09-23-2021  2:39 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Man Fatally Shot Outside Bend Nightclub, Man Arrested

A Black man was shot and killed outside a bar by a white man in central Oregon

Cascadia Names New Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Bukhosi Dube will lead innovative “integrative health” model

How to Tell DEQ to Step Up Its Emissions Caps – And Go Further

Two activists created a website to inform the most climate-vulnerable on how to take action.

Washington Governor Inslee Asks Feds for Medical Staffing Help

Washington Gov. Jay Inlsee has asked the federal government for assistance staffing hospitals and long-term care facilities in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

NEWS BRIEFS

TriMet Plans Weekend Construction Along MAX Red Line to Help Keep Trains Running Efficiently

Shuttle buses will replace MAX Sept. 25-26 between Gateway Transit Center and Portland International Airport ...

Larsen to Chairs Hearing on Surge in Air Rage Incidents, Effects on Workers, Airlines, Airports

The hearing was an opportunity for the subcommittee to examine the alarming increase in disruptive and unruly airline passengers, the...

Civil Rights Organizations Respond to Congressional Failure on Policing Reform

A joint statement was released after bipartisan negotiations around the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act were ended ...

Seattle Mayor Extends COVID Eviction Moratoriums

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Tuesday the city's eviction moratoriums will remain in place through Jan. 15, 2022, rather than...

Oregon House and Senate Democrats Condemn Newberg School Staff Member's Racist Conduct and Use of Blackface

A staff member at Mabel Rush Elementary School in the Newberg School District attended work on Friday in blackface ...

4th murder hornet nest destroyed in northwestern Washington

BLAINE, Wash. (AP) — Another nest built by Asian giant hornets north of Seattle close to the Canada border has been destroyed, according to state officials. The Washington State Department of Agriculture said Thursday on social media that the latest nest eradication of the...

Oregon school board won't fire teacher refusing to wear mask

REDMOND, Ore. (AP) — A school board in Redmond, Oregon, has rejected a district recommendation to fire a teacher for refusing to wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports Redmond board members were told this was the first time an Oregon...

Boston College hosts Missouri in juicy ACC-SEC matchup

BOSTON (AP) — ACC vs. SEC. It’s a juicy interconference matchup when Boston College (3-0) hosts Missouri (2-1) on Saturday at Alumni Stadium. BC, a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, will be hosting the first Southeastern Conference school since...

College Football Picks: Neutral sites for 2 ranked matchups

Last week, college football gave fans one of its tastiest, and unfortunately rare, treats when Auburn visited Penn State. Good teams. Great setting. Entertaining game. What college football is all about. This week, not so much. The...

OPINION

Homelessness, Houselessness in the Richest Country in the World: An Uncommon Logic

When and why did the United States of America chose the wealth of a few over the health, wealth, and well-being of so many ...

American Business Leaders Step Up to Fight Inequities in the South

With COVID-19 still an omnipresent concern and the country’s recovery still very much in jeopardy, individuals, families, and communities are struggling to deal with issues that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. ...

Waters Statement on 20th Anniversary of September 11 Attacks

Twenty years ago today, our nation suffered devastating terrorist attacks on our soil and against our people that wholly and completely changed the world as we knew it. ...

Letter to the Editor: Reform the Recall

Any completely unqualified attention seeker with ,000 for the candidate‘s filing fee can be the largest state in the Union’s next governor ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Probe: Michaels, Minnesota cops violated Black teen's rights

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The manager of a suburban Minneapolis Michaels store called police on a teenager looking for a job simply because he is Black and officers then used unreasonable force against him because of his race, a state agency that investigates civil rights abuses said in findings...

'Vaccine apartheid': Africans tell UN they need vaccines

As wealthy countries begin to consider whether to offer their populations a third COVID-19 shot, African nations still waiting for their first gave this stark reminder to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday: “No one is safe unless we are all safe.” That...

US court order to house LA Skid Row homeless overturned

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The 9th U.S. Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned a federal judge’s sweeping order that required the city and county of Los Angeles to quickly find shelter for all homeless people living on downtown’s Skid Row. The appeals court found extensive error...

ENTERTAINMENT

Mayim Bialik's 'Jeopardy!' goal: maintaining its integrity

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mayim Bialik knew she’d be busy around this time of year, but not this busy. Besides starting production on a new season of Fox's sitcom “Call Me Kat,” Bialik was recalled to duty as a “Jeopardy!” guest host — the result of the quiz show's...

Owen Wilson, Sudeikis, Malek, Kardashian West to host 'SNL'

NEW YORK (AP) — Owen Wilson, Kim Kardashian West, Rami Malek and Jason Sudeikis are lined up to host the first four episodes of “Saturday Night Live” this fall. NBC announced Wednesday that Wilson, who is starring in the upcoming film “The French Dispatch,” will host...

For one night, TV comics focus their shows on climate change

NEW YORK (AP) — Sewage treatment, sea turtles and a depressing condom ad all came up when late-night television hosts united for one night to turn their comic lenses to climate change. Eight late-night hosts devoted a portion of their programs Wednesday and early Thursday to...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

'Vaccine apartheid': Africans tell UN they need vaccines

As wealthy countries begin to consider whether to offer their populations a third COVID-19 shot, African nations...

The jail where Jeffrey Epstein killed himself is crumbling

NEW YORK (AP) — Inside the notorious federal jail in Lower Manhattan, small chunks of concrete fall from the...

Mideast in shambles, but the world has moved on for now

BEIRUT (AP) — There was a time not long ago when uprisings and wars in the Arab world topped the agenda at the...

UK police probe killing of woman walking alone in London

LONDON (AP) — British police investigating the killing of a 28-year-old woman in London said Thursday they are...

Kremlin critics to contest online voting in Duma election

MOSCOW (AP) — Politicians and activists who lost to Kremlin-backed candidates in Russia's parliamentary election...

Boy Scouts' bankruptcy creates rift with religious partners

NEW YORK (AP) — Amid the Boy Scouts of America’s complex bankruptcy case, there is worsening friction between...

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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