08-14-2022  9:22 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Lottery Misses Mark on Minorities’ Fair Share

The Oregon Lottery’s most recent advertising slogan is “Together, we do good things”. But when we look at where the profits are coming from and where any potential benefit from lottery profits flow to, is this really true? 

Court Sides With Governor Kate Brown Over Early Prison Releases

Two attorneys took particular issue with Brown’s decision to allow 73 people convicted of murder, assault, rape and manslaughter while they were younger than 18 to apply for early release.

Ballot Measure to Overhaul City Government Promises Minority Representation While Facing Controversy

The Portland Charter Commission aims to bring city in line with how other major U.S. cities do local governance. 

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,”

NEWS BRIEFS

Seattle Hospital to Refuse Some Patients Due to Capacity

The hospital is caring for some 560 inpatients, more than 130% of its licensed capacity of 413 patients. ...

West Seattle Bridge to Reopen After Yearslong Closure

The 40-year-old bridge is among the city’s most important, previously allowing 100,000 drivers and 20,000 transit users to move...

Jefferson Alumni Invites Community to Block Party

This inaugural event is open to the public and will have tons of entertainment in tow, including a live DJ and music, a rib contest,...

Oregon Approved to Issue an Additional $46 Million in Pandemic EBT Food Assistance to 80,000 Young Children

The additional food benefits will be issued to families’ existing EBT cards in Fall 2022, with the exact dates yet to be...

Free Vaccination Events Provide Required Back-to-School Immunizations

On or before the first day of instruction, all K-12 students in Washington state must be up to date on vaccinations required for...

Cold spring means lighter cherry and peach crop

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — The same factors that produced a later and lighter cherry crop are affecting many Yakima Valley peach growers as well. Cold spring weather, a late April frost and their impact on pollination has delayed the peach harvesting season, usually at its peak by now,...

2 radiation incidents investigated at Salem Health

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued two “event notifications” for incidents involving Salem Hospital’s radiation oncology department earlier this year. One incident involved hospital employees, while the other involved patients. Investigations...

OPINION

No One Ever Told You About Black August?

Black America lives in a series of deserts. Many of us live in food deserts, financial deserts, employment deserts, and most of us live in information deserts. ...

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. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Developer finds human remains near Nashville Civil War fort

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A developer has unearthed human remains that could be two centuries old while digging to lay the foundation of a new Nashville project not far from a Civil War fort and a cemetery dating back to 1822. For Nashville, the discovery marks the latest intersection...

Kansas district rejects strategic plan urging diversity

DERBY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas school district's board rejected a proposed strategic plan after some members questioned its emphasis on diversity and students' mental health. The Derby Board of Education voted 4-3 this week to reject a plan presented after months of work by parents,...

Two years on, foundations stand by issuing bonds in pandemic

NEW YORK (AP) — When the Ford Foundation took the unprecedented step in June 2020 of issuing jumi billion in debt to help stabilize other nonprofits, it delighted investors and inspired several other large foundations to follow suit. Two years later, the foundations all stand by...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: Jamie Foxx hunts vampires in comedy 'Day Shift'

This year marks the centennial anniversary of F. W. Murnau's “Nosferatu,” a long time for us humans but only a blip for vampires. If you were looking to celebrate the birthday of that silent classic, which still casts a long and ominous shadow over all vampires films that have...

Oscar winner Troy Kotsur awarded key to Arizona hometown

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Troy Kotsur, who made history as the first deaf man to win an Academy Award, has been honored with a key to his Arizona hometown. Kotsur, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in March, was given the key Thursday in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, the city said...

Jon Batiste leaves Stephen Colbert's 'The Late Show'

NEW YORK (AP) — Jon Batiste, his career soaring after winning multiple Grammys this year, is leaving his perch as bandleader of “The Late Show” after a seven-year run backing up host Stephen Colbert. “We’ve been so lucky to have a front row seat to Jon’s incredible talent...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Fireworks blast at Yerevan market kills 1, injures 51

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — A strong explosion at a fireworks storage area tore through a popular market in...

Major wildfire in Spain forces the evacuation of 1,500

MADRID (AP) — A large wildfire in northeast Spain grew rapidly overnight and was burning out of control Sunday,...

Palestinian gunman wounds 8 in late-night Jerusalem shooting

JERUSALEM (AP) — A Palestinian gunman opened fire at a bus near Jerusalem’s Old City early Sunday, wounding...

Italy's Lake Garda shrinks to near-historic low amid drought

SIRMIONE Italy (AP) — Italy’s worst drought in decades has reduced Lake Garda, the country's largest lake, to...

French wildfire stops expanding; workers seek to tame it

PARIS (AP) — A major wildfire that ravaged pine forests in a tourist-beloved area of southwestern France has...

Major wildfire in Spain forces the evacuation of 1,500

MADRID (AP) — A large wildfire in northeast Spain grew rapidly overnight and was burning out of control Sunday,...

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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