02-26-2021  4:29 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Restaurant Week Comes to Portland

National event highlights Black-owned restaurants, cafes, and food trucks, creates countrywide database to support Black businesses

Portland Police Launch Team to Investigate Shootings

 The Enhanced Community Safety Team will be comprised of three sergeants, 12 officers and six detectives, and will staff a seven-member on-call unit to respond to shooting scenes, examine evidence, interview witnesses and do immediate follow-up investigations

Oregon National Guard Deploys As Power Outages Persist

The Oregon National Guard will go door-to-door in areas hardest hit by last weekend’s ice storm to make sure residents who have been without power for a week have enough food and water

Vancouver Drops Most Police Killing Protest Charges

Hundreds marched through the city from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 to protest the shooting death of Kevin Peterson Jr. by two Clark County Sheriff’s Office detectives

NEWS BRIEFS

Seattle Black Artist To Be Featured in Amazon Prime Series

The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), in Seattle, Washington, is launching a call for artist...

NIKE, Inc. and Goalsetter Partner to Increase Financial Literacy Among America’s Youth

Goalsetter uses digital platforms to engage youth and help them better understand financial well-being, while saving for their future ...

Six Trailblazing Black Judges to Discuss Overcoming Challenges Feb. 26

The online program panel judges include Justice Adrienne Nelson, the first Black justice of the Oregon Supreme Court and the first...

Launch of the Center for Black Entrepreneurship to Help Fuel Black Innovation

The facility is the first-ever academic center of its kind to assemble, educate and empower a new class of Black entrepreneurial...

Medical Centre to Screen Film and Hold Panel on Black Men in Medicine

Seattle-based Virginia Mason Franciscan Health has invited 100 students to take part in the virtual event, which aims to inspire Black...

Oregon Senate hit by another GOP boycott, now over COVID-19

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Republicans in the Oregon Senate boycotted Thursday's session, using a tactic they have employed in the past two years to assert their will by stopping work in the Democratic-led Legislature — this time over the state's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.Senate...

Rep. Herrera Beutler censured over Trump impeachment vote

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Members of Washington's Clark County Republican party voted this week to formally censure Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, of Battle Ground, over her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump.In a rowdy gathering at a church on Tuesday, the Clark County Republican...

Ex-Cardinals coach Wilks new defensive coordinator at Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Steve Wilks is returning to coaching as the defensive coordinator at Missouri.Wilks, who was hired by Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz on Thursday, took last year off after spending the previous 14 seasons in the NFL. The stint was highlighted by a year as the head coach of...

OPINION

Democracy and White Privilege

“White Nationalists” who believe that America only belongs to its “White” citizens, who live and have lived according to “White Privilege” are ignoring the words of the Declaration of Independence ...

The Leadership Conference Submits Letter in Support of H.R. 40

H.R. 40 finally forces the U.S. government to recognize and make amends for the decades of economic enrichment that have benefited this nation as a result of the free labor that African slaves were forced to provide ...

Letter to the Editor Re: Zenith Energy

The time is now for Portland City Council to stop Zenith Energy’s transporting fossil fuels into and out of our city. ...

The Heroes Within Us

Black History Month, as it exists today, continues the practice of “othering” Black people in America. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

German radio station apologies for remarks about K-pop's BTS

BERLIN (AP) — A Bavarian radio station apologized Friday for a host's comments comparing popular South Korean K-pop band BTS to the coronavirus, saying his choice of words had gone too far but was in no way meant to be “hurtful or racist.”The statement came after legions of...

Rights groups target sponsors like Airbnb for Beijing Games

In one corner are the 15 leading Olympic sponsors, many household names like Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Visa, Toyota, Samsung and General Electric. Together they pay at least jumi billion to the International Olympic Committee, and in the next four-year Olympic cycle the payments could reach [scripts/homepage/home.php] billion.They...

Judge stops Noem from releasing records in AG's fatal crash

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota judge on Thursday blocked Gov. Kristi Noem from releasing documents and video in the investigation of the state's attorney general for striking and killing a man with his car.Defense attorneys for Jason Ravnsborg, the state's top law enforcement agent,...

ENTERTAINMENT

Quotes from Stephen King interview with The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen King spoke recently to The Associated Press recently about his new novel, “Later,” but he also covered topics ranging from the famous people who have turned up at his readings to what happens when he looks up his own name on the Internet. And he think he...

Stephen King talks about crime, creativity and new novel

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen King doesn't think of himself as a horror writer. “My view has always been you can call me whatever you want as long as the checks don't bounce,” King told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview. “My idea is to tell a good story,...

Christian Siriano offers mountain glam for 2nd pandemic show

NEW YORK (AP) — Christian Siriano opened his second show of the pandemic Thursday with two ladies in bed, models who emerged flawless in black one-pieces, then dressed for all to see before hitting the runway.It was a dreamy, color-saturated show during a tough time for fashion inspiration,...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Tiger Woods transferred to LA hospital after surgery

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tiger Woods was moved Thursday to another Los Angeles hospital after undergoing surgery...

It's a smash hit! Chinese return big-time to movie theaters

BEIJING (AP) — The thrills and chills of the big screen are back big-time in the world’s largest...

Native American nominee's grilling raises questions on bias

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — When Wyoming U.S. Sen. John Barrasso snapped at Deb Haaland during her confirmation...

Facebook signs pay deals with 3 Australian news publishers

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Facebook announced on Friday preliminary agreements with three Australian...

2 US Navy warships in Mideast hit by coronavirus outbreaks

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Two U.S. Navy warships operating in the Mideast have been struck by...

Queen says COVID vaccine is quick, painless and helps others

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is encouraging people to be vaccinated against COVID-19,...

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It seemed like a good idea at the time.

But a health insurance tax credit for small businesses, part of President Barack Obama's health care law that gets strong support in public opinion polls, has turned out to be a disappointment.

Time-consuming to apply for and lacking enough financial reward to make it attractive, the credit was claimed by only 170,300 businesses out of a pool of as many as 4 million potentially eligible companies in 2010.

That's put the Obama administration in the awkward position of asking Congress to help fix the problems by allowing more businesses to qualify and making it simpler to apply.

But Republicans who run the House say they want to repeal what they call "Obamacare," not change it.

"They completely missed the target on this thing," Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., said of the tax credit. "I don't think expanding it is going to make any difference whatsoever." Graves chairs the House Small Business Committee.

It doesn't help the administration's plea that the biggest small-business lobbying group is a lead plaintiff asking the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The National Federation of Independent Business isn't likely to spend much time tinkering with the tax credit or promoting it to members.

Small businesses represent the crumbling edge of the nation's system of employer-based health care. Only about 30 percent of companies with fewer than 10 workers offer health coverage, and they often pay more for insurance than large businesses. The credit, which once had support in principle from lawmakers of both parties, was supposed to help businesses already providing coverage afford the premiums. And maybe it would even entice some to start.

"We agree it is not a panacea for all costs," said John Arensmeyer, founder of Small Business Majority, an advocacy group that supports the health care law and disagrees with the much larger independent business federation. The problem is all the negative publicity around the health care law has discouraged business owners from applying for the credit, he says.

"There has been more heat than light shone on this," Arensmeyer said. "There is no reason why small businesses shouldn't be taking advantage of this credit." About 770,000 workers were covered by the businesses claiming the credit in 2010.

However, a recent report by Congress' nonpartisan Government Accountability Office identified several issues with the credit itself.

To begin with, the GAO said, the tax credit is structured so its biggest benefits go to very small companies paying low wages. About 4 out of 5 such businesses don't offer coverage, and the tax credit is not sufficient to encourage them to start doing so.

"Small employers do not likely view the credit as a big enough incentive to begin offering health insurance," the report said.

The average credit claimed in 2010 was about $2,700, although some companies qualified for much more.

Many small firms did not qualify because they paid fairly decent wages. The GAO report quoted an unidentified tax preparer who explained that "people get excited that they're eligible and then they do the calculations and it's like the bottom just falls out of it and it's not really there." It's almost a bait and switch.

Complexity has been another obstacle. IRS Form 8941, which employers must complete to claim the credit, has 25 lines and seven worksheets, the GAO said. Some tax preparers told the agency it took clients from two to eight hours to pull together supporting information and tax professionals another three to five hours to calculate the credit.

Trying to help, the IRS identified "three simple steps" employers needed to follow, but the GAO found "the three steps become 15 calculations, 11 of which are based on seven worksheets, some of which request multiple columns of information."

Arensmeyer said claiming the credit will be simpler once it becomes standard in tax-preparation software.

As it stands now, the credit is only temporary, expiring in 2016. That's another reason Congress appears unlikely to adopt the administration's proposed fixes, which would cost an estimated $14 billion that has to be offset with cuts elsewhere.

If the health care law withstands Supreme Court scrutiny, more employers could start claiming the credit. Otherwise, it may just go down as a missed opportunity, for policymakers and small-business owners alike.

---

Online:

The Government Accountability Office's report: http://tinyurl.com/7ae96hn

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Be Here for Portland
Triggered
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Washington Maskup

Kevin Saddler