Washington is falling behind other states when it comes to competing for aerospace business, a new study finds.
The study, conducted by Deloitte Consulting and obtained by local analyst Scott Hamilton with Leeham Co., was funded by the state of Washington.
David Groves of the Washington State Labor Council responds in an email sent out today:
As for the Deloitte “report” itself, in my cursory initial review, I already see that it uses the identical legislative talking points used by Boeing and business lobbying groups to try to lower their taxes (although I missed any mention of WA’s $3.2 billion tax break they already got). On Page 20, Deloitte’s report recommends that Washington “align workers’ compensation benefit levels (and thus cost to employers) with competing states.” The important thing to note here is the specific reference to benefits, as opposed to actual employer costs. There is a reason they — and business lobbyists in Olympia — write it this way.
The truth is that the latest objective state-by-state comparison of workers’ compensation systems — the only one of its kind that we know of — conducted by the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, recently ranked Washington 38th in terms of costs (that’s 14th lowest, including D.C.) Yes, the benefits are comparatively higher, but our state-run system is considered a national model for its low-cost, high-benefit efficiency. Many of those “low labor cost” Southern states we compete with have privatized workers’ comp systems, which introduces profit into the equation and raises costs. The Oregon study found that our aerospace competitors in South Carolina (13th highest costs), Texas (17th) and North Carolina (22nd) all have MORE EXPENSIVE workers’ comp systems than Washington’s. So now Deloitte is recommending that Washington cut benefits to injured workers to make us more “competitive” and drop employer costs even more?
Meanwhile Joe Turner dubs a new subcabinet position the state “Department of Boeing.” Hey. The governor practically tripped rushing to the podium to mollify Boeing. You know, it’s fine that Boeing is at the table, and given due consideration, but the tractability by the governor is rather startling. We thought we were supporting a Democrat, when we were in fact supporting a Dreamliner of a politician.
It’s pretty clear that, taken as a whole, the Democratic Party is a captive of corporate interests, which to anyone who has been paying attention the last twenty years is no surprise. The Legislators in power are products of the Clinton era and honed their survival skills on triangulation and seeking the approval of traditional media. The corporate lobbyists threaten to take away jobs, the traditional media issues harrumphs, and most of the Democrats fall in line. Rinse, repeat.
What’s amazing is the sheer tone deaf attitude leadership has for relatively modest requests regarding workplace, environmental and consumer initiatives. If we’re going to continue to worship at the neo-liberal altar, sanding a few rough edges off doesn’t seem unreasonable, unless you’re the Washington Legislature. Anything that might upset editorial boards or business groups is to be hamstrung, delayed, obfuscated and finally discarded.
They play a bunch of games in Olympia, changing the faces and who takes the blame, but if you were hoping for workplace privacy, clean power, continued voter-approved teacher pay or homeowner warranties, you can suck eggs. Our local school districts are going to be savaged, and the Big Three are expecting we will once again fall in line and beg voters to vote for regressive taxes to save K-12 and/or the sick.
This game has been going on for a while. Every year progressive legislation gets sabotaged and we get a bunch of promises and lip service. At some point the excuses no longer bear up under scrutiny.
Fine. It’s not that long until 2010, and it’s even shorter until this November. Let’s see that tax increase on the ballot and let’s see the plaintive cries about saving the wee kiddies from the horrors of overcrowded classrooms. Maybe we could have fought that fight together.
Honestly, now, I’m not so sure.