Business and Finance

Issues

I-1351 vs. 2-year colleges — and much else

Initiative 1351, which passed narrowly this month, was a smart bomb aimed squarely at Washington’s higher education and social welfare systems. The initiative ordered the Legislature to pump immense amounts of money into additional staff at the state’s public schools - $4.7 billion just through 2019. Yet it provided no revenues to do it, guaranteeing that the money would have to be diverted from other priorities. It even threatens to hamstring

Read more
Doctors must learn to talk about death, end-of-life care options

America’s health-care establishment is in the midst of a dramatic paradigm shift. Providers nationwide are being called to enact monumental changes in the care delivery model to expand access, improve quality and at the same time reduce cost. It’s a tall order. And yet, the numbers don’t lie. According to the World Health Organization, America spends more on health care than any country in the world — nearly double the amount committed by

Read more
West Coast port slowdown continues as holiday period reduces activities further

The long lines of trucks queuing up on Port of Tacoma Road, a familiar sight since a labor-related slowdown of ship loading activities began Oct. 31, were absent Wednesday as the maritime community prepared for a nearly complete shutdown of activity on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is one of 13 yearly holidays observed by the International Longshore Workers Union, which is in thus far unsuccessful negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association for

Read more
Inslee seeks out key lawmakers on roads package

Gov. Jay Inslee is inviting leaders of the House and Senate transportation committees to weigh in on the multi-billion dollar transportation package he's drafting before its public release. “The governor is going to build on the work that’s been done the past two years in order to promote a solution that sparks action within the next legislative session,” read an email sent today by Miguel Perez-Gibson, the governor’s executive director of

Read more
Generic drug price hikes defy reason

It appears generic drug manufacturers have taken a page out of the playbook of oil companies, which seem to find innovative ways of manipulating the market to maximize profits. #Maximizing profits is a time-honored principle of the free market system. But there are things that are so vital to life that the normal competitive nature of the marketplace aren’t sufficient to keep people from being harmed. #Medicine would certainly seem to fall into

Read more
Ecology report details plans to make oil trains safer

A new, 500-page state report says railroad oil shipments through Washington may increase sevenfold in the next six years and recommends 40 measures to improve safety and protect the environment.The state Department of Ecology report, released Monday, recommends additional spending for emergency planning, training and equipment, rail inspections and ongoing risk assessments.     http://tdn.com/news/local/ecology-report-details-plans-to-make-oil-trains-safer/article_855cb8de-79f4-11e4-8208-3f70d68ae0de.html

Read more
Health plan exchange enters second year, with more options

In a surprise move, the U.S. Supreme Court has said it will resolve another legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act. The crux of the dispute is whether taxpayer-funded subsidies are available only through state-based insurance exchanges, or through all of them. Thirteen states run exchanges. The rest are run by the federal government. The court isn’t expected to issue a ruling until late June. Washington and Idaho have state-based exchanges,

Read more
Congestion at ports rattles growers, importers and truckers

ressure is mounting for terminal operators and West Coast unions to reach an agreement so container shipping in Seattle, Tacoma and other ports can return to normal. Meanwhile, food containers are at risk of rotting, trucks are idle, and goods destined for holiday shoppers are stuck. http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2025004702_portslowdownsxml.html

Read more
Career centers give veterans a fighting chance at jobs

MARYSVILLE — At the Armed Forces Reserve Center here on Wednesday, dozens of people lined up to enter the conference rooms set aside for the Snohomish County Regional Job and Resource Fair. While open to everyone, the event was designed with military veterans in mind, from the choice of venue to the event’s promotion, to the kinds of employers and other organizations that took part. Several police departments, community colleges and staffing

Read more
THE FCC AND NET NEUTRALITY Keep flow of information open

Let's just get this out of the way: net neutrality. Now that you've been lulled to drowsiness, pour yourself a cup of coffee, do a couple jumping jacks, whatever you need to get yourself through this subject, because it does matter to you if you use the Internet for anything more than playing solitaire. Net neutrality is the term used to describe they way the Internet currently works for us. Content providers, among them Netflix, HeraldNet.com and

Read more
Join in effort against domestic violence By Bob Ferguson

I am the father of 6-year-old twins. My wife, Colleen, and I want to raise a son who respects women, and a daughter who lives in a world where she is respected and free from violence. In September 2014, NFL football star Ray Rice's assault on his then-fiance, captured on video, received significant media attention and brought to national awareness the unfortunate prevalence of domestic violence in our society. The statistics are sobering. An estimated

Read more
Budget Information

State Budget Update by David Schumacher, Director, OFM;   Revenue Reforms by Andrew Nicholas, Budget & Policy Center; & Report on Age Wave Forums & Solving LTC Services & Support Financing Puzzle.   David Schumacher -   State_budget_preliminary_outlook_presentation_September_- Andrew Nicholas -  2014 Revenue Reforms      Taxing Capital Gains FAQ Pete Subkoviak presentation (SEIU)         

Read more
Columbia Riverkeeper tests find toxics in fish bound for dinner tables

Before they landed on local fishermen's plates this summer, an environmental group tested five Columbia River fish to see what toxics lay within. The results of Columbia Riverkeeper's analysis weren't unexpected, and for resident fish, they weren't good. The worst? Two walleye, which had high levels of PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, cancer-causing industrial chemicals banned in 1979 that accumulate up the food chain in fish. One had 175 times more

Read more
Mental health court a ‘safe zone’ of help

Assistance program for those in criminal justice system not feeling pinch, official says Tracey Anne Green walks 9 miles round-trip to make her Clark County Mental Health Court appearances. “That’s my meditating time,” Green said Wednesday following a five-minute check-in with a judge. Green, 53, has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. She doesn’t travel by bus from her Hazel Dell mobile home to the

Read more
Freshwater shortage looming as next world crisis

By Don C. Brunell | 0 comments Remember the rhyme of the Ancient Mariner: "Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink?" Even though water covers 70 percent of the Earth's surface, less than 2 percent is freshwater. Therein lies the problem. As the world's population grows, demand for water is increasing; in periods of drought it becomes a crisis. California has been in the grip of a severe drought this year. As summer ends, we are beginning

Read more
Task force may revive 2 unpopular taxes to fund state parks

OLYMPIA — A task force appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee wants to revive two unpopular taxes to help finance the state's park system and promote its outdoor recreation industry. The panel wants to bring back the sales tax on bottled water and the excise tax on motor homes and travel trailers to generate money to keep parks open. Some dollars also would fund new initiatives in the Department of Commerce to put outdoor recreation on equal footing with

Read more
Harborview as busy as ever, even with more people insured

With more people obtaining health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, places like Harborview Medical Center are providing much less “charity” (uncompensated) care. The Emergency Department there is as busy as ever, though.   http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2024629781_harborviewercompanionpiece1xml.html

Read more
State’s top educator aims to energize teacher recruitment Posted by Claudia Rowe

A familiar storyline for teachers is that the newest are brimming with idealism, the more seasoned struggling not to burn out. But after nine years on the job at Lawton Elementary School in Seattle, Lyon Terry’s combination of energy and experience were notable enough that last spring a parent nominated him to be Washington state’s Teacher of the Year.   http://blogs.seattletimes.com/educationlab/2014/09/23/state-educator-of-the-year-aims-to-energize-teacher-recruitment/

Read more
Council meeting on ACLU ruling delayed

The next potential decision in a federal voting rights case against the city of Yakima will come a week later than expected. Earlier this week, the Yakima City Council authorized its defense attorney to negotiate a redistricting plan for city elections with the American Civil Liberties Union, which won a lawsuit against the city in August. The city’s Seattle attorney, Francis Floyd, was to report the ACLU’s response to the council at a special

Read more
How one young couple resolved their own gun debate

My fiance's family bought us a gun. Then things got interesting. Last Christmas, as our family was gathered to open presents, my fiancé reached under the couch cushion he was sitting on and pulled out a handgun. It wasn’t loaded. And he had only good intentions. The gun was a gift from his stepdad and two older brothers — cleverly hidden under his own seat for him to discover. http://crosscut.com/2014/09/22/lifestyle/121956/gun-debate-comes-home/

Read more