What about that Bipartisan Immigration Bill?

(LETTER TO THE EDITOR) Americans’ memories for political events are notoriously short-lived, but one event should NEVER be forgotten amid our great immigration controversy.  That involves the bipartisan immigration reform bill that the US Senate passed by a veto-proof 68-32 margin on June 27, 2013.  The bill included a nationwide employment eligibility verification system (E-Verify) and stricter border control, along with a path to citizenship for eleven million undocumented immigrants, an innovative temporary worker program, and increased visa numbers for skilled foreign workers.

Quoting Froma Harrop’s commentary, “Republicans don’t want to fix immigration”: “There were enough supportive Democrats and Republicans to pass the reform in the House as well, but then-Speaker John Boehner didn’t put it up for a vote.” (Spokesman-Review 1/20/18) Purportedly among House Republican leadership, our Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers was complicit in this assault on democracy and majority rule.  Characteristically, she was the consummate political lackey.

House passage of this bill would have rendered it law with then-President Obama’s signature, thus avoiding all acrimony, stress on immigrants, and wasted time and money that has ensued.

Shortly after Senate passage of its bipartisan immigration reform bill, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that the bill would reduce federal budget deficits by $197 billion over the next decade. The bill was the result of bipartisan cooperation among lawmakers, business groups, labor unions, agricultural interests, and immigration advocates. In particular, it was supported by such pro-business and pro-agriculture groups as the US Chamber of Commerce and the local Washington Growers League, an influential Eastern Washington agribusiness association working on immigration in an unusual alliance with the Washington Federation of State Employees. The Chairperson of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration also expressed support.

This legislation could still be rescued by the House, but certainly won’t happen until we make better choices like electing Lisa Brown to replace McMorris Rodgers.

Norm Luther
Spokane, WA 99223

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Taxes and Mcmorris

(LETTER TO THE EDITOR) In her email to constituents, Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers exclaimed “This is huge!” And indeed it is HUGE! The recently-passed tax bill is a HUGE boondoggle for the rich!

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that, under the law, the middle fifth of American households will see an average increase in after-tax income next year of $930 while the top 1 percent gets an average increase of $51,140! This is paid for by an approximately 1.5 trillion dollar increase in national debt over 10 years (nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office). That is HUGE!

Economist Lisa Brown, former Washington state Senate Majority Leader from Spokane and Chancellor of Washington State University Spokane, including the new medical school, is running against McMorris Rodgers. Brown’s analysis: “The fundamental reality of this [tax] bill is that 83 percent of the benefits go to the top 1 percent, and I don’t see that as pro-most families. And I don’t see it as pro-economy either.” (Spokesman-Review, 12/21/17)

My heartfelt thanks to the Republican Party and its loyal echo, McMorris Rodgers, for my first monthly middle class increase in income from the bill. In fact, I’ve already spent it—at the Dollar store. That is MINISCULE!
Norm Luther
Spokane, WA

January 8, 2018

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Single Payer in Washington State




We’re mobilizing Saturday, January 6. Join us!

Down in the dumps about what’s happening in DC? Counteract it by advocating for universal health care in Washington state. We’re hosting events in key legislative districts to build grassroots support for the Washington Health Security Trust bill, get constituents engaged with their legislators, and plan for Lobby Day. These 2018 Countdown to Healthcare for All Action Meetings will be in Southwest Washington, East and South King County, Tacoma/Pierce County, Capital Hill and West Seattle and more. We look forward to seeing you there! See the ‘Events’ portion of this bulletin to RSVP or click here for the details.

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Spokane City Year Recap from Lori Kinnear

Here is a 2017 recap from City Council Women Lori Kinnear, District #2, on the accomplishments of the Spokane City Council.  It looks decent.  The City is expanding community court as an alternative to incarceration, passed a new strategic plan, and funding more assistance to the homeless.

With the same swiftness that fall has seemingly turned to winter, so too did November quickly turn to December. The past six weeks have been extremely busy in the City Council office; so much so that I decided not to do a November newsletter. Instead, here are some of the biggest updates from City Hall as 2017 draws to a close with the much-needed commencement of the holiday season:

Strategic Plan
On Monday, December 11, the City Council voted in favor of a resolution to officially adopt  the new six-year Strategic Plan for the City of Spokane. This plan is the result of joint deliberations between the Mayor’s administration and the City Council and represents a unified strategic vision for the entire City. The plan identifies four main goals: (1) supporting innovative infrastructure, (2) promoting safety and health, (3) enhancing the urban experience, and (4) managing resources in a sustainable manner. In October, the City Council revised its standing committee structure, previously made of five committees, into four committees, each of which is oriented towards one of the four goals. This Strategic Plan includes a two-year action plan for 2018 and 2019 aimed at immediately reducing property crime, embracing diversity, maximizing public assets, improving streets, marketing Spokane, improving access to the Spokane River, building a 21st Century workforce, and investing in targeted areas throughout the City. The plan’s measures for success include growth in the median household income level, increases in property values, improvement to the City’s bond rating, improvement of Spokane’s safety compared to similar Washington cities, and growth in the amount of livable-wage jobs.

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Eyman Files for Initiative for 2018

Tim Eyman just filed with the Secretary of State for a 2018 Initiative to ban the implementation of an income tax at the state and local level.  Of course, the State of Washington does not currently have an income tax. This, like many of his other initiatives, probably would not stand up in court.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
This morning at 11 am in the Secretary of State’s office, we filed our initiative for 2018. It’s really exciting.
We always spend the year before analyzing and deciding what initiative we’re going to do the following year. It’s a tough thing to do — trying to identify the greatest threat to the taxpayers the following year.
For months, while we’ve been working hard on our $30 Tabs Initiative, Jack, Mike, and I have been talking with one another about next year. Two things happened that made our 2018 initiative choice really obvious:
* Pro-capital-gains-tax Democrat Manka Dhingra won the 45th district senate seat, giving complete control of the Legislature to the tax-obsessed Democrats.
* One week after the election, the state supreme court issued a ruling ordering the 2018 legislature to “find” an additional $1 billion in tax revenue.

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