Wednesday, February 13, 2019
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Despite advice from mayor, Spokane voters approve tax for police and firefighters — Ignoring the advice of Spokane’s mayor, voters overwhelmingly approved a $5.8 million-a-year tax that will pay for more police and firefighters. The tax will allow the city to hire 20 new police officers and maintain 30 recently-hired firefighters currently funded by a federal grant about to expire. — Voters approve levy for Spokane Valley Fire Department
► In today’s Seattle Times — Seattle Public Schools levies passing by wide margins — In Seattle, both measures were capturing more than 60 percent of the “yes” vote. In Renton, voters appeared less willing to approve school funding, and a bond measure was failing.
► In today’s News Tribune — Voters saying yes to school construction bonds, early election results show — Early results of February’s Special Election shows voters approving construction bonds for Bethel, Peninsula and Yelm school districts.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Arlington school construction bond failing in third try
EDITOR’S NOTE — This looks to be the third time a majority of voters there voted “yes” to approve school construction and better security, only to have it fail because of the nonsensical super-majority requirement that allows a minority of anti-tax folks block needed improvements in public schools. The Legislature must fix this!
► In today’s Columbian — Vancouver school levies sail to passage— Evergreen school levies off to narrow, early lead— Ridgefield bond trailing in early results — Hockinson levies fail; La Center’s leads in early count
► In today’s Skagit Valley Herald — Burlington-Edison bond failing, other district levies passing in early election results
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Kennewick school bond passing
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Bond votes: Nail-biters in West Valley, Sunnyside
► From Leeham News — Aerospace supplier consolidation leading to unionization at some — While Boeing is enjoying “labor peace” in its Northwest facilities, a couple of aerospace industry suppliers are in the midst of contract negotiations with the largest union representing aerospace industry workers in the region. At one of the new Collins Aerospace plants in Everett, those talks are contentious… It would not be the least bit surprising if there is more union organizing in the supply chain in the years ahead. In fact, it may be a perfectly rational response on the part of aerospace workers to the wave of mergers and buyouts that have swept through the industry.
► In the Auburn Reporter — MultiCare Auburn workers set informational picket for quality care Feb. 21 — MultiCare Auburn Medical Center caregivers (SEIU Heathcare 1199NW) and supporters will gather for an informational picket for quality health care Thursday, Feb. 21 from 2:30 to 5 p.m. outside the center’s emergency room, 200 N. Division St.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Federal lawsuit accuses Hanford contractor Lockheed Martin of fraudulent billing — The civil lawsuit also accuses Lockheed Martin of using federal money to pay millions of dollars in kickbacks that rewarded those involved in improper conduct that boosted profits.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — 1,600 dairy cows die in blizzard west of Tri-Cities — Farmers worked around the clock to try to protect their cows. It wasn’t enough.
► From the AP — Legislators advance mental health plan, debate privatization — A proposal for a statewide network of community mental health facilities has advanced on a bipartisan vote amid questions over whether they should be publicly operated. The measures would respond to the state’s mental health crisis by transferring treatment for capacity for civilly committed patients from two mental hospitals to a network of smaller regional facilities. But while lawmakers from both parties have broadly embraced the idea, leading Republicans and Democrats said who would run the facilities remains an open question. “We haven’t made any final decisions,” said Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle)… Sen. Steve O’Ban (R-Univ. Place) has introduced a bill that would allow nonprofits and for-profit businesses to qualify to run the facilities.
► In today’s Seattle Times — People with disabilities can save for college, life expenses with new state savings plan — The Washington state ABLE savings account allows people with disabilities to save tax-free for living expenses without jeopardizing eligibility for federal aid programs. “This is a groundbreaking program,” says the mother of one participant.
► In today’s Washington Post — Lawmakers rush to resolve last-minute snags in spending bill as shutdown looms — Lawmakers on Capitol Hill scrambled Wednesday to finalize a sweeping spending bill that includes a compromise on border security two days ahead of a deadline for government funding to expire, as last-minute disputes arose on an array of issues. While President Trump appeared open to signing the legislation — which includes far less funding than he has sought for construction of barriers along the southern border — White House officials said he was waiting to see the final package before making a decision.
ALSO at The Stand — Rally Saturday at Sea-Tac Airport: No more federal lockouts!
EDITOR’S NOTE — Perhaps those who want to keep our federal government open for business should be lobbying Fox News personalities and urging them against criticizing the deal. Ultimately, those people have more power than anyone at the White House over Trump’s decisions.
► From The Hill — Poll finds opposition to another shutdown, divide on wall
► From The Hill — 26 percent of federal workers used retirement funds during shutdown — About 26 percent of respondents said they used funds for their retirements to pay bills or manage other expenses during the shutdown, during which about 800,000 federal workers were furloughed or required to work without pay.
► From HuffPost — Trump’s shutdown is turning out to be a nightmare for this tax season — In December, the IRS was already bracing for an especially challenging tax season when the partial government shutdown gutted its workforce, sending the agency into a tailspin, according to a report released Tuesday by the agency’s internal watchdog group.
► In today’s NY Times — Smaller tax refunds surprise those expecting more relief — The tax overhaul that took effect last year promised relief, but now that returns are being filed, some people are baffled. They’re getting smaller refunds — or sometimes having to write a check — even though nothing in their situation seems to have changed. The average refund among early filers was down 8.4 percent, according to the IRS.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Also, that tax giveaway to corporations and the rich, which was supported by Washington’s Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Jaime Herrera Beutler and Dan Newhouse, and its resulting deficits are being used as an excuse to cut Social Security and Medicare, just as labor warned it would.
► In today’s Washington Post — ‘You can feel it now’: New Democrats push party, and 2020 candidates, to the left on divisive issues — A new generation of Democrats is using far-reaching policy ideas and a brash social media presence to upend the party — pushing it to the left on divisive issues such as health care and climate change while it charts a path aimed at taking the White House in 2020.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Record 7 million Americans are 3 months behind on car payments, a red flag for economy — “The substantial and growing number of distressed borrowers suggests that not all Americans have benefited from the strong labor market,” economists at the New York Fed wrote in a blog post.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Ya think?
► In today’s Denver Post — Denver teachers strike to continue for third day as marathon negotiations show “pathway forward” — Denver’s teachers strike will continue for a third day after union and district negotiators spent more than 12 hours in a marathon bargaining session Tuesday that seemed to show progress toward crafting a new compensation deal for the city’s educators.
► In today’s NY Times — After winning a $15 minimum wage, fast food workers now battle unfair firings — They are asking the New York City Council to shield them from being fired without a valid reason. That protection, the sort of job security that unions usually bargain for, would be a first for a city to provide to workers in a specific industry, labor law experts said.
► From Variety — Tom Hanks, Octavia Spencer back SAG-AFTRA strike against ad agency BBH — More than 40 high-profile actors are backing SAG-AFTRA’s five-month-old strike against ad agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty. “We stand united with our fellow performers who work in commercials and seek access to fair wages, safe sets, access to healthcare and a meaningful pension,” the statement said. “It’s time for advertisers and agencies like Bartle Bogle Hegarty Inc. to do the right thing. When you make an ad, make it union.”
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.