January 11, 2016
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As President Obama vetoes ACA repeal, millions choose IRS fines as more affordable than health insurance

President Barack Obama on Friday vetoed a bill that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Meanwhile, millions of uninsured Americans are deciding that paying a fee to the IRS for violating the ACA's insurance purchase mandate is cheaper than buying health insurance.
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Changing faces: Rep. McDermott retires from U.S. House; new lawmakers appointed to Legislature

The new year begins with new faces in Olympia and candidates emerging for open positions. From Congress to the statehouse, races are emerging as the election year officially begins. Meanwhile, a new Elway poll finds a tight margin in the campaign for governor: "Gov. Jay Inslee has a race on his hands," pollster Stuart Elway wrote in the survey released last week.
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Bertha digs into fresh soil again for the first time in more than two years

The Highway 99 deep-bore tunneling machine dug into fresh soil for the first time in 25 months last week. The big digging machine known as Bertha resumed its trek underneath downtown Seattle after two years of repairs, retrofitting and rescue via a waterfront pit.
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Employers eligible for Work Opportunity Tax Credit for hiring hard-to-place job seekers

A federal tax credit means that employers could reduce their federal tax bill up to $9,600 per new hire for giving a chance to prospective employees who might ordinarily have a hard time getting a job. Eligible groups include people on public assistance, needy or disabled veterans, non-veterans with disabilities and felons while on work release or shortly after being released from prison.
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Costly Carbon Cap Sends Money Elsewhere

Ecology's Carbon Rule: A Money Transfer from Washington to California and Wall Street

By the Washington Climate Collaborative

Washington is one of the lowest-carbon states in the nation when it comes to emissions from road vehicles, electricity generation, manufacturing, or commercial and residential buildings. A combination of forward-thinking policies and innovation has reduced our carbon emissions below what they were in 1990 and created a clear and downward trend into the future. We fully expect the state to meet its emissions goals for 2020, which is to have Greenhouse Gas emissions reduced to 1990 levels. All of us -- families, farmers, workers and employers -- are invested in protecting our environment, and it shows in the many ways this success has been achieved.

The reality of this makes Gov. Jay Inslee's proposed carbon cap all the more puzzling. A year ago, he submitted a cap and trade proposal to the Washington State Legislature that would have created a $1.3 billion energy tax on Washington consumers. His most ardent supporters in the Capitol saw the problems with implementing this policy, and his proposal failed to even get a vote.

Click here to read the full blog post from the Washington Climate Collaborative
The TPP is Good for Washington

Ratify Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact

By The Herald Editorial Board

More than 40 percent of all jobs in the state are tied to trade, reports the Washington Council on International Trade. The state Department of Commerce reports that state exports topped $90.5 billion in 2014, a 10 percent increase over 2013. On a per capita basis, the state agency says, Washington state is the nation's largest exporter.

Washington state and many of its businesses and workers now also stand to benefit following the completion this fall of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement among the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim countries, the largest trading partners being Japan, Australia, Canada and Mexico. President Barack Obama is expected to put the pact before Congress later this year for either its approval or its rejection.

Click here to read the full editorial in The Herald
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