by Goldy, 01/15/2005, 1:22 PM

My regular readers know I don’t much care for the Bastards Building Industry of Association of Washington (BIAW). My first introduction to the BIAW was their Orwellian initiative to ban state ergonomic rules (“Workers Against Job-Killing Rules” my ass,) which earned them a top spot on my list of political windmills. But now that they have so openly become the power-behind-the-power-behind-the-puppet — subsuming the official Republican Party in their efforts to unseat Governor Gregoire by any means — it looks like my quest may not be so quixotic after all.

Ah yes… The Seattle Times reports today, that Democratic legislators are preparing to tie off a couple of the udders on the government sponsored cash cow the BIAW milks to feed its viciously partisan political operations. [Bill to cut income of political foe]

Here’s how it works:

State law allows businesses to form workers’-compensation pools to share insurance risks. The BIAW, which operates the state’s largest such pool, gets refunds from the state every year its premiums exceed claims.

The BIAW keeps 20 percent of the refunds and gives the rest to members who participate in its workers’-comp pool. The association’s take in 2004 was more than $5 million, half of which went to its 15 local chapters.

Under the legislation introduced this week, House Bill 1070, groups like the BIAW could keep no more than 10 percent of their refunds. In other words, the BIAW’s income would be cut in half.

The BIAW’s is the largest, but there are nearly 60 such workers’-comp pools in the state, covering 16,000 employers. While the BIAW skims the maximum 20% currently allowed by law, many other pools charge less.

There is no doubt that the “retro rebate” program has been a modest success, and the BIAW and others deserve credit for efficiently managing their pools. But the program was intended to reduce claims and save employers money, not as a means of exploiting inefficiencies in the workers’-comp system so as to permanently fund partisan political activities.

The beauty of the Democratic proposal is that it is “win-win”: it is both good policy, and good politics. It sends more of the refund money back to businesses (where it belongs,) who will reinvest it in creating jobs for real people… not just right-wing Republican politicians.

Rep. Cary Condotta of Wenatchee complains that the bill is a “blatant political attack.” Well, duh-uh! But so is the $750,000 of workers’-comp money the BIAW spent on Dino Rossi prior to Nov. 2, and the untold hundreds of thousands they have spent since, running deceptive TV and radio ads, and dedicating their entire staff of 30 employees to sifting through voting records and felons lists.

The BIAW has not been shy about threatening to pass a “right to work” initiative, effectively defunding organized labor, one of the Democratic Party’s most steadfast allies. I suppose the Dems should just sit back and whine “Gee… that’s not fair,” as they watch a government sponsored monopoly be used to fund a relentless effort to turn Washington into a one-party state along the lines of Texas?

“They’re just mad because we compete with them in the political arena,” BIAW spokesman Erin Shannon said.

Yeah… well, that’s not exactly how she phrased it to The Seattle Weekly in the heady days immediately following the Nov. 2 election, when she gloated:

“We are kicking their ass. How many years have we whipped labor?”

At the time, Erin also described the past election as “a big ‘Fuck you!’ to all the liberals out there.” Sounds like somebody may have finally washed her potty-mouth out with soap.

Democratic Senator Karen Keiser of Kent, who works in the off-season as communications director for the Washington State Labor Council, says the BIAW’s abuse of the workers’ comp-system to fuel their political agenda is “flat out corrupt and should be stopped.” She told the Times that she has no doubt the Democrat-controlled Legislature will pass a bill, and that Gregoire would sign it.

I sure hope so. This is political hardball… and if the BIAW insists on crowding the plate, they deserve to get beaned.

78 Responses to ““Bastards” play hardball; get beaned”

1. Mark spews:

I’ll grant you a lot of this, EXCEPT the “government sponsored” part. It is the builders’ own money that they overpaid into the workers’ comp program.

2. Goldy spews:

Mark… yes, but the builders overpay to such a degree because of structural inefficiencies in the way the state operates the workers’-comp program. Just because Retro works, doesn’t mean it’s the only or most efficient means of fixing the system.

But I get your point.

3. Dave spews:

Republicans don’t want to push this fight too far. They have more dirty closets to clean out than we do!

a big ‘Fuck you!’ to all the liberals out there.”

Bring it on, Erin. You’ll wish you didn’t!

4. Harris spews:

Wow — you have no interest in the truth, do you? In fact, there is NO MAXIMUM percentage that a retro program may take under state law. BIAW takes 20% — others take more, some take less. If a member doesn’t like what BIAW is doing, they are free to go to another program.

5. Goldy spews:

Harris… I have a definite interest in the truth. I’ll check it out, and if that is a misstatement, I’ll correct it. Not that whether there currently is or is not a “maximum” is important to the argument anyway.

Sheesh.

6. Harris spews:

Please do. You should also probably add that participation is voluntary. BIAW provides a service by assisting participants with safety programs and handling claims. They are only successful if they increase worplace safety. The argument that more money should be refunded to businesses is spurious — retro programs save these businesses significant funds through safety programs and administrative support. Small businesses do not have the resources to do this as effectively as a retro program can.

If you don’t like BIAW and their politics, I respect your opinion and your right to state it (same goes for the WSLC), but call this bill what it is — an attempt to quell advocacy based on the message.

7. Dave spews:

Sorry, Harris, but immoral and foul-mouthed people like this Erin Shannon person deserve LESS influence in government, not more.

I just wrote both Senator Keiser and Rep. Bill Fromhold urging them to continue support of bill 1070.

8. Dave spews:

Goldy, thanks for posting all this information. Don’t let the nitpickers get you down. After all, they wouldn’t be nitpicking if there were anything else to say.

9. Richard Pope spews:

Comment by Goldy— 1/15/05 @ 1:50 pm

Yes, there is a better way than the retro program. Labor & Industries could be run more efficiently, and there would be no need for a retro program and no revenue at all going to BIAW. Not only that, but all employers would save money, and not going those that belong to BIAW. Should be a win-win-win situation for everyone other than BIAW. However, we have 20 years of one-party rule to thank for our present government inefficiency.

At least employers have a choice about which retro plan to join, since any organization can sponsor one. Employers join the BIAW program because it is one of the most efficient. Part of the 20% that BIAW retains is used to improve the program. Different programs give different amounts of retro rebates, depending on their efficiency. Getting 80% of the rebate under the BIAW program is probably more money for most employers than would getting 90% under someone else’s programs.

Like I said, employers have a choice as to what industry association they will join, and what retro program (if any) they will join. Employees, by contrast, often do not — especially if they are teachers or other government employees.

Maybe the BIAW shouldn’t pursue a “right to work” bill, that makes union membership optional. Even in “right to work” states, the overwhelming majority of represented employees end up joining the union anyway.

A much more effective law would be to limit the amount of dues that labor unions could collect from their employees (whether these dues were called “mandatory” or “voluntary”). Some labor unions charge 3% or more of a worker’s earnings for dues. At the same time, unions spend about 80% of their revenue influencing politics, and only about 20% organizing and representing workers.

I think an initiative to limit union dues to one-half of a percent of worker’s income would do a lot more good for (a) the well-being of workers, (b) the competitiveness of our state’s economy, and (c) the fairness of our state’s politics, that would a “right to work” initiative banning compulsory union membership.

10. Harris spews:

Dave, thanks for your comments. While Ms. Shannon’s comments were certainly unfortunate, the point is that the bill is aimed at squelching political speech, and has no other real policy basis. In fact, it’s contrary to small business and workplace safety. That’s my objection.

11. Dave spews:

In fact, it’s contrary to small business and workplace safety. That’s my objection.

That’s fair. Then perhaps there is some middle-ground that can be reached which keeps this money from being used for political activism but still allows the retro rebate program to function as it was originally intended. I can hardly imagine it was designed for the purpose which BIAW is using it.

12. G Davis spews:

I’m afraid I know little to nothing about BIAW or this Retro program(s). Are the Retro(s) supposed to be similar to self insured systems?

I’m not a fan of unions and agree they overcharge for what they usually deliver to their members, but I also detest big business operating under the guise of the well being of their workers.

Usually ain’t no one involved in any of these messes who’s interested in anything other than themselves and the bottom line.

Does this BIAW publish their financial records? If so, where might one find them?

13. Harris spews:

Interesting question, Dave. I can’t say what it was designed for, and there are no statutory limitations. However, I’m troubled about limiting funds incident to a government contract based on the political message. We’re only having this discussion because some are unhappy with BIAW’s communicaitons. The Association of Washington Business, the Farm Bureau, and many other groups are similarly affected. By extension, should we limit spending (like political donations) for those who make a living through government contracts?

14. Dave spews:

By extension, should we limit spending (like political donations) for those who make a living through government contracts?

I see your point. But even in this case, wouldn’t individual spending be of a different class than the pooled money BIAW uses for activism? This retro rebate is not BIAW’s primary income, is it?

15. Dave spews:

Point being, someone on a government contract has only that one source of income that is likely not going to reach into the millions of dollars range. The amount of money involved directly impacts the effectiveness of the activism in this case.

16. G Davis spews:

After reading the Times article, shouldn’t there at least be permission from all it’s members before BIAW uses any monies procured under their names for political agendas?

Aren’t there personal/corporate limitations on political donations no matter where you get the income? Why would that be different for winners of governement contracts?

How can anyone think it’s appropriate for this organization to turn it’s entire staff over to working on a distinct political hot potato?

And isn’t anyone else bothered at all that an org like this is comparing their name to felon records? Seems out of the box to me.

17. Dave spews:

How can anyone think it’s appropriate for this organization to turn it’s entire staff over to working on a distinct political hot potato?

Exactly! And even if someone on a government contract were to donate to politics, they wouldn’t have these kinds of resources at their disposal no matter how much they wanted to influence state politics.

18. bby spews:

I own a small business. Just paid my quarterly to L and I of 611.41 – clerical only.

It is an ourrageous amount given the lack of saftey isues in an office. Sore butt is not covered. In 30 years the business has had one claim for wrist problems, OK with several treatments, and better support.

BUT – to the point, I support the regulation of fees extracted from any pool. Very appropriate use of regulation – since it is a mandatory filing for business owners. No third party should be reaping a windfall.

Will support the bill. Sounds long overduel, and will restore some order and conformity. Call it consumer protection in a unique form.

19. Harris spews:

bby — that’s just the point. It’s not mandatory. Nobody has to participate in a retro program if they don’t want to (or they can join AWB or another retro program). Your “consumer protection” argument is inapposite. Nor is there a “windfall” — retro programs work for, and provide a service to its members. In addition to providing a safer workplace. By that analogy, anyone who contracts with the government receives a “windfall.” Preposterous.

Also — if workplace safety does not improve, retro programs don’t get anything. They bear the risk and are compensated therefore. It’s a good program for workers and for business. If you don’t like BIAW’s message, that’s fine, but this bill is not supported by good public policy.

20. Dan spews:

“20 years of one party rule” … what a joke. Were you around in the mid 90s when the GOP dominated the state legislature?

21. Dave spews:

The “20 years of one party rule” was probably in reference to Democrats and the office of state governor. Nevermind that the Republicans have had a stranglehold on politics in red states for even longer than that. If you want Republican-dominated leadership, Washington State just isn’t where you’re going to find it.

22. G Davis spews:

Harris-How is general contracting with the government analgous to the Retros?

Is the government in any way liable for coverage if the Retro orgs come up short for the worker?

Are all businesses allowed to join a Retro or are they only for specialized areas of employ?

I already admitted to not being knowledgable about these Retro things, so forgive me if these questions are obtuse.

23. Terry J spews:

Goldy:
“Quoting” an unsourced comment and then accusing the alleged perpetrator of Potty Mouth is a bit over the top.

We can both “quote” party spokesmen who have said “chuck you farley”, and that clearly was their message, but it was not what they said.

You make some interesting arguments, but their effect is dimished by the leftist name-calling and potty mouth. See the lined out epithet in the lead sentance.

If your site is meant to be mental candy exclusively for the left, never mind. If you mean to be taken seriously by others not on the left, how do unsources “quotes” and potty mouth advance your purpose?

Any chance you could fix your comments so the window shows the width of the permitted comment? Horizontal Scrolling is so tedious. Maybe it is Mozilla.

24. Dave spews:

Unsourced? Goldy did too provide a source. Here it is again, Terry, go look for yourself!

http://www.seattleweekly.com/features/0446/041117_news_biaw.php

The BIAW is known for rabid opposition to government regulation and a virulent campaign style. It’s one of the biggest political spenders in the state. This past election cycle, it spent between $1.7 million and $1.8 million, mostly in support of three candidates: Republican gubernatorial hopeful Dino Rossi, Republican Attorney General–elect Rob McKenna, and conservative state Supreme Court Justice–elect Jim Johnson. Erin Shannon, the BIAW’s public relations director, is thrilled with the results: “It was a big ‘Fuck you!’ to all the liberals out there.”

and

Shannon of the BIAW: “We are kicking their ass. How many years have we whipped labor?”

It’s in there, and if saying “Fuck you!” to all liberals isn’t potty mouth then thell me, what is?

25. Erik spews:

legislators are preparing to tie off a couple of the udders on the government sponsored cash cow the BIAW milks to feed its viciously partisan political operations

I am not sure I blame the BIAW so much. I blame the legislature which basically granted them a state sanctioned cash trough to take advantage of. If any person or organization was granted a monopoly like this, I suppose many would take advantage of it.

Now that the legislature has caused the problem, they need to fix it. Workers comp rates are going up far faster than the rate of inflation and lead to an increase in the cost of doing business in Washington.

The money should be returned to the small business owners and/or used to reduce worker comp rates.

If the small businesses still want to send a check to the BIAW for lobbying activity, that is their choice.

The concept of a “refund” is laughable. It reminds me of the car commercials where a new truck had a retail price of $35,000 and there was a factory rebate of $2000 in order to try to move the trucks. The commercials asked “what are you going to do with the $2000 rebate you received? Go to Hawaii?.” As if it were free money.

26. zip spews:

It seems very hypocritical of the demos to go after this method BIAW uses to fund their political speech (protected by the first amendment, remember everybody?) It is blatant revenge payback and of course BIAW risked this by getting so far out there. The hypocritical part is that every public employee including teachers has union dues withheld from their check (they have no choice, not a right to work state) a portion of which then are used to support the democrats. This revenge attack against those who exercize free speech in politics is another example of how power corrupts. Just another in the long list of reasons to support a change of power in the near future.

27. Erik spews:

The hypocritical part is that every public employee including teachers has union dues withheld from their check (they have no choice, not a right to work state) a portion of which then are used to support the democrats.

But isn’t there a difference that makes a difference zip. Perhaps some labor expert can clarify this but my understanding is that union members have the choice to not contribute a portion of their dues that goes toward lobbying:

It also clarified that non-members cannot be forced to subsidize union lobbying and public relations.

http://www.nrtw.org/foundation-won.htm#Lehnert

And the US Supreme Court case directly at

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=500&invol=507

However, under the BIAWs actions scheme, there is no opt out provision for participants for the 20 percent the workers comp payment used on lobbying and public relations.

28. Erik spews:

However, union members can opt out of the funds paid for lobbying. The BIAW doesn’t allow someone to opt out of the 20 percent lobbying profit made.

http://www.nrtw.org/foundation-won.htm#Lehnert

29. Aaron spews:

Unions are above board as advocacy for labor. They explicitly exist to not only negotiate and represent, but also to lobby. The BIAW is not equivalent; they are a bunch of self aggrandizing sneaky bastards. They claim to be about the housing industry, but they are really about an anti-government ideology rooted in greed.

Thank goodness there are builders out there who won’t have anything to do with these creeps.

30. Dave spews:

Not only that, but has anyone ever seen the WEA/NEA promoting intellectually dishonest claims like BIAW’s about the non-existent fraud, dead voters, multiple voters, etc? If the BIAW behaved in a respectable fashion they’d have far fewer critiques in this state. Same goes for the Republicans, for that matter. With the voting population in Washington leaning solidly to the Democrats, I’d say these advocacy groups can’t afford to be regarded as merely partisan flimflam.

31. Dave spews:

Well, the WEA/NEA just for sake of example. Same idea applies to other unions, too.

32. G Davis spews:

Union members elect their officials…not analogous unless BIAW has to get permission from it’s co-op members for funds allocation.

33. jcricket spews:

It seems very hypocritical of the demos to go after this method BIAW uses to fund their political speech (protected by the first amendment, remember everybody?)

Oh please. Sure, they’re actual speech is protected, but there’s no law that the government has to kick back the money paid into a worker’s comp program to the lobbying organization. If the BIAW wants to raise money on its own, then fine.

I’ve said it before, Republicans can dish it out, but they can’t take it. They’re both the worst bullies and the biggest cry-babies. When the Democrats put up an absoulutely minimal fight, the Republicans try to shut them down as “obstructionists”. And if the Democrats end up in charge and try even a modicum of the Republican’s actions, the Republicans cry like there’s no tomorrow (not to mention claiming things are un-fair).

Republicans constantly act to diminish the powers of the people they perceive as their political enemies. Whether it’s the near constant redistricting attempts in CO and TX, the ramming through of Medicare druf “reform”, the elimination of funding for any actual global family planning or an attempt to quash “Big Labor”, the Republicans will gladly use their power to their advantage. Remember Bush saying “I earned political capital during this campaign, and I intend to spend it”?

It’s about damn time that the Democrats started using their political capital too in states where they can. The time has long since past for the Democrats to listen to the BS coming from the Republicans about “fairness”. If the voters end up not liking it, they can vote the Dems out of office. I for one would be happy to see the Dems in this state actually make some forward progress on their agenda now that they’re in charge.

34. Chuck spews:

Union members elect their officials…>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

But the union puts money to canidates you dont agree with, YOUR MONEY.

35. Dave spews:

Then Chuck, get a job with a non-union company. Surely THAT will land you in Republican heaven!

36. Erik spews:

Chuck,

But the union puts money to canidates you dont agree with, YOUR MONEY.

From my reading, union members have a choice to opt out of paying for the lobbying activities under the US Supreme Court decision on Lehnert:

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=500&invol=507

Read the case and tell me if its wrong.

37. Chuck spews:

From my reading, union members have a choice to opt out of paying for the lobbying activities under the US Supreme Court decision on Lehnert>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

In theory you are correct, in reality try pulling your money…it isnt as easy as it looks. Also the WEA and PSE arent legally unions, but associations so they arent applicable to those rules

38. Chuck spews:

Boeing has long been a leader in using ergonomics to reduce injuries>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

You are right there Goldy, Boeing has taken extroardanary steps to keep from injuring those in this state…they moved to Chicago!

39. DCF spews:

-Richard Pope, government=inefficiency no matter who runs it. We need to root out the inefficiency and get on with a better state to live in. Timberland Library pays their administrators way more money than they do the peons on the front lines–the peons make the system work. When the library system was faced with a 5M shortfall due to I-747, the administration wanted to do all the cutting at the bottom where the peons work and leave the inflated wages at the top un-touched! If it hadn’t been for our “little” self-supported union, these people would have run rough shod over those that make the system the service it is to the public! Unions are needed for the welfare of the peon, but they go overboard when they are used by the union hierarchy as a trough to siphon money out of for uses other than for the union’s good.

-Chuck, you can always start your own business. I suggested my son do just that the last time he was laid-off, and he did, and he is making more money now than he ever did when he worked for someone else! I think we should all be self-employed contractors; we could get our own health insurance at a much lower rate; not have to pay un-employment tax or L&I tax. If we don’t like contracting our services to a business, we can look for contract work elsewhere–thus making businesses fail or succeed according to their work-place conditions and wages–this to me is the only way to go!

40. bby spews:

Chuck – did the folks who committed fraud in the Boeing tanker deal take their orders from Gary Locke? You seem to blame all the crap at Boeing on some political landscape.

Boeing is poorly run. Not competitive. Lost their focus. Resorted to bribes. Get some facts. They moved to the BIG city for political reasons, and as the first step of geting rid of the airplane business and moving to more lucrative defense work.

They moved corporate leaders to the shining towers of Chicago. More glitz, easier communte to DC and so forth. Good move…doesn’t seem to be helping…..expect a Euro buyout of Boeing eventually….like Mercedes taking Chrislyer.

Frankly, old news.

41. Chuck spews:

-Chuck, you can always start your own business.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Dont worry I have been working for myself for about 5 years now.

42. Chuck spews:

Chuck – did the folks who committed fraud in the Boeing tanker deal take their orders from Gary Locke? You seem to blame all the crap at Boeing on some political landscape.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

No the tanker deal was a stupid deal brought to you by stupid people that for once had nothing to do with the state, however that was a slight jab in the eye compared to the anti buisiness atmosphere in this state…by the way you dont get much glitzier than lib land seattle so dont feed me that.

43. Chuck spews:

By the way, I always suspected Phil was stupid

44. Chuck spews:

Bu he was smart enough to make a serious money haul out of Boeing.

45. bby spews:

Chuck – Seattle is the step sister when it comes to mega centers like New York, Chicago, and Dallas…..esp. for corporate moguls…Seattle hs just hit its stride as “big” city in the last ten years and is tiny population count compared to all the attention it gets.

But so what? Boeing made changes for internal reasons – not horrid external pressures.

46. Chuck spews:

You are wrong! I worked for this company, I read the Boeing news articles relating to the bad buisiness atmosphere in the state. I remember the Frank Shronz telling the guys at the Seattle Commerce meeting that because of the unfriendly buisiness atmosphere Boeing will never build another facility again…he was right, they didnt.

47. jcricket spews:

Remember everyone – in Chuck’s world any time a business fails, it’s due to “anti-business regulations” or a “business-unfriendly environment”. Despite the fact that 80% of new businesses fail across the nation and that Boeing is notoriously mis-managed, it’s got to be Seattle’s fault.

That’s ok Chuck – keep blaming someone else for Boeing failures. Can’t be because they aren’t building planes the airlines want? Or that the airlines need fewer planes because air travel dropped for a few years? Or that their senior management is busy committing felonies while negotiating deals with the US government?

So if a business succeeds here, Chuck will claim that it’s “in spite” of the regulations. But if it fails, it’s always the regulations faults. There aren’t statistics that show businesses fail any more in WA state, which means we’re not business unfriendly.

Oh, and I’m sure that Microsoft’s willingness to build additional facilities and hire another 6-7,000 people at their Redmond facility isn’t a sign that some businesses can thrive here, right? Or amazon.com. Or Starbucks. Or the new towers down town? Biotech on South Lake Union?

Simply put, “business-unfriendly regulations” is a Republican code phrase for “regulations that don’t allow our big corporate contributors to destroy the environment, avoid paying health care for their employees and avoid giving anything back to the community where they are located.”

48. bby spews:

Chuck – you willing to pay a nickel more for a can of pop to pay teachers? So we can keep some of the good ones. Or is that BAD for business?

How can you support the Bush deficits if you are anti tax? Who do you think will pay them off? Your kids and grandkids and you to your deathbed……..taxes, spending out of control at the Fedeal Level…..

49. HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

Psst, the deficit’s shrinking
Larry Kudlow
January 13, 2005

“Here’s one story you won’t find on tomorrow’s front pages: “The U.S. Budget Deficit Is Shrinking Rapidly.” The headline would be accurate, but the mainstream media is much more interested in talking down this booming economy than telling it like it is.

This week’s Treasury report on the nation’s finances for December shows a year-to-date fiscal 2005 deficit that is already $11 billion less than last year’s. In the first three months of the fiscal year that began last October, cash outlays by the federal government increased by 6.1 percent while tax collections grew by 10.5 percent. When more money comes in than goes out, the deficit shrinks.

At this pace, the 2005 deficit is on track to drop to $355 billion from $413 billion in fiscal year 2004. As a fraction of projected gross domestic product, the new-year deficit will descend to 2.9 percent compared with last year’s deficit share of 3.6 percent.

Wire reports are loaded these days with accounts of an expanded trade gap (driven mostly by slower exports to stagnant European and Japanese economies, along with higher oil imports from the peak in energy prices). But there’s not a single report I can find that mentions the sizable narrowing in U.S. fiscal accounts. Behind this really big budget story is the even-bigger story: The explosion in tax revenues has been prompted by the tax-cut-led economic growth of the past eighteen months.

With 50 percent cash-bonus expensing for the purchase of plant and equipment, productivity-driven corporate profits ranging around 20 percent have generated a 45 percent rise in business taxes. At lower income-tax rates, employment gains of roughly 2.5 million are throwing off more than 6 percent in payroll-tax receipts. Personal tax revenues are rising at a near 9 percent pace.

Meanwhile, in the wake of strong stock market advances over the last two years, non-withheld revenues from individuals — including investor dividends and capital gains that are now taxed at only 15 percent — have jumped by over 14 percent.

Following the Clinton cap-gains tax cut and savings expansion bill of 1997, investment-related tax collections led to bull-market budget surpluses in the pre-9/11 period of 1997-2001. However, despite the flood of new revenues, this year’s federal budget is still overspending. Domestic spending on non-entitlement programs (excluding homeland defense) is rising at a 4.1 percent rate. That’s more than twice the pace of core inflation. But this may be changing.

According to the Washington Post, the Bush budget totals planned for fiscal year 2006 may be essentially unchanged from the totals for fiscal year 2005 (excluding defense and homeland security). According to reporter Jonathan Weisman, the administration’s first really tough budget request (due out next month) “would freeze most spending on agriculture, veterans and science, slash or eliminate dozens of federal programs, and force more costs, from Medicaid to housing, onto state and local governments.”

The rapid growth of federal health care and other entitlements would also be slowed markedly. Though the numbers are not yet available, this sounds a bit like Ronald Reagan’s tax-cutting budget of 1981. In addition to reducing the top personal tax rate to 50 percent from 70 percent, the Gipper proposed budget cuts that would be worth nearly $100 billion in today’s dollars.

Of course, the political screaming over the forthcoming budget has already begun. A passel of Democrats and at least one Republican, Sen. Craig Thomas of Wyoming, have written a protest letter to Josh Bolten, director of the Office of Management and Budget. Former-Gov. John Engler of Michigan, a Republican and the current president of the National Association of Manufacturers, has pledged to fight the elimination of various protectionist subsidies to his member firms.

However, Sen. Judd Gregg, the New Hampshire Republican who is the current chair of the upper chamber’s budget committee and a long-time Bush ally, is set to support the administration’s new budget discipline. This includes, by the way, Bush’s plan to reduce Social Security benefits by replacing wage indexing with a price-level formula and extending the retirement age — one or the other, or both — in return for personal saving accounts.

By the way, Treasury Secretary John Snow just completed a Wall Street tour where leading bond traders told him not to sweat the transitional costs for personal accounts. The traders said that an additional $100 billion a year over the next decade for transitional financing will be easily manageable. “A rounding error,” one senior trader told Snow.

A supply-side tax-reform movement, a shrinking budget deficit, newfound spending discipline, and a determination to confound conventional wisdom by reforming Social Security has George W. Bush’s second term off to a roaring start — even before he is officially sworn in.”

50. jcricket spews:

http://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/stories/2003/10/06/editorial1.html – WA actually not bad on how “business friendly” it is. In fact, it ranks 8th out of 50 states.

Surprisingly, perhaps, our state placed eighth among the 50 states and the District of Columbia when ranked “from friendly to least friendly” in its government policies toward small business.

Washington’s biggest boost in reaching the top rungs came from the absence of an income tax, says SBSC chief economist Raymond Keating. Another plus is that only six states have fewer government workers per capita. On the other hand, Washington is near the bottom for the cumulative impact of sales, gross receipts (B&O) and excise taxes.

Remember, Republicans want it both ways. When a business succeeds, it’s
despite anything the state has done to be attract workers and businesses. But when a business fails, it’s always the governments fault.

51. HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

How can you support the Bush deficits if you are anti tax? Who do you think will pay them off? Your kids and grandkids and you to your deathbed……..taxes, spending out of control at the Fedeal Level…..
-Comment by bby— 1/16/05 @ 3:31 pm

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/larrykudlow/lk20050113.shtml

Psst, the deficit’s shrinking
Larry Kudlow

Excerpts:
“Here’s one story you won’t find on tomorrow’s front pages: “The U.S. Budget Deficit Is Shrinking Rapidly.” The headline would be accurate, but the mainstream media is much more interested in talking down this booming economy than telling it like it is.”

“This week’s Treasury report on the nation’s finances for December shows a year-to-date fiscal 2005 deficit that is already $11 billion less than last year’s. In the first three months of the fiscal year that began last October, cash outlays by the federal government increased by 6.1 percent while tax collections grew by 10.5 percent. When more money comes in than goes out, the deficit shrinks.”

“At this pace, the 2005 deficit is on track to drop to $355 billion from $413 billion in fiscal year 2004. As a fraction of projected gross domestic product, the new-year deficit will descend to 2.9 percent compared with last year’s deficit share of 3.6 percent.”…

‘A supply-side tax-reform movement, a shrinking budget deficit, newfound spending discipline, and a determination to confound conventional wisdom by reforming Social Security has George W. Bush’s second term off to a roaring start — even before he is officially sworn in.”

52. jcricket spews:

http://www.mises.org/fullstory.aspx?Id=1659

Deficit’s not shrinking. Kudlow’s math is bad and he purposefully excludes figures from his analysis to make his point.

Overall budget outlays increased 6.2 percent in the recent fiscal year, which is less than last year’s 7.3 percent. Excluding spending for defense and homeland security, as well as entitlements for healthcare and Social Security, domestic discretionary federal spending increased by a very moderate 3.4 percent in fiscal year 2004. If you remove net interest, then the budget increase was only 3 percent—just a bit higher than the inflation rate.

Now this is quite amazing!  In just 71 words, Kudlow has explained away a $132 billion increase[2] in spending.  (That’s $1.9 billion per word.)  For future articles—perhaps if Bush is reelected and shows us more of his conservatism—I suggest Kudlow multiply the deficit by a negative number.  Then we’d have a surplus.

53. Chuck spews:

Chuck – you willing to pay a nickel more for a can of pop to pay teachers? So we can keep some of the good ones.>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The average person pays out 45% of their earnings in taxes now, how godamn much do you feel is enough?

54. Peter spews:

Nickel a can – yes or no. Think 45 per cent is high….no state income tax.

55. Chuck spews:

and no nickel, save money that is being squandered and pay the teachers out of some of that.

56. Peter spews:

Leaving out the inconvient facts is the new R take on all topics dear to their agenda. Facts, oh that. AND as you have mentioned, crises is the new catch phrase. Must solve this crises….
Biggest crises is the proliferation of propaganda from the White House.

57. HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

and no nickel, save money that is being squandered and pay the teachers out of some of that. -Comment by Chuck— 1/16/05 @ 5:24 pm

AND why don’t we investigate the WEA while we’re at it – it seems to me they have had their share of fiscal irregularities. Hmmmm, thinking about that nice new corner HQ building we watched going up for over a year in Federal Way it just makes one wonder how many teachers could have been hired and how many textbooks could have been bought…

58. Chuck spews:

Teaching actually pats fair for what is REQUIRED to maintain the job. Dont tell me about the guy that goes above and beyond either, those guys work at Walmart and St Regis too.

59. Chuck spews:

pays…

60. Jim King spews:

I get a real laugh out of all you liberals who have no clue what the retro program is, how it works, or anything else, but are ready to screw over the workers and small businesses of this state to cut off a legitimate money flow to a group you despise.

Governor Locke tried to do this by rule, and was slammed down by the courts. The Legislature will find the same result at the end of this trail. In the meantime, half- not 20%, but HALF- of the pay raise that state employees are getting will disappear into union dues, which are PRIMARILY used on politics anymore. Just look at the ton of money the SEIU and others poured in against Helen Sommers…

Against Helen Sommers while supporting the re=elections of Don Benton and Joe Zarelli. At least BIAW is consistent in who it supports.

Watching the contortions Goldy and the rest of you go through to assure us you support free speech and rights to private property is high entertainment. Don’t throw your backs out…

61. Mr. Cynical spews:

Goldy–
You still have not answered the simple question about how the overall Retro Refund Pie is determined…
Would you like the answer?
I doubt that it matters to you…but once you have the answer, you will realize that the Retro Refunds ARE NOT merely a result of L&I overcharging premiums OR any of the other nonsense perpetrated on your blog.
These refunds are earned as a result of PERFORMANCE. BIAW nad other groups invest millions in safety, claim management etc. to generate these refunds and you know what????
These refunds are NOT guaranteed!!!!!! In fact, you never reported even once Goldy that Associations have the Risk of a substantial penalty if they don’t perform very well. Where is that GOLDY? Is that an error on your part of OMISSION or COMMISSION??????

I love watching morons ramble on & on about something they know nothing about.

62. Mr. Cynical spews:

I can almost assure you that you will soon see initiatives on:
1) Right to work State.
2) Union Dues for political purposes.

Will they both pass?? You bet. And the campaign will be fueled by their efforts here to try and push state government into a private, OPTIONAL program RETRO>…..

Did you realize that all the Trade Association that sponsor a Retro Program not only pour the vast majority of their money back into the management of that program, including Safety and Claims. Did you also real Associations have many members who choose not to participate in Retro. And some who are not allowed to?

GOLDY–
You need to get yourself much more of an education on Retro and HOW the refund pie is determined by L&I…that’s right, It’s L&I that determines the refunds ACTUARILY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Union Thugs will use you GOLDY to promote a futile effort to try and scorch-earth the Trade Associations that represent SMALL businesses that create the kind of jobs folks need & want. They pay the taxes for the LEFTY’s to piss away.

Get educated GOLDY-
You look like a 1st grader on this stuff!

63. Richard Pope spews:

Comment by Mr. Cynical— 1/16/05 @ 6:33 pm

I am much more in favor of a law that would ban use of union dues for political purposes, than I would be of a law that allowed represented employees not to pay any union dues at all.

However, if such initiatives are offered, and there is enough money to collect signatures and put them on the ballot, there is a good chance for both of them to pass this fall.

64. Mr. Cynical spews:

Richard Pope–
I agree—I think unions can serve a valuable purpose…it’s just that some of the Big Boys of forgotten who they represent and instead are focused on power and control…just for the sake of it.
Lots of Union men & women voted for Rossi, despite the actions of their Unions. And more will follow. Workers see how difficult it is to do business in Washington and see jobs slipping away. The Union Bosses see heavy-handedness the way. Misguided.
BIAW and others represent “SMALL BUSINESSES”, not big corporations. AWB represents the Boeing & Weyerhauser”s.

Unfortunately, if the Dems attempt to pursue the “heavy-handed” approach, there will be an all-out, no holds barred battle on Right to Work and Union Dues for political purposes. In addition, the Dem House & Senate members who vote for any of the “heavy-handedness WLL have a very short half-life indeed.

65. Mr. Cynical spews:

I’m still waiting for Goldy to explain how L&I determines the entire Retro Refund Pie?????
HINT–The numbers are NOT part of a vast Right-wing conspiracy as you allege Goldy.
Nor do they simply come out of someone’s Ass (Horse or otherwise).

THEY ARE EARNED!!!! Look it up Goldy.

66. David Anfinrud spews:

I tell you what lets stop funding all tax free organizations with tax payer money. Lets stop giving money to all groups that do political campaging. LIke the Unions. You can not cut off one group and say only Democratic supporting groups can get government money. Lets just say that more democratic sponsoring groups are getting cash from state and federal sources than say Republican groups or are you following the lead of Hitler to silence all opposing views so that only your ideas are expressed. Remember Hitler was winning the war according to their papers until the last day.

67. reggie spews:

I don’t see a bill being proposed to limit what the WEA can do with it’s money. My union donated money to the State and National Democratic campaigns without asking any of the members who they supported. Since I work in a closed shop I have no say in how my money is being spent. The very idea that my money was being used to finance that idiot Kerry without union member input was un-american.
The BIAW members support the political stance of the organization because they have the right to leave the group if they feel they don’t feel the same way. The BIAW is acting in accordance with the memberships wishes.

The fact that they can run a L&I program in one of the most dangerous industries in the nation and do it cheaper than the state can is a testimony to this group. No one is this group is saying that they the limit…it’s just partisan politics, that we are going to have to put up with for the next two years

68. DCF spews:

-jcricket, the following states have no state income tax: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming. New Hampshire and Tennessee have limited state income tax on dividends and interest income. So it seems that this list is pretty much based on the lack, or near lack of state income tax. I really don’t know if I trust this list.

-And Proudass, by the same token when it comes to the deficit figures–numbers are the most easily manipulated of all criteria–so I’ll wait to see it with my own eyes! Remember Enron?

-Peter, I believe that if you look at all the taxes states levy, you will find that the non-income tax states, and the income tax states have just about the same level of taxation over all. It cost a certain amount of money to run a state–income tax or not.

-Mr Cynical, you and your buddies have not answered my question about universal state healthcare eliminating the purpose for L&I! You and your buddies have not answered my question that universal state healthcare would save big and small businesses a lot of money! Oh, and BTW, “folks” buy the products that small businesses produce–so I’d say it’s a TWO WAY street.

+David Anfinrud, right on! Let’s quit giving our hard earned tax dollars to organizations that engage in political campaigning–in fact let’s make it illegal for organizations to engage in political campaigning!

69. John spews:

Pssst. Kudlow is still a hack.. ASS is still an ASS…

70. HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS spews:

Pssst. Kudlow is still a hack.. ASS is still an ASS… -Comment by John— 1/17/05 @ 11:24 am

Great addition to the discourse there John. Keep up those intellectual excercises.

71. John spews:

ASS – And keep up your awesome cut and paste skills. I’ve seen more intelligent graffiti.

72. Mr. Cynical spews:

As usual the ASSMAN sits on the JOHN!!
Keep up the good work ASSMAN!

DCF–I understand your question/comments about Universal Healthcare. You have some points worthy of consideration. Eliminating the L&I bureaucracy on managing Medical Claims is appealing..since they do so little. In order to accomplish what you want, you would have to re-write all the Workers Comp laws. In addition, L&I would still have to be involved unless you want to get rid of Time-loss benefits, Permanent Partial Disability Awards, Total Permanent Disability Awards, Pension etc. How would you handle Voc Rehab?
Those are just starter questions.
DCF–If your goal is socialized medicine, good luck!

73. John spews:

Cynical – the ASSHAT you mean. And I believe she’s a woman.

74. Mr. Cynical spews:

No sense of humor John?
I mean, the Ass sittin’ on you, the John, is funny stuff.
ASSHAT??? Wuzzhat?
And so what if ASS is a woman…

75. John spews:

Ha, Ha, Ha, , heehee, Cynical you’re killing me. My sides are splitting!

a heh heh….

76. M spews:

I don’t think liberals should be talking about potty mouths until they clean up their own acts. Look at the name of THIS blog, for crying out loud. To come here, you have to get over the offensiveness of the name itself. And then there’s The Stranger…..

77. Dave spews:

Great addition to the discourse there John. Keep up those intellectual excercises.

This guy is unbelievable!

He squeals at every attack made on him while still using a name that attacks not just individually, but broad spectrum against millions of people. You’ve got to be either intellectually incapable of understanding the concept of hypocrisy, or so phony that you just don’t care.

It is surreal to see someone who chose the name “HowCanYouBeProudtobeAnASS” dropping sarcastic barbs about such things as discourse and intellectual exercises. What’s next, a lecture from Hitler about peace and love for the Jew?

An individual with even an iota of self-respect would stop making a royal embarrassment of his chosen ideology, in full view of his opposition, after his dishonesty is made transparent by inarguable logic. Beyond that one can only assume you actually have ill intentions for the Republican agenda, because the only thing you are accomplishing with any real success at this rate is to serve as a pointed reminder of exactly why none of us want anything to do with your party.

78. Angry Voter spews:

Erik Comment #28
Please clarify what you mean by “BIAW doesn’t allow someone to opt out of the 20 percent lobbying profit made”.