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Archives: April 2009


Tacoma Municipal Court offers a break to suspended drivers

The Tacoma Municipal Court is offering to work with its collection agency to waive interest charges and a portion of collection costs for people with outstanding criminal and traffic parking tickets and fines.

The offer, good during May and June, is intended to help people regain their driver’s licenses after the license has been revoked because of unpaid fines and fees, city officials said.

“Public safety is improved when drivers are licensed and insured,” Presiding Judge David Ladenburg said in a statement.

Drivers with outstanding tickets or fines may

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Rep. Ross Hunter makes it five candidates for KC executive

Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, is the second legislator to jump into the race. Sen. Fred Jarrett is there, too.

As Finance Committee chairman, Hunter worked on a lot of bills to help local governments with their budget problems, that is, trying to give them the means to pay for public services. Those are called “taxes.” The locals got some flexibility, but only transit actually got any new taxing authority.

Let me double check that when I get back to work.

Credit this story to Joel Connelly at the seattlepi.com.


Governor asks state workers for reform ideas

Jason Mercier of the Washington Policy Center passed on this letter the governor sent to state workers. She told reporters on Monday it’s now up to her and her administration to implement the budget the Legislature sent her.

Dear Fellow State Employee:

As you know, we just finished perhaps the toughest legislative session since the Great Depression. There may be a special session to complete a handful of items, but the truly heavy lifting is done including passage of the operating budget.

I know the last months have been hard for you and your families too. There is uncertainty about the future of programs to which you have dedicated your working life, as well as uncertainty about your own future.

Although overall budget uncertainty has ended, there is still a lot of hard work ahead as our agencies absorb and manage their way through budget cuts to balance a $9 billion shortfall. It is up to us to make this budget work as best we can!

All of us, as a team, must carry out the work ahead with great sensitivity and care. I know this is not just a budget document. It’s about all of you, the families who depend on you, and the citizens we all came to serve.

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Foss Waterway Seaport gets $750,000 in state budget

Tom Cashman of the Foss Waterway Seaport sent me this e-mail news release. I’m assuming the $750,000 he’s talking about was in the capital budget. The governor will take action on the budgets by May 19, perhaps earlier on capital budget because it’s all about “jobs,” dontcha know.

Governor, legislature deliver: Balfour Building receives funding for repairs
$750K approved for seismic work for home of Foss Waterway Seaport

TACOMA – Tacoma’s historic Balfour Dock Building on the Foss Waterway will get much needed public safety and seismic bracing now that the Governor’s request for $750,000 for the work was included in the 2009-2011 budget the legislature approved yesterday.

Built in 1900, the Balfour Building is located at the birthplace of the Port of Tacoma.

"We’re absolutely thrilled," said Tom Cashman, executive director of the Foss Waterway Seaport which leases the building from the city’s Foss Waterway Development Authority (FWDA). "It’s a grand old building, and we have exciting plans for it that will help showcase its tremendous size, its beauty and the important role it played in Tacoma’s maritime culture."

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Organized labor says it got the shaft in final days of session

I’m taking a few days off to recover from those final two weeks of session, which are not-stop action and news. But I’m checking my e-mail and will post item from time to time.

Here, David Groves at the state Labor Council gives his take on those final 24-48 hours.

A fitting end to an anti-worker session

In final hours, legislature removes benefits from unemployment bill,
cuts health funding for state employees, passes new tax breaks

If there was any doubt remaining about whether corporate interests superseded those of working families in the 2009 Legislature, it evaporated in the session’s final weekend.

The State Senate, where Democrats have a 31-18 majority, refused to concur with the House-approved version of SSB 5963, the unemployment insurance bill. The Senate voted to strip the bill of its restoration to a 4.0 benefit multiplier, an $8 to $19 weekly benefit increase that would have taken effect next year when the temporary benefit increase expires. The Senate also voted to CUT benefits by taking away the discretion of the Employment Security commissioner to award benefits in unique circumstances of good-cause quits.

What remained was a permanent business tax cut lowering 2010-2015 rates about $377 million, and when the economy recovers, about $1.6 billion every five years after that.

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