08-09-2022  12:30 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

White Woman Calls Police on Black Man Standing at His Home

“If you guys have a lease, I’d just like to see the lease,”

Oregon's Wildfire Risk Map Emerges as New Climate Flashpoint

A new map in Oregon that rated the wildfire risk of every tax lot in the state — labeling nearly 80,000 structures as high-risk — generated so much pushback from angry homeowners that officials abruptly retracted it

Seattle Ends COVID Hazard Pay for Grocery Store Workers

A policy passed in 2021 requiring grocery stores pay employees an additional per hour in hazard pay has just come to an end

Washington Voters Weigh in on Dozens of State Primary Races

Voters were deciding the top two candidates in races for the U.S. Senate, Congress and the secretary of state's office.

NEWS BRIEFS

Washington Ferries to Get $38 Million to Improve Services

Out of the 35 states and three territories receiving federal money for ferries, Washington will get the biggest allocation ...

Personal Information of Some in Jails Possibly Compromised

A statement from the county said names, dates of birth and photos — as well as medical information like diagnoses and treatments —...

Bicycle and Pedestrian Lane Reduction on Morrison Bridge Starts Next Week

The bicycle and pedestrian lanes will be reduced to seven feet to allow for painting crew and equipment. ...

King County Elections to Open Six Vote Centers for the Primary Election

Voters who need to register to vote, get a replacement ballot, or use an assistive device are encouraged to visit Vote Centers on...

Eugene Restaurant Owner Keeps All Tips Workers Earn, Uses Them to Pay Wages

The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division found Ji Li, owner of Bao Bao House in Eugene, Oregon violated the Fair Labor...

US sued in bid to force decision on Rockies wolf protections

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Wildlife advocates sued federal officials Tuesday after the government missed a deadline to decide if protections for gray wolves should be restored across the northern U.S. Rocky Mountains, where Republican-led states have made it easier to kill the predators. ...

Washington ferries to get million to improve services

SEATTLE (AP) — Washington State Ferries will receive million from the Federal Highway Administration to improve its ferry service. Eight other Washington ferry providers — including the King County Department of Transportation — will receive around million in federal...

OPINION

Betsy Johnson Fails to Condemn Confederate Flags at Her Rally

The majority of Oregonians, including our rural communities, value inclusion and unity, not racism and bigotry. ...

Monkeypox, Covid, and Your Vote

We must start a voter registration drive right here where we live. This effort must become as important to us as putting food on the table and a roof over our heads. ...

Speaking of Reparations

To many Americans, “reparations” is a dirty word when applied to Black folks. ...

Improving Healthcare for Low-Income Americans Through Better Managed Care

Many should recognize that health equity – or ensuring that disadvantaged populations get customized approaches to care and better medical outcomes – is a top priority. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Town honors Ahmaud Arbery day after end of hate crimes case

BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A crowd of dozens chanted on a sweltering street corner Tuesday as Ahmaud Arbery's hometown unveiled new street signs honoring the young Black man who was fatally shot after being chased by three white men in a nearby neighborhood — a crime local officials vowed to never...

Marine general takes over Africa Command, sees challenges

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Marine Gen. Michael Langley took over as the top U.S. commander for Africa on Tuesday, heading U.S. military operations on a continent with some of the most active and dangerous insurgent groups and a relatively small Pentagon footprint. Langley, who made...

'P-Valley' explores Black strip club culture, gay acceptance

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Katori Hall first pitched the idea to convert her popular play about Black strip club culture into the television series “P-Valley,” the Pulitzer Prize winner was either quickly rejected after meeting with networks or denied before she could fully explain the concept. ...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: Rough-start novel with redemptive, touching finish

“Mika in Real Life” by Emiko Jean (William Morrow) Mika Suzuki is a directionless, 35-year-old Japanese woman with a big secret: She gave her daughter up for adoption at 19. Emiko Jean’s latest novel, “Mika in Real Life,” takes place as Mika takes on a major...

New this week: 'Day Shift' and 'Five Days at Memorial'

Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — One of the best movies of the year is finally streaming. “Belle,” Mamoru Hosoda's tour-de-force...

David McCullough, Pulitzer-winning historian, dies at 89

NEW YORK (AP) — David McCullough, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author whose lovingly crafted narratives on subjects ranging from the Brooklyn Bridge to Presidents John Adams and Harry Truman made him among the most popular and influential historians of his time, has died. He was 89. ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

'I didn't really learn anything': COVID grads face college

Angel Hope looked at the math test and felt lost. He had just graduated near the top of his high school class,...

US inflation will likely stay high even as gas prices fall

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans may finally be catching a break from relentlessly surging prices — if just a...

Kenan Thompson of 'SNL' to host Sept. 12 Emmy Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Veteran “Saturday Night Live” cast member Kenan Thompson will host next month's Emmy...

Pandemic fuels sports biking boom in cycling nation China

BEIJING (AP) — Lindsay Mo couldn’t go to her gym after Beijing shut down indoor sports facilities in May...

Israel-Gaza truce shines light on Palestinian hunger striker

IDNA, West Bank (AP) — A Palestinian hunger striker who his family says has refused food for the past 160 days...

India's parliament passes energy conservation bill

BENGALURU, India (AP) — On the heels of finalizing its updated climate targets, the Indian government took...

Stephen Ohlemacher the Associated Press


Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Millions of taxpayers who take advantage of deductions for mortgage interest, charitable donations and state and local taxes would be targeted for potential tax hikes under a GOP plan to raise taxes by $290 billion over the next decade to help reduce the nation's deficit.

Some workers could also see their employer-provided health benefits taxed for the first time, though aides cautioned that the proposal is still fluid.

The plan by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who serves on the 12-member debt supercommittee, would raise revenue by limiting the tax breaks enjoyed by people who itemize their deductions, in exchange for lower overall tax rates for families at every income level. Taxpayers who already take the standard deduction instead of itemizing - about two-thirds of filers - could see tax cuts. The one-third of taxpayers who itemize their deductions might find themselves paying more.

The top income tax rate would fall from 35 percent to 28 percent, and the bottom rate would drop from 10 percent to 8 percent. The rates between would be reduced as well.

About 50 million households itemized their deductions in 2009, according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. About 35 million households claimed the mortgage interest deduction, and 36 million deducted charitable donations. Nearly 41 million claimed deductions for paying state and local taxes.

A GOP congressional aide said the plan is designed to raise taxes on households in the top two tax brackets. That would affect individuals making more than $174,400 and married couples making more than $212,300.

Some Republicans say the plan offers a potential breakthrough in deficit-reduction talks that have stalled over GOP opposition to tax hikes and Democrats' objection to cuts in benefit programs without significant revenue increases.

But Republicans are becoming increasingly divided over the issue of raising taxes. A growing number of Republicans in Congress say they would support a tax reform package that increases revenues, if it is coupled with significant spending cuts, enough to reduce the deficit by about $4 trillion over the next decade.

The so-called "go big" strategy has been endorsed by a bipartisan group of about 150 lawmakers from the House and Senate. A rival group of 72 House Republicans sent a letter to the supercommittee Thursday, urging members to oppose any tax increases.

"We must recognize that increasing the tax burden on American businesses and citizens, especially during a fragile recovery, is irresponsible and dangerous to the health of the United States," said the letter, circulated by Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C.

Democrats, meanwhile, have panned Toomey's plan, saying the rate reductions would cut taxes for the wealthy so much that taxes on the middle class would have to be raised. They also argue that Toomey's plan would generate less revenue than advertised.

They note that Toomey's plan assumes that tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush, and extended through 2012 under President Barack Obama, would continue. Toomey's plan would then cut the tax rates even more.

The supercommittee has a Wednesday deadline to come up with a plan to reduce government borrowing by at least $1.2 trillion over the next decade. If the panel fails, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts to domestic and military programs would take effect in 2013.

Some details of Toomey's plan remain in flux, in part because he is open to changes to help forge an agreement, said the GOP aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private negotiations. The aide confirmed that Toomey's plan is closely modeled after a proposal by three experts at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private research organization perhaps best known for deciding when recessions begin and end.

The three experts are Martin Feldstein, a Harvard University professor who was President Ronald Regan's chief economic adviser; Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget; and Daniel Feenberg, a research associate at the bureau.

Under their plan, the tax benefits from itemizing deductions and excluding employer-provided health insurance from taxable income would be limited to 2 percent of taxpayer's adjusted gross income.

That means if a taxpayer has an adjusted gross income of $50,000, deductions and exemptions could reduce his or her tax bill by a maximum of $1,000.

Taxpayers who face limits on their tax breaks could opt to take the standard deduction instead. Currently, about one-third of tax filers itemize their deductions. The rest claim the standard deduction, which in 2011 is $5,800 for individuals and $11,600 for married couples filing jointly.

The plan envisions millions of additional taxpayers switching to the standard deduction, which would simplify their returns, MacGuineas said.

Policymakers across the political spectrum agree the federal tax code is too complicated, and most agree on a basic formula for simplifying it: Reduce tax breaks and use the additional revenue to lower the overall tax rates for everyone.

There is little agreement, however, on which tax breaks to target.

Toomey's plan attempts to sidestep debates over which tax breaks to target and instead proposes to limit taxpayers' overall ability to reduce their tax bills.

"This is a far more practical way to start to scale back the influence and costs of tax expenditures in the code by kind of glopping them together and capping them," MacGuineas said. "You're not picking the winners and losers."

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