Friday, February 9, 2024
► From the News Tribune — WA schools would lose nearly $6 billion if initiative to repeal capital gains tax is approved — Washington state could lose nearly $6 billion in funding for education, early learning programs, and childcare over five years if an initiative to repeal the capital gains tax is approved by voters, according to a fiscal note released by the Department of Revenue Thursday. The capital gains tax, signed into law in 2021, imposes a 7% tax on profits over $250,000 from the sale of assets including stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. The tax is paid by a small percentage of wealthy Washingtonians. Farms, real estate, retirement, and many other accounts are exempt from the capital gains tax.
EDITOR’S NOTE — It’s one of several initiatives being financed by Redmond hedge fund CEO Brian Heywood. The Seattle Times called him “Tim Eyman with a gigantic bank account.”
► From the News Tribune — Without good schools, Tacoma’s economy suffers. Invest in our future (by Nathe Lawver and Andrea Reay) — Tacoma Schools Proposition 1 is a school improvement and safety upgrades bond measure that impacts most of Tacoma’s 56 neighborhood schools, including replacement or major renovations at 11 sites with an average age of 71 years old. The $650 million bond measure re-invests in local workers and businesses right here in Tacoma-Pierce County, while addressing needed school improvements.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Learn more at RenewOurCommitment.org.
► From the (Longview) Daily News — Students need our help. Let’s support Cowlitz County levies. (editorial)
EDITOR’S NOTE — School districts across the state have replacement levies and bond authorizations on the ballot Tuesday, Feb. 13. Support our schools and vote “yes!”
► From Crosscut — Will WA ever end supermajority law for school construction bonds? — Bonds raise taxes for building and maintenance. While the proposal faces hurdles, there is a precedent — school levies needed 60% approval until 2007.
► From the Senate Democrats — Stanford bill funding more paras in schools passes Senate — Public schools across Washington would be able to have more paraeducators in schools to better meet student needs, under SB 5882 passed by the Senate on a 37-11 vote. It is sponsored by Sen. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell).
EDITOR’S NOTE — The Washington Education Association says Stanford’s bill (SB 5882) “is a step in the right direction and it shows we have the power to improve ESP staffing and pay. It’s also a rallying cry that shows we need to plan for an even bigger push in the next legislative session to make sure both ESPs and our students get what we need.”
► From the (Everett) Herald — Everett paraeducator wages increase as board approves new contract — After months of bargaining and protesting, Everett Public Schools approved a bargaining agreement with paraeducators, boosting hourly pay by around a dollar or two for most positions. However, paraeducators still have work to do, said Laura Rogers, the chapter president of Public School Employees of Washington, who are set to resume bargaining with the district this spring.
► From the House Democrats — House passes bill closing the wage gap for all protected classes in WA — The fight for true pay equity in Washington took a meaningful step forward Thursday with the House of Representatives voting out HB 1905. Introduced by Rep. Sharlett Mena (D-Tacoma), this proposed legislation builds on the Equal Pay Opportunity Act by including protections for all protected classes, not just gender. The Senate companion bill, SB 5894, is sponsored by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-University Place).
► From the Senate Democrats — Senate passes Keep Our Care Act — SB 5241, sponsored by Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton), would ensure hospital mergers and acquisitions don’t restrict patients’ access to critical health care, such as end-of-life, reproductive and gender-affirming care. It passed the Senate 28-21 on Thursday.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Senate approves bill boosting dancer protections and allowing alcohol service
► From Reuters — How production pressures plunged Boeing into yet another crisis — In October, Boeing CEO Dave Calhoun was asked how fast Boeing could raise output of its best-selling 737 MAX after a spate of quality snags. He was upbeat: Boeing would get back to 38 jets a month and was “anxious to build from there as fast as we can.” … Interviews with a dozen current and former industry executives suggest it was the pressure to produce coupled with an exodus of experienced workers that contributed to a slow-rolling industrial train wreck, ending with 171 passengers staring out of a gaping hole at 16,000 feet. Said one:
“It looks like Boeing has been more focused on investing in ramping up into higher production rates than taking its quality system to the next level.”
► From KIRO — Boeing worker claims company has been cutting corners at Everett plant — A Boeing employee at the company’s Everett factory shares his concerns over non-compliance issues and what he calls lax management. “It pains me to even be at this point,” the employee said. “It hurts because I know Boeing could be significantly better.”
► From the Seattle Times — Rudder bolts inspected on all Boeing 737 MAXs; no more faults found — A quality control lapse at Boeing discovered in December has proved less significant than it first appeared. Airlines worldwide have inspected the rudders on the more than 1,400 737 MAX aircraft in service globally for loose bolts and found no faults.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Cathy McMorris Rodgers won’t seek re-election in 2024 — After two decades in Congress, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers announced Thursday she will not run for re-election in November. Her decision is part of a wave of retirements from the House and Senate, including Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor), who announced in November that he wouldn’t seek re-election. As of Thursday, 41 House members had announced they wouldn’t seek re-election to their seats.
► From the Spokesman-Review — Local politicians and leaders reflect on Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ surprise retirement announcement — Liberals are rejoicing that an opponent of abortion rights and the Affordable Care Act will soon be out of the halls of Congress.
EDITOR’S NOTE — She has a lifetime AFL-CIO Voting Record of just 12%.
► From NPR — Supreme Court justices appear skeptical of effort to remove Trump from a state ballot — The court’s justices on Thursday, over more than two hours of oral arguments, broadly appeared to be searching for a way to keep Trump on ballots, leaving election decisions to voters.
► From Forbes — Bitter battle rages over effort to raise pilot retirement age to 67 — The contentious issue is being addressed as part of FAA reauthorization, which has become one more area where the Senate version is in conflict with the House version. The Senate version generally has the support of labor including the Air Line Pilots Association. ALPA President Jason Ambrosi:
“Raising the pilot retirement age is a solution in search of a problem. Labor doesn’t want it; airlines are not calling for it, and the FAA says it shouldn’t happen. I’m not sure why we should be arguing about this.”
► From NPR — Senators ask CEOs why their drugs cost so much more in the U.S. — Sparks flew on Capitol Hill Thursday as the CEOs of three drug companies faced questions from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions about why drug prices are so much higher in the United States than they are in the rest of the world.
► From the AP — Inflation is nearly back to 2%. So why isn’t the Federal Reserve ready to cut rates? — From Wall Street traders to car dealers to home buyers, Americans are eager for the Federal Reserve to start cutting interest rates and lightening the heavy burden on borrowers.
— AFL-CIO ✊ (@AFLCIO) February 8, 2024
► From the NY Times (via the Seattle Times) — Costco, Starbucks among firms cracking down as child labor claims proliferate — Many major U.S. companies — including Starbucks, Costco and other major consumer brands — say they are taking steps to eliminate child labor in their domestic supply chains amid revelations that children are working throughout American manufacturing and food production.
► A related story from The Onion (June 19, 2013) — Audience at press conference relieved to hear steps will be taken — Said one attendee:
“It’s a relief to know they’re not taking the situation lightly and remain committed to looking into the matter at every level. They also said continuing efforts were in place to hold accountable any responsible parties, so obviously that’s great to hear, as is their promise to leave no stone unturned. I’m just happy all proper measures are being implemented, you know?”
Several members of the press nodded in agreement, saying the only thing left to do now is tell the American people the good news.
► Henry Fambrough, the last surviving original member of the legendary R&B group The Spinners, passed away this week at the age of 85. Here’s a personal favorite of the many #1 hits by the Spinners, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just last year. It features lead vocals by Philippé Wynne with Fambrough on the far left, and it’s guaranteed to blow your mind.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.