Features

Time for Cathy McMorris Rodgers to Take Stand for Boeing, Export-Import Bank

by Seattle Times Editorial

International competition for Boeing on display at the Farnborough Air Show shows why GOP leaders can’t play games with the Export-Import Bank. Worried bank advocates say it’s not just about Boeing. Ninety percent of the Ex-Im Bank’s loans go to small businesses.

Ranks of Washington’s Medically Uninsured Have Fallen Below 9 Percent

by BRAD SHANNON | Olympian

The state Office of the Insurance Commissioner estimates that the overall 970,000 of uninsured residents has fallen by 38 percent to about 600,000. That drops the uninsured rate to 8.65 percent of the state, down from about 14 percent.

Lawmakers Quiz Health Insurance Exchange on Glitches, Budget

by Carol M. Ostrom | Seattle Times

Lawmakers grilled officials from Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange Thursday, making it clear they’ve heard plenty from constituents who say they’ve paid their premiums but still don’t have health coverage — in most cases because premiums, which they paid to the exchange, aren’t getting to the insurer. The lawmakers’ tales of patient woe were backed up by brokers, a representative of the state’s doctors and Len Sorrin, representing Premera Blue Cross.

Tumbling Down – State’s Jobless Rate Drops to 6-Year Low

by Marc Stiles | Puget Sound Business Journal

The state’s unemployment rate fell from 6.1 percent in May to 5.8 percent last month. The nation’s rate was 6.1 percent. The primary job loss was in government, which was down 1,400 positions. Construction and manufacturing also lost 400 jobs each.

The EPA’s Carbon Plan Asks the Least from States that Pollute the Most

by Philip Wallach and Alex Abdun-Nabi | Washington Post Op-Ed

Two Brookings scholars write, “EPA asks the most from states that have made large past investments in natural gas or nuclear power, and those that have set themselves the most ambitious plans for developing renewable energy sources. EPA’s attempts to avoid picking fights may be admirably prudent, but it is not fair.”

The Coming Democratic Schism

by Thomas B. Edsall | New York Times Op-Ed

There is a striking generational split in the Democratic electorate. Even though younger voters lean toward the Democratic Party, they clearly do not fit into traditional left-right categories. An overwhelming majority of the older cohort, 83-12, believes that “government should do more to help needy Americans, even if it means more debt,” while a majority of the younger Democratic respondents, 56-39, believes “government cannot afford to do much more.”

Gun-Show Loophole Initiative at 70 Percent in Statewide Poll

by Joel Connelly | Seattle PI

Initiative 594, designed to close the “gun-show loophole,” is headed into the fall campaign with 70 percent support in the latest statewide Elway Poll. The survey found much greater backing for I-594 than the 46 percent registered for rival Initiative 591, sponsored by gun-rights activists.

Pension Committee Looks for Middle-Way on Rising Retirement Costs for State, Local Government and Employees

by BRAD SHANNON | Olympian

The upshot is potentially a $1.2 billion bill next year for state and local government employers for the coming two-year budget cycle, and employees could be on the hook for $408 million more. But a phase-in of payments is possible. The Pension Funding Council meets July 28 and has the formal job of setting rates paid by state workers, teachers and local government workers, as well as governments in 2015-17.

State and Local Pension Payments Could Increase by $1.2 Billion for 2015-17

by Washington Policy Center (conservative)

Accepting the actuarial recommended rates could increase the funds required for pensions in the 2015-17 budget by $1.2 billion (including local government – $482 million for just the state’s general fund). Another potential pension bombshell is currently sitting at the State Supreme Court as justices consider a union lawsuit that could add another billion plus in pension costs.