in Embraer for $4.2 billion — Boeing will have operational and management control of the company. Embraer will keep consent rights for some decisions, such as the transfer of operations from Brazil.




► In today’s Washington Post — ACA ruling creates new anxieties for consumers and the health-care industry — The ruling by a federal judge in Texas striking down the Affordable Care Act has injected a powerful wave of uncertainty about recent changes woven into the U.S. health-care system that touch nearly all Americans and the industry that makes up one-sixth of the economy. The opinion, if upheld on appeal, would upend the health insurance industry, the way doctors and hospitals function, and the ability of millions of Americans to access treatments they need to combat serious diseases.

► In the NY Times — What the Obamacare court ruling means for open enrollment — When a federal judge in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act on Friday, ruling that its mandate requiring most people to buy health insurance was unconstitutional, it thrust Obamacare into the spotlight right at the deadline to sign up for next year’s coverage. Open enrollment was scheduled to end on Saturday in most states, and every year, a surge of people sign up at the last minute.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Open enrollment as ended on Saturday, BUT… you can still sign up during a Special Enrollment Period if you experienced barriers to finalizing your plan. But you have to take action by this Thursday, Dec. 20. After Dec. 20, you may qualify for a special enrollment period if you or anyone in your household had certain life changes — got married, just moved to the state, etc. — in the past 60 days. Get more info!




► From NPR — Almost 15,000 migrant children now held at nearly full shelters — The national network of more than 100 shelters are 92 percent full, forcing the government to consider a range of options, possibly including releasing children more quickly to sponsors in the United States or expanding the already crowded shelter network.

► From The Hill — GOP leader faces Trump test in latest shutdown crisis — Senate Majority Mitch McConnell has made it clear that he wants to avoid a government shutdown, for which Republicans would get most of the blame. But he’s letting Trump, who has threatened to veto a spending bill that fails to fund his wall, take the lead.

► In today’s NY Times — A shutdown looms. Can the GOP get lawmakers to show up to vote? — Just days before a deadline to avert a partial government shutdown, Trump, Democratic leaders and the Republican-controlled Congress are at a stalemate over the president’s treasured border wall. But House Republican leaders are also confronting a more mundane and awkward problem: Their vanquished and retiring members are sick and tired of Washington and don’t want to show up anymore to vote.

► In today’s Washington Post — China temporarily suspends increased tariffs on U.S. vehicles and auto parts — China took a step toward extending its truce with the Trump administration Friday, announcing that it would temporarily suspend punitive tariffs imposed on American-made cars and auto parts as the U.S.-Chinese trade war ramped up. But the gesture was somewhat hollow, analysts said, as the tariffs will simply return to their July level.




► From MarketWatch — More than half of Americans say they didn’t get a pay raise this year — Although the economy saw new peaks in 2018, not all Americans report reaping the benefits. More than 60% of Americans said they didn’t get a pay raise at their current job or get a better-paying job in the last 12 months, according to a new survey.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Didn’t get a raise? Get a union! Get more information about how you can join together with co-workers and negotiate a fair return for your hard work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!

► In the Detroit News — Snyder signs laws weakening minimum wage, paid sick leave initiatives — Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder on Friday signed controversial bills to weaken minimum wage and paid sick leave initiatives that had been headed toward the Nov. 6 ballot before the Republican-led Legislature intervened. Democratic minorities in the state House and Senate were unable to stop the GOP maneuver, which has no direct precedent and is likely to spur lawsuits.

► From Fast Company — Did a slave make your sneakers? The answer is: probably — According to a new report, one of the largest sectors that relies on forced labor is the $3 trillion apparel and footwear industry. An estimated 60 million to 75 million people are employed in this global sector. And while most of us realize that these workers are paid very little, the reality is that some are not paid at all.




► From Gizmodo — Hundreds march on Amazon Fulfillment Center warehouse in Minnesota — On Friday evening, this placid town of 40,000 on the outskirts of Minnesota’s Twin Cities became the epicenter of the fight for humane working conditions at one of the world’s most valuable companies. Friday’s protest was intended to pressure Amazon to not only improve working conditions and allow for proper religious expression, but to create a fund that addresses racial disparities in the community and set up an independent review body for HR complaints.

EDITOR’S NOTE — It’s a shipping warehouse, not a “Fulfillment Center.” Amazon likes to call it that, among other reasons, to try to get out of paying warehouse industry wages in Europe, where pay is negotiated by industry.


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

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FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!