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Sound Transit 3 car tab rollback threatens light rail to Everett

Commentary | April 19, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

We all knew that our car tabs would increase a lot in 2017 to help fund Sound Transit. So when the first invoices arrived, the vast majority of people just paid their tabs. But a vocal minority, with big tabs from expensive cars, took their displeasure to Olympia, hoping that the Legislature would listen to their stories and disregard the will of the people. Now we have a bipartisan attack on Sound Transit, with both Republicans and Democrats offering proposals for defunding.

What are we getting out of Boeing’s tax breaks?

Commentary | April 6, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

You might expect that Boeing would treat Everett as the jewel in the crown of its operations. That is certainly what the Boeing management led legislators and the governor to believe when the company demanded first a $3.2 billion tax concession from the state, and then another $8.7 billion. What did this recent tax giveaway to Boeing get us? A loss of close to 12,000 jobs, 15% of the total Boeing workforce in our state. That means that the state gave Boeing about $138,000 for every single job they took away!

Rather than being a job killer, a minimum wage boost increases them

Commentary | March 22, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

It should be no surprise that increases in the minimum wage result in job increases. It is a matter of actual human behavior in the private market, not an imaginary economic model.

Democracy is a participatory process

Commentary | March 16, 2017 | By Marilyn Watkins | South Seattle Emerald

Washington’s Legislature is more than halfway through its 2017 session and a lot of good bills have gone to the chopping block. The issues that have made it this far in the process are still alive because individuals and organizations spoke up, identified real life problems, and urged legislators to make the system more fair for people like them.

In praise of Nordic skiing and immigrants who brought it here

Commentary | March 8, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Immigrants planted the seeds for cross-country skiing in the Northwest. They included Norwegians, Swedes and Finns, who came over to our country with the same hopes and dreams of today’s immigrants, and, just as more recent immigrants do now, added their cultures, their knowledge and their work to our American democracy.

Tax breaks for Boeing have helped send jobs out of state

Commentary | February 22, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

Are there ways to stop the hemorrhaging of Boeing jobs from our state? Last year, state Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, proposed a simple equation: Boeing, if you want your tax break, you keep jobs in Washington; if you reduce employment by 5,000 jobs or more, you lose your tax break and that money goes into education funding.

In taking D.C. post, state senator isn’t doing either job justice

Commentary | February 8, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

If you’re a public official, it’s all the more important to keep a bright line between your personal interests, and the interests of those you’re elected to serve. Unfortunately, there’s a real-life example of what happens when that line fades right here in Washington.

Paid family leave does right thing for working families

Commentary | January 25, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

It’s not too early to say that the first few moves from the new Trump administration don’t bode well: In just a week, Trump has already issued executive orders that threaten working families, from taking the first steps toward unravelling affordable health care to cancelling a reduction of mortgage rates for first-time homebuyers. I can only hope that these are just the opening moves, and that working families will ultimately win the game. But we can’t sit back and watch, hoping. Because that sort of passivity invites despair. What we can do is uphold our promises to working families in our own neck of the woods.

Repeal of Obamacare will affect more than you might think

Commentary | January 11, 2017 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

The thing about the Affordable Care Act is that if you pull one string, the whole blanket will fall apart….and there goes health coverage for millions. Should you be afraid of what the Republican Congress and Senate and Trump are planning to do? No matter who you are, you should be.

Boost of minimum wage can make economy great again

Commentary | December 28, 2016 | By John Burbank | Everett Herald

I like to think that when we say “make America great again,” we simply want to return to the economic norms of 50 years ago, when Congress periodically and in a bipartisan manner raised the federal minimum wage to keep up with inflation and productivity, when both wages in general and profits increased with productivity increases, and when the average household income was on the rise.

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