02-04-2023  1:24 pm   •   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...

Man sentenced for stealing police rifle during protests

SEATTLE (AP) — A 26-year-old Everett, Washington man was sentenced Friday to 16 months in prison for stealing a high-powered rifle from a Seattle police vehicle during protests after George Floyd was killed in 2020. Jacob D. Little pulled the rifle out of a heavily damaged police...

Man rescued by Coast Guard wanted in 'Goonies' fish incident

SEATTLE (AP) — A man who was saved by a Coast Guard rescue swimmer at the mouth of the Columbia River as a massive wave rolled the yacht he was piloting Friday was wanted for a bizarre incident in which police said he left a dead fish at the Astoria, Oregon, home featured in the classic 1985...

Penn, DeVries lead Drake to 88-81 2OT win over N. Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Roman Penn scored 28 points and distributed six assists and Drake pulled off a dramatic 88-81 double overtime win again Northern Iowa on Wednesday night. The Bulldogs overcame a career-high tying, 30-point effort from Bowen Born who made a 3-pointer at the...

Brown's near perfect shooting effort sends Missouri past LSU

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Kobe Brown scored 26 points on 10-for-11 shooting and Noah Carter scored 14 points and Missouri won its third straight, beating LSU 87-77 on Wednesday night. Brown tied his career high with 10-made shots having accomplished the feat twice before. Reserve Deandre...

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

Grammy predictions: AP writers debate who'll win on Sunday

The Beyhive is all abuzz over the possibility that Beyoncé will have a chance to make Grammy history this year, which should make for an exciting awards show as she's up against heavy hitters Adele, Kendrick Lamar and Harry Styles. She'll need just four more trophies to ascend to the...

'Daily Show's' Roy Wood to headline White House press dinner

WASHINGTON (AP) — Real and fake news will collide again at this year's White House Correspondents' Association dinner. Roy Wood Jr., who plays a reporter on “The Daily Show,” the long-running Comedy Central program that blends comedy and news, will headline the event on April...

Looking for love online? New study shows mixed experiences

NEW YORK (AP) — Whether looking for love or a casual encounter, 3 in 10 U.S. adults say they have used a dating site or app — with mixed experiences, according to a Pew Research Center study out Thursday. For the under-35 set, more than half have tried it. The overall number,...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Dozens of soldiers freed in Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Dozens of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war have returned home following a prisoner...

Biden makes progress on 'unity agenda' outlined in 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — A year ago, President Joe Biden used his first State of the Union address to push top...

Pope says South Sudan's future depends on treatment of women

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) — Pope Francis warned Saturday that South Sudan’s future depends on how it treats its...

G-7, Europe reach deal for price cap on Russian diesel

BRUSSELS (AP) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said Friday that industrialized countries in the Group of...

Ally claims Bolsonaro plotted coup to block Lula presidency

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A Brazilian magazine on Thursday released audio of a senator claiming then President Jair...

State of the Union: Biden sees economic glow, GOP sees gloom

WASHINGTON (AP) — Going into Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Joe Biden sees a nation with its...

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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MLK Breakfast 2023

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