02-06-2023  4:24 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Portland Cop Fired for Leaking False Allegations Against City Commissioner Reinstated

Mayor Ted Wheeler fired Brian Hunzeker after he leaked a false complaint saying city Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty had been involved in a hit-and-run crash.

Hundreds of Portland City Workers on Strike for Better Pay

Workers represented by the union Laborers’ Local 483 have been without a contract since June. Negotiations over a new four-year deal broke down in December

Washington State Gov. Inslee Tests Positive for COVID-19

He plans to continue working. Trudi Inslee, the first spouse, has tested negative.

Oregon BIPOC Caucus Calls for Action to Support Victims of Gun Violence

The Legislative Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Caucus has released the following statement in response to the tragedy at Half Moon Bay, CA that left seven dead and one person wounded, all of whom were people of color

NEWS BRIEFS

Market Features Work of Local Black-Owned Businesses for Black History Month

MESO Makers Market in Portland to feature the work of 40 local, Black-owned small businesses to celebrate Black History Month in...

The Seattle Public Library's Homework Help Program Expands to Eight Locations and Increases Hours

Homework Help, The Seattle Public Library’s free after school tutoring service, will add two locations and increase hours in...

County Seeks Community Needs Survey Responses From Residents

Clark County Community Services is asking residents who are low-income to complete a survey to help determine what resources and...

"Meet Me at Higo" Opens in the Level 8 Gallery of The Seattle Public Library's Central Library

The traveling exhibit from the Wing Luke Museum tells a fascinating community and family history about Seattle’s Japantown ...

NAACP Portland Calls for Justice With Community Prayer Vigil

Community leaders will hold a prayer vigil Tuesday, Jan. 31 at noon, to reflect on the tragic brutality that led to the death of Tyre...

US states take control of abortion debate with funding focus

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Though the Insight Women’s Center sits at the epicenter of a reinvigorated battle in the nation’s culture wars, the only hint of its faith-based mission to dissuade people from getting abortions is the jazzy, piano rendition of “Jesus Loves Me” playing in a waiting...

Arrest made in stolen yacht rescue, 'Goonies' fish incident

SEATTLE (AP) — A stolen yacht. A dramatic Coast Guard rescue. A dead fish. And the famed home featured in the classic 1985 film “The Goonies.” Combined, Oregon police called it a series of “really odd” events along the Pacific Northwest coast spanning 48 hours that concluded...

Jones scores 18, Southern Illinois tops Missouri State 73-53

CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) — Lance Jones' 18 points helped Southern Illinois defeat Missouri State 73-53 on Sunday. Jones also added four steals for the Salukis (18-7, 10-4 Missouri Valley Conference). Troy D'Amico shot 5 of 6 from the field and 4 for 4 from the line to add 15 points....

DeVries and Drake earn 85-82 2OT win over Valparaiso

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Tucker DeVries scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Drake beat Valparaiso 85-82 in double overtime on Saturday night. Roman Penn scored 16 points and added 12 rebounds and six assists for the Bulldogs (19-6, 10-4 Missouri Valley...

OPINION

Updates That May Affect Your Tax Season

The IRS released a statement that taxpayers should brace themselves for small tax refunds due to no economic impact payments ...

Unaffordable Rental Costs Now Plague 44 Million People in Every State Economic Inequality Places Most Risk of Eviction on Blacks and the Poor

For the first time in more than two decades of research, every state now has renters who are nearing a financial breaking point in housing affordability. ...

The Beating and Murder of Mr. Tyre Nichols, A Black Man

Time to Abolish the Criminal Injustice System ...

It's Time to Irrigate the Fallow Ground of Minority Media Ownership

In 2023, one aspect of civil rights and racial justice that barely remains addressed is racial inclusion in media ownership. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

DeSantis eyes 2024 from afar as GOP rivals move toward runs

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may be months away from publicly declaring his presidential intentions, but his potential rivals aren't holding back. No fewer than a half dozen Republicans eyeing the White House have begun actively courting top political operatives...

At Nichols' funeral, Black America's grief on public display

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The sound of the djembe drums started as a low tremble and grew more distinct as the musicians drew closer to the hundreds gathered inside the Memphis church. “We love you, Tyre,” the drummers chanted, referring to Tyre Nichols, a 29-year-old Black man...

Arkansas Gov. Sanders to give GOP response to Biden address

WASHINGTON (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders will deliver the Republican address to the nation in response to President Joe Biden's State of the Union speech next week as the GOP seeks to show it's creating a new generation of leaders. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and...

ENTERTAINMENT

Why is R&B music more explicit than ever? It’s complicated.

NEW YORK (AP) — Tank was nervous after sending his manager a preview of “When We” — he’d never released a song that explicit. “He’s like, ‘You’re crazy, but it’s jammin'!’” the R&B singer recalled. “It ended up being my biggest record ever.” Released in...

Gordy, Robinson honored at reunion of Motown stars

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Temptations, the Isley Brothers and the Four Tops turned back time, singing and dancing as if in their prime at a reunion of Motown stars. The occasion was to honor Motown Records founder Berry Gordy and singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson for their musical...

'Knock at the Cabin' knocks off 'Avatar' at the box office

NEW YORK (AP) — For the first time in almost two months, the box office doesn't belong to blue people. After seven weeks as the top film in theaters, “Avatar: The Way of Water” was finally knocked out of the No. 1 spot by the M. Night Shyamalan thriller “Knock at the Cabin”...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Sports pitch for level playing field in cricket-mad Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (AP) — On Islamabad’s outskirts, burly men bind together in a scrum on a rugby pitch that has seen...

Sinema's split from Democrats shows party discord in Arizona

PHOENIX (AP) — Kyrsten Sinema won Democrats a U.S. Senate seat from Arizona for the first time in a generation...

Victims to speak in court in Chasing Horse's sex abuse case

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) — Victims, police detectives and federal agents are expected to speak in court Monday...

'Loophole' excuses WHO officials accused of misconduct

LONDON (AP) — A confidential U.N. report into the alleged missteps by senior World Health Organization staffers...

Adani woes spur protests as stock turmoil turns political

NEW DELHI (AP) — Hundreds of demonstrators from India's main opposition party turned out Monday in India's...

Greece: Snow reaches Acropolis, halts services

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — High winds and a cold snap in Greece halted ferry services and highway traffic and dusted...

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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MLK Breakfast 2023

Photos from The Skanner Foundation's 37th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast.