07-04-2020  3:17 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Police Union Contract Extended, Bargaining to Continue

Negotiations will resume in January 2021.

Inslee Heckled Off Stage During Tri-Cities Appearance

Speaking outdoors in Eastern Washington, the governor was repeatedly interrupted by hecklers as he urged residents to wear masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Portland Police Declare Riot, Use Tear Gas

Several arrests were made as protests continued into early Wednesday morning.

Oregon Legislature Passes Police Reform Package Amid ‘Rushed’ Criticism

Six new bills declare an emergency in police protocol and are immediately effective. 

NEWS BRIEFS

Trump Blows His Twitter Dog Whistle on America’s Fair Housing Policies in the Suburbs

The president could be Tweeting on unemployment or COVID-19 infections but instead pushes housing discrimination ...

Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Awards Historic $100,000 Founders' Centennial Scholarship

Zeta celebrates 100 years with largest single recipient scholarship awarded by a historically Black Greek-lettered sorority or...

Nominations Being Accepted for the Gladys McCoy Lifetime Achievement Award

Gladys McCoy Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 1994 to honor Multnomah County residents who have contributed outstanding...

Shatter, LLC Launches to Elevate Diverse Voices in Progressive Politics

A collaboration of leading female political strategists aims to fill a void in the world of political consulting ...

New Director Takes Helm at Oregon Black Pioneers

In its 27-year history, the organization has never had an executive director, and has expressed confidence and optimism in Zachary A....

Surge in state COVID-19 cases driven by eastern Washington

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Cirio Hernandez Hernandez was thinning apple trees on a June morning in Yakima, grabbing a fistful of tiny apples and knocking off all but one that was left to grow to a marketable size.It wasn't the Yakima Valley's hot temperatures, or the strenuous work, that was...

Violence mars Portland protests, frustrates Black community

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Protesters in this liberal, predominantly white city have taken to the streets peacefully every day for more than five weeks to decry police brutality. But violence by smaller groups is dividing the movement and drawing complaints that some white demonstrators are...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...

Missouri football program pushes again for racial justice

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Ryan Walters had just arrived at the University of Missouri to coach safeties for the football program when a series of protests related to racial injustice led to the resignations of the system president and the chancellor of its flagship campus.The student-led movement...

OPINION

Editorial From the Publisher: Vote as Your Life Depends on It

The Republican-controlled Senate won’t pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, no matter how hard Oregon’s senators and others work to push for change. ...

Banana Republic or Constitutional Democracy? The US Military May Decide

Will the military, when and if the chips are down, acts in accord with the Constitution and not out of loyalty to its commander-in-chief? ...

To Save Black Lives, and the Soul of Our Nation, Congress Must Act Boldly

For too long, Black people in America have been burdened with the unjust responsibility of keeping ourselves safe from police. ...

Racial Inequalities - Black America Has Solutions; White America Won't Approve Them

The problem is we have to secure approval of the solutions from the people who deny the problem's existence while reaping the benefits from it. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Protesters return to St. Louis area where couple drew guns

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Several hundred protesters made a peaceful return trip Friday to the St. Louis mansion owned by a white couple whose armed defense of their home during an earlier demonstration earned them both scorn and support.Protesters marched along the busy public boulevard called...

K-State players end threat of boycott over Floyd tweet

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State football players have called off a threatened boycott in response to an insensitive tweet by a student about the death of George Floyd.The decision, announced on social media by several players, follows moves by the school to address diversity concerns....

Violence mars Portland protests, frustrates Black community

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Protesters in this liberal, predominantly white city have taken to the streets peacefully every day for more than five weeks to decry police brutality. But violence by smaller groups is dividing the movement and drawing complaints that some white demonstrators are...

ENTERTAINMENT

Hugh Downs, genial presence on TV news and game shows, dies

NEW YORK (AP) — Hugh Downs, the genial, versatile broadcaster who became one of television’s most familiar and welcome faces with more than 15,000 hours on news, game and talk shows, has died at age 99.Downs died of natural causes at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Wednesday, said...

Review: A master class by Catherine Deneuve in 'The Truth'

Family may be the great subject of Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda, but he doesn't draw straightforward portraits. In Kore-eda's hands, family is more malleable. He tends to shift roles around like he's rearranging furniture, subtly remaking familiar dynamics until he has, without you knowing...

Union tells actors not to work on pandemic film 'Songbird'

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The union that represents film actors told its members Thursday not to work on the upcoming pandemic thriller “Songbird,” saying the filmmakers have not been up-front about safety measures and had not signed the proper agreements for the movie that is among...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Epstein cohort's arrest becomes new test for plea deal

NEW YORK (AP) — Before Jeffrey Epstein’s jailhouse suicide last year, his defense hinged on a 2008...

Cops fired over photos of chokehold used on Elijah McClain

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Three officers were fired Friday over photos showing police reenact a chokehold used...

Critics of US-Taliban deal say militants can't be trusted

WASHINGTON (AP) — Intelligence that Afghan militants might have accepted Russian bounties for killing...

Modi visits military base close to China amid standoff

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unannounced visit Friday to a military...

The Latest: France sending medics to French Guiana

PARIS — France is sending medics to its South American territory of French Guiana to help treat growing...

Heavy rain floods southern Japan; over a dozen presumed dead

TOKYO (AP) — Heavy rain in southern Japan triggered flooding and mudslides on Saturday, leaving more than a...

McMenamins
Alan Fram the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's proposal to impose a "Buffett rule" tax on the rich is generating enormous political wattage, but the plan itself would directly affect only a tiny fraction of Americans.

Only around 210,000 taxpayers - a bit over 1 of every 1,000 - would face higher federal taxes if the measure were enacted, according to an estimate by one respected bipartisan research group.

In addition, while Republicans say the plan would be a job killer, only a small proportion of businesses would potentially be subject to the tax, according to data from a 2011 Treasury Department study. These firms make disproportionately large amounts of money, but many of them don't employ any workers.

Republicans, calling the Buffett rule a political sideshow designed to distract voters from the economy's problems, seem certain to round up enough votes to block the bill when the Democratic-run Senate votes on it Monday. But Democrats are eager to hold repeated votes on it this election year to demonstrate that they favor economic equality while Republicans prefer coddling the wealthy, so it's unlikely to disappear soon.

Following are some questions and answers about the proposal and its potential impact:

Q: What would the Buffett rule do?

A: Citing complaints from billionaire Warren Buffett that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, Obama says everyone earning at $1 million a year or more should pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes. He has been vague on details.

Monday's Senate vote will be on legislation by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., who would impose the 30 percent tax on people making at least $2 million annually and phase it in gradually for those earning at least $1 million.

Q: Isn't the top income tax rate already 35 percent?

A: Yes, that is the rate owed this year on salaries over $388,350. Yet very few people pay that rate because they get to subtract credits and deductions. In addition, some sources of income like certain dividends and capital gains - more common among upscale earners - are taxed at a lower, 15 percent rate.

As a result, households making more than $1 million in 2011 owed an average of around 25 percent of their earnings in federal income taxes and payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, according to the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan group in Washington that studies federal taxes.

Q: How does that compare to lower earners?

A: On average - and that is the key - the rich pay higher rates. The center computes that families earning $30,000 to $40,000 owed an average 6 percent of it in income and payroll taxes last year. People making $50,000 to $75,000 owed an average 12 percent, while those making $75,000 to $100,000 paid an average 13 percent.

Q: Then what's the problem?

A: The White House says it's not the averages that bother them. It's that thousands of individual million-dollar earners pay lower rates than millions of middle-income workers.

Citing Internal Revenue Service data, the White House says 22,000 households making more than $1 million paid less than 15 percent of their earnings in federal income and payroll taxes. That includes 1,470 such families who paid nothing in federal income taxes.

Q: So where does Obama's 30 percent figure come from?

A: White House officials said last week that they want no household earning more than $1 million a year paying a smaller portion of its income in taxes than the middle class. While the term "middle class" is imprecise, IRS data show that the administration would come very close to that target by imposing a 30 percent tax on the highest earners. Out of around 27 million taxpayers who earned $50,000 to $100,000 in 2009, only around 2,000 ended up paying income tax rates of 30 percent or more.

Q: Overall, how many taxpayers would have to pay more if the Buffett rule becomes law?

A: The Tax Policy Center projects that there will be 438,000 households earning $1 million or more annually in 2015, the year they examined to give presidential candidates' tax plans time to be enacted and take effect. Of those taxpayers, the center expects around 210,000 to face higher taxes if legislation like the Senate Democratic bill becomes law. That is just over one-tenth of one percent of all 169 million taxpayers.

Q: What impact would the Buffett rule have on businesses?

A: The Buffett rule would apply to individual income tax rates. It would not apply to the taxes that corporations pay, although Obama has separately proposed to increase taxes on some corporations including some that do work abroad.

Yet the proposal would still affect thousands of companies, from the local bakery to hugely profitable law firms, whose owners pay individual income taxes on the earnings, not corporate taxes. Republicans say taxing these companies would snatch away money they could otherwise use to create jobs - a damaging move with the economy still laboring to recover from the recession.

Q: Are there many of these companies?

A: In a paper last August, Treasury researchers analyzing tax data found that around 35 million individual tax returns reported some business income but just 331,000 of them - about 1 percent - were for earners making $1 million and up.

Out of those 331,000 business taxpayers earning at least $1 million, just 200,000 were employers, the study found.

Those 200,000 high-income employers accounted for just 5 percent of all employers filing business earnings on their individual returns. But they reported $189 billion in business income - a disproportionately huge 50 percent of all business earnings reported by such employers.

Republicans say it would inhibit job creation to tax away those large firms' earnings. Democrats argue the figures show how few high-earning taxpayers actually hire people.

The Treasury figures were for the 2007 tax year, the most recent available.

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