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Archives: June 2012

June
30th

10th district candidates split on future of health law

The federal health-reform law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday is shaping up as a point of sharp differentiation between candidates in the 10th Congressional District campaign. Three major-party candidates in the six-person field put out statements after the ruling – with Democrat Denny Heck of Olympia celebrating the law’s constitutionality, Republican Dick Muri of Steilacoom repeating his call to repeal the law, and Republican Stan Flemming of University of Place appearing to back away from his commitment to repeal the law if elected.

The three other candidates didn’t put out statements. But two of them – Sue Gunn, a Progressive Independent from Olympia, and Steve Hannon, an independent from Yelm – favor a single payer system (in other words a system like Medicare). Democrat Jennifer Ferguson of University Place has said she likes the direction the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was headed with an expansion of Medicaid for the poor.

Gov. Chris Gregoire made clear Thursday that Washington state is moving ahead to put the law fully into effect by January 2014.

Here are excerpts from the candidates’ news releases, starting with Heck, who called attention to what the law does for consumers:

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June
29th

AP: Washington Supreme Court puts injunction against roll-your-own-smokes tax on hold

That means the injunction will not take effect and the state can start collecting the higher taxes on the roll-your-own stores around the state.

By collecting the higher cigarettes taxes (versus the lower tax on pipe tobacco used the in the ryo process) the state will boost the price for those smokes to just a few dollars lower than regular cigarettes. The small industry has argued that the higher tax rate will put them out of business and had convinced a Franklin County judge to stop enforcement. They argued, and the judge agreed, that the change was a tax hike

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June
29th

State gains $55.6 million budget cushion after lower caseload forecast

It isn’t much, but Washington state budget writers are taking every nickel and million dollars they can get these days. This week’s quarterly caseload forecast is predicting smaller increases in many program enrollments through June 2013 – with the biggest savings coming in the Medicaid medical assistance to poor families, according to the state Office of Financial Management.

Bottom line: $55.6 million in reduced costs expected through mid-2013 and a $350 million cushion against state emergencies over the next year.

The “categorically needy” program in Medicaid that serves people whose low incomes or situation

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June
29th

Auditor answers questions about Aug. 7 primary election

With the Aug. 7 primary election just over a month away, Pierce County Auditor Julie Anderson today addressed questions about the ballot, the voters’ pamphlet and deadlines to register to vote.

Here’s the news release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 29, 2012

Pierce County Auditor answers questions about Aug. 7 primary election
If you have questions about the upcoming primary election, you’re not alone.

Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012 is Election Day. On July 12, 2012, every household will be mailed a Pierce County Official Local Voters’ Pamphlet. On July 20, 2012 the Auditor will mail a primary

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June
29th

6th District Republican candidate Bill Driscoll produces first TV ad

In the first TV ad prepared for the coming campaign, 6th District Republican Bill Driscoll compares his decision to reenter the military while in his 40s to his entry into the campaign for Congress.

Driscoll, who has worked in the timber business and in real estate, asked to be recommissioned in the U.S. Marines and served tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He compares the reaction he received from friends – that he was crazy – to the reaction he received when he entered the campaign.

“Now people say I’m crazy to be running for Congress,” he says, “but someone’s

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June
29th

Ricoh to reimburse state $4M for copier over-charges

Washington state government agencies are getting a $4 million windfall through a settlement deal announced today that requires Ricoh Americas Corp. to pay back overcharges on copier services.

Ricoh has a $17 million a year contract with the state for supply of copiers and service, which expires next April. The review of charges was ordered after an anonymous note tipped off the Washington Attorney General’s Office in 2009 to the overcharges, according to the state Department of Enterprise Services, which announced the agreement this morning with a news release on its web site.

The settlement is based on a sampling of contract sales done by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in response, and it covers charges dating to 2007 by Ricoh’s subsidiary IKON Office Solutions, said DES spokesman Steve Valandra.

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June
28th

Erik Hanberg leaving City Club of Tacoma

Erik Hanberg, a Metro Parks commissioner, is leaving his day job as executive director of the City Club of Tacoma.

Hanberg announced today that he has given notice to the City Club board, offering to stay on through Aug. 31 to ease the transition.

He said he plans to help his wife, Mary Holste, with her design business, finish a sci-fi novel and spend time with his newborn daughter, Hannah.

“Fatherhood has a way of making things very clear, and these past couple of months with a new family have helped me realize it’s time for

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June
28th

Gregoire says court ‘victory’ keeps state in forefront

Gov. Chris Gregoire says today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding federal health reform is a victory and a relief for Washington state and its people, and she said the Evergreen State is leading the country on the health reform path.

The Democratic governor, who is nearing the final six months of her final term, invoked the recent cancer diagnosis of her husband, Mike, and said thousands of Washington residents will now have the same comfort she did in not worrying about insurance coverage to help cover treatment costs.

Read the full post here.