Unemployment rate inches higher. Plus: taxes, stimulus, childcare, minimum wage in Montana, & ‘shovel-ready’ projects

February 25, 2009 | Alex Stone

Washington jobless rate nears 8%, likely to go higher: Washington state’s unemployment rate hit 7.8 percent last month, and the gloomy news has a ripple effect, economists say: Even the majority who aren’t jobless are likely to ratchet back their spending, further eroding the local economy.

Like Having Medicare? Then Taxes Must Rise: Toward the end of Monday’s meetings on fiscal responsibility at the White House, Senator Kent Conrad stood up and produced a little bolt of honesty. “Revenue is the thing almost nobody wants to talk about,” said Mr. Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. “But I think if we’re going to be honest with each other, we’ve got to recognize that is part of a solution as well.”

Obama Is Right to Take on the Very Rich: We’ve seen, in recent weeks, an outpouring of public outrage over the mega millions that keep flowing – despite the escalating economic meltdown – into the pockets of America’s top bankers and corporate executives.

Obama stimulus: More old school fix-ups, less New Deal grandeur: Quick spending to repair America’s infrastructure is the priority for most of the bill’s $787 billion. Instead of grand public works, officials seek to fix roads, schools, sewer lines and the like.

WA Counties Fail on Childcare “Report Cards”: Washington has a long way to go to offer parents access to affordable, quality child care. New child care report cards, based on surveys of wages, costs and employee turnover, rank ten Washington counties – and for the most part, the grades are “D’s.”

Montana Senate Rejects Minimum Wage Freeze for Waiters and Waitresses: In early February, the Montana state Senate resoundingly defeated a bill opposed by the National Employment Law Project (NELP) that would have frozen the state’s minimum wage for tipped workers like waitresses at diners – exempting them from annual cost-of-living increases that were approved by the 72% of the state’s voters in 2006.

Jump in Public Sector Unionization Raises Overall Rate Again in 2008: Union membership increased significantly in 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) annual union membership report released today. The unionized share of the U.S. workforce climbed to 12.4 percent last year from 12.1 percent in 2007, an addition to union rolls of more than 420,000 members.

‘Shovel-Ready’ Project List: Click here to view the “shovel-ready” projects the mayors of this state submitted in the 2008 U.S. Conference of Mayors report. You can click on a project to read (and add to) its description. You can also discuss the project and vote on whether you believe it is critical or not. For a more local view, you can drill down to projects in a particular city. Just choose a city from the following list.

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Posted in Health Care, Minimum Wage, State Economy, Tax and Budget, Work & Family


  1. Why can’t they just find jobs that will meet the people’s needs instead of putting them through all these trials just to qualify for some lame, and temporary benefits? I mean REALLY!

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