05-26-2019  7:59 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Hate Groups Gain Ground in Pacific Northwest

At least nine hate groups operated in the region of Spokane and northern Idaho in 2018

Judge Tells Attacker to Study Sikhs as Part of Sentence

Andrew Ramsey pleaded guilty to counts of intimidation and assault targeting Harwinder Singh Dodd

Oregon Passes Bill to Keep Guns From Stalkers and Abusers

Democrats in the Oregon Legislature pushed through a gun control bill Thursday after they sacrificed a more sweeping one.

Lillard, Kemba, Lebron Among Noteworthy All-NBA Picks

Lillard receives All-NBA honors for the fourth time in his career.

NEWS BRIEFS

Legislature Passes Youth Criminal Justice Reform

State senate passes SB 1008, which would mitigate mandatory minimums for youth ...

The Portland Clinic Foundation Awards $60,000 to 28 Portland-Area Nonprofits

Recipients include SEI, Coalition of Communities of Color ...

Albina Vision Trust Receives Meyer Memorial Trust Grant

Two-year grant will be used to increase Albina Vision’s capacity ...

Community Celebrates New Evelyn Crowell Center African American Exhibit at Cascade

On Monday, June 3, the PCC Cascade campus will host an official opening ceremony for the Evelyn Crowell Center for African American...

James Bible Seeks Bellevue City Council Seat

Civil rights attorney says he wants to prioritize housing, wages ...

Police respond to shooting report, find mortally injured man

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland police responding to a report of a shooting found a mortally injured man in southeast Portland.Portland police in a release say officers at around 8 p.m. Saturday responded to a report of a shooting in the 600 block of southeast 162nd Avenue.The...

Oregon ranchers blame eagles for livestock deaths

ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) — Residents of Oregon's Clatsop County can remember when it was rare to see a bald eagle.The raptors are now being blamed for killing lambs on northern ranches, The Daily Astorian reported .Brownsmead rancher Ben Parker has lost four lambs and suspects the same eagle is...

Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant finds new home at Missouri

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — By the end of last season, Missouri fans were enjoying quarterback Drew Lock's final days running the Tigers' offense and wondering who would take over this fall.The answer came in a Twitter post the night of Dec. 4 when Kelly Bryant announced he was transferring to...

OPINION

Another Case of Alzheimer’s

When I looked at my email in-box this afternoon, I encountered one of those messages that I dread: yet another person I know has been institutionalized as a result of Alzheimer’s. ...

More Bold Actions Needed to Abate the Nation’s $1.5 Trillion Debt Crisis

When a Black billionaire adopted Morehouse College’s 135th graduating class, paying their student loans, he not only impactedtheir lives, but also the lives of family members who have co-signed on these loans ...

Forget the Adversity Score, Just Dump the SAT

Forget the Adversity Score, Just Dump the SAT ...

On the History of Medical Marijuana

The recent legalization of cannabis medicinally throughout the United States of America has made Cannabis sativa L., colloquially termed marijuana, hemp, or weed, the growing topic of conversation. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Israeli president shocked by German skullcap warning

BERLIN (AP) — Israel's president said Sunday he is shocked by a German official's comment that he wouldn't advise Jews to wear skullcaps in parts of the country, which is drawing mixed reactions at home.Felix Klein, the government's anti-Semitism commissioner, was quoted Saturday as saying:...

Ku Klux Klan rally in Ohio; no reported clashes, problems

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A small group of Ku Klux Klan members penned in by fencing, surrounded by police and drowned out by hundreds of protesters, held a rally in Ohio with no reported clashes or problems.The city of Dayton blocked streets with large trucks Saturday and brought in officers from...

FRENCH OPEN '19: A look at younger, less-famous challengers

PARIS (AP) — There's been unprecedented tennis parity so far in 2019, including the clay-court circuit leading to the French Open: A total of 23 players split the 25 WTA and ATP titles on the slow, red surface.That means there are plenty of people who can succeed over the next two weeks at...

ENTERTAINMENT

Mexican American sisters of 'Vida' back amid gentrification

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Starz drama "Vida" returns for its second season on Sunday with an even deeper exploration of an issue facing many U.S. Latino communities: gentrification.The show follows Emma and Lyn, played Mishel Prada and Melissa Barrera respectively, who have inherited from...

Adam Levine leaving 'The Voice' after 16 seasons

NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Levine is leaving NBC's "The Voice" after 16 seasons.Carson Daly made the announcement Friday morning on the "Today" show. Daly said Gwen Stefani will return for season 17 in Levine's chair.The Maroon 5 frontman wrote a length Instagram post Friday, saying the...

Quentin Tarantino wins top dog award at Cannes Film Festival

CANNES, France (AP) — Whether or not Quentin Tarantino wins the Palme d'Or this year, at least he's not coming home without a trophy.The director of the Cannes Film Festival entry "Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood" scooped up the top prize at the Palm Dog Awards. The awards are handed out...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Discipline or treatment? Schools rethinking vaping response

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A glimpse of student athletes in peak physical condition vaping just moments after...

137-year-old Winchester rifle found in Nevada has new home

BAKER, Nev. (AP) — A 137-year-old rifle found five years ago leaning against a juniper tree in Great Basin...

Israeli president shocked by German skullcap warning

BERLIN (AP) — Israel's president said Sunday he is shocked by a German official's comment that he wouldn't...

Trump watches sumo, but it's not just a sport in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — President Donald Trump watched sumo wrestling with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on...

Belgium's national election split along linguistic lines

BRUSSELS (AP) — A far-right, anti-immigrant party made huge gains in Belgium's northern Flanders region,...

Magnitude 8 earthquake strikes Amazon jungle in Peru

LIMA, Peru (AP) — A powerful magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck a remote part of the Amazon jungle in Peru...

McMenamins
Charles Babington the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- News flash: Congressional Republicans want to raise your taxes.

Impossible, right? GOP lawmakers are so virulently anti-tax, surely they will fight to prevent a payroll tax increase on virtually every wage-earner starting Jan. 1, right?

Apparently not.

Many of the same Republicans who fought hammer-and-tong to keep the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts from expiring on schedule are now saying a different "temporary" tax cut should end as planned. By their own definition, that amounts to a tax increase.

The tax break extension they oppose is sought by President Barack Obama. Unlike proposed changes in the income tax, this policy helps the 46 percent of all Americans who owe no federal income taxes but who pay a "payroll tax" on practically every dime they earn.

There are other differences as well, and Republicans say their stand is consistent with their goal of long-term tax policies that will spur employment and lend greater certainty to the economy.

"It's always a net positive to let taxpayers keep more of what they earn," says Rep. Jeb Hensarling, "but not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again." The Texas lawmaker is on the House GOP leadership team.

The debate is likely to boil up in coming weeks as a special bipartisan committee seeks big deficit reductions and weighs which tax cuts are sacrosanct.

At issue is a tax that the vast majority of workers pay, but many don't recognize because they don't read, or don't understand their pay stubs. Workers normally pay 6.2 percent of their wages toward a tax designated for Social Security. Their employer pays an equal amount, for a total of 12.4 percent per worker.

As part of a bipartisan spending deal last December, Congress approved Obama's request to reduce the workers' share to 4.2 percent for one year; employers' rate did not change. Obama wants Congress to extend the reduction for an additional year. If not, the rate will return to 6.2 percent on Jan. 1.

Obama cited the payroll tax in his weekend radio and Internet address Saturday, when he urged Congress to work together on measures that help the economy and create jobs. "There are things we can do right now that will mean more customers for businesses and more jobs across the country. We can cut payroll taxes again, so families have an extra $1,000 to spend," he said.

Social Security payroll taxes apply only to the first $106,800 of a worker's wages. Therefore, $2,136 is the biggest benefit anyone can gain from the one-year reduction.

The great majority of Americans make less than $106,800 a year. Millions of workers pay more in payroll taxes than in federal income taxes.

The 12-month tax reduction will cost the government about $120 billion this year, and a similar amount next year if it's renewed.

That worries Rep. David Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, and a member of the House-Senate supercommittee tasked with finding new deficit cuts. Tax reductions, "no matter how well-intended," will push the deficit higher, making the panel's task that much harder, Camp's office said.

But Republican lawmakers haven't always worried about tax cuts increasing the deficit. They led the fight to extend the life of a much bigger tax break: the major 2001 income tax reduction enacted under Bush. It was scheduled to expire at the start of this year. Obama campaigned on a pledge to end the tax break only for the richest Americans, but solid GOP opposition forced him to back down.

Many Republicans are adamant about not raising taxes but largely silent on what it would mean to let the payroll tax break expire.

Republicans cite key differences between the two "temporary" taxes, starting with the fact that the Bush measure had a 10-year life from the start. To stimulate job growth, these lawmakers say, it's better to reduce income tax rates for people and for companies than to extend the payroll tax break.

"We don't need short-term gestures. We need long-term fundamental changes in our tax structure and our regulatory structure that people who create jobs can rely on," said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., when asked about the payroll tax matter.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., "has never believed that this type of temporary tax relief is the best way to grow the economy," said spokesman Brad Dayspring.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says payroll tax reductions give the economy a short-term boost. But it says the benefit is bigger if employers get the tax break instead of, or along with, workers.

Some top Republicans have taken a wait-and-see approach, expecting the payroll tax issue to be a bargaining chip in the upcoming debt reduction talks.

Neither House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, nor Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has taken a firm stand on whether to extend the one-year tax cut.

Most GOP presidential candidates also are treading lightly.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did not flatly rule out an extra year for the payroll tax cut, but he "would prefer to see the payroll tax cut on the employer side" to spur job growth, his campaign said.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich said Republicans will fall under increasing pressure to extend the payroll tax cut. If they refuse, he said in a recent speech, "we're going to end up in a position where we're going to raise taxes on the lowest-income Americans the day they go to work."

Many Democrats also are ambivalent about Obama's proposed tax cut extension. They are more focused on protecting social programs from deep spending cuts. Some worry that a multiyear reduction in the tax designated for Social Security could undermine that program's health and stature.

For decades the payroll tax generated more revenue than the Social Security paid out in benefits. The excess was used to fund other government operations. Last year, however, Social Security benefits began outstripping revenue from its designated sources, forcing the program to start tapping its "trust fund" of government obligations.

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