October 26, 2015
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Study: Loss of blue-collar middle class jobs is hurting Seattle



Seattle is seeing a growth in jobs on both the top and bottom of the income ladder, but the number of blue-collar, middle-class jobs is shrinking, according to a new study commissioned by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. The Seattle Times and KPLU covered the report.

Between 2009 and 2013, Seattle lost about 7,000 blue-collar jobs paying a median wage of $49,000 a year, according to the study by The Boston Consulting Group. Without those positions, the region will eventually have trouble attracting new business and talent.

In contrast, during that time period Seattle gained 20,000 low-income jobs (paying a median $27,000 a year) and 18,000 high-income jobs (paying a median $87,000).

It's a topic that came up at the Keep Washington Competitive press conference held last week on the Seattle waterfront. In response to a reporter's question about blue-collar work, the employers and labor leaders noted that when a software developer's plumbing fails, he certainly appreciates that Seattle still has a few blue-collar workers left.

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House Democrats Opposed Carbon Tax

Opposing Inslee's climate proposals is a bipartisan affair

By Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch

A couple of weeks ago, Gov. Jay Inslee announced a new carbon-emissions reduction plan and declared any lawmaker who opposes it a "fear monger." He said opponents are joining ranks with "the climate deniers." And he blamed Republicans in the Legislature this year for failing to act on his big plan to restrict and tax carbon.

Well, I don't think the governor is giving his own party enough credit. It wasn't the Republicans who killed his grandiose cap-and-trade proposal. Democrats killed it before the Republicans even had a chance. ...

People in both parties recognize there are big problems with these overweening schemes to remake our economy and our society. Democrats are as leery as anyone. It's just that most of us don't like to go public with our misgivings.

The latest development is that the governor is ordering the Department of Ecology to impose another poorly thought-out carbon program -- that's one way to avoid a vote of the Legislature. I'm not sure he will get away with it, but it's no wonder he's trying.

Even if we could change the world climate with an immediate reduction in carbon emissions, Washington simply doesn't produce enough to make a difference -- just two-tenths of one percent of global output annually. At best the governor's proposals would reduce a small fraction of that, and any reductions in this state will instantly be offset by increases on the other side of the globe.

Click here to read the full op-ed in Crosscut
Washington Benefits From the Ex-Im Bank

It's past time for Congress to reauthorize Ex-Im Bank

By The Yakima Herald-Republic's editorial board

Congressional representatives get paid to govern, not grandstand. It appears that enough House members recognize that reality, and now a key piece of legislation stands a legitimate chance of passing -- with great benefit to the Yakima Valley and Washington state.

The issue involves the Export-Import Bank, which Congress created in 1934 and has reauthorized 16 times in the ensuing decades. But a small minority in Congress this year held up reauthorization on the argument that it amounts to corporate welfare.

It is not so much welfare as it is a tool that enables companies, especially American companies, to conduct business across international borders.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Yakima Herald-Republic
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