In the news room with Gov. Inslee


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07/11/2014 – Inslee departs for Farnborough International Air Show

 

Make the pledge for Initiative 594 in Washington


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We’re gearing up for a fight this fall in Washington state.

Nine out of 10 Americans support expanding background checks. It’s the right thing to do. But because some members of Congress refuse to stand up to the gun lobby, OFA supporters are taking the fight to the state and local level wherever we can make real progress.

OFA-Washington volunteers are part of a progressive coalition that helped gather enough signatures to put Initiative 594 on the ballot this November, a common-sense gun violence prevention measure to expand background checks on gun sales.

Folks on the ground have been building momentum on this issue for months, and that’s huge — but it’s just the start.

Right now, we stand a real chance to make progress in Washington state, in spite of the powerful and well-funded special interests. The other side is banking on the hope that you won’t be coming out to support this, so we’re asking folks to simply make a pledge to vote for Initiative 594 this November to make sure this initiative passes.

Background checks save lives, plain and simple, so this is important — will you make the pledge to vote for Initiative 594?

We’re in for a showdown on this one — the gun lobby has introduced their own initiative that would roll back background checks to the federal minimum, reversing the progress we’ve already seen on this issue in Washington.

Let’s be clear: Initiative 594 shouldn’t be controversial — it’s a logical extension of the background check law currently in place. Right now, all retail gun dealers must run a simple background screening on folks looking to purchase guns.

But right now Washingtonians can buy guns at gun shows, online, or in private transactions with no background check of any kind.

Initiative 594 would close those loopholes and extend the same rule to all gun purchases. It’s common sense, and it’s something that most Washingtonians support.

You know as well as I do that we’re up against powerful, well-funded interests here. It’s going to take everyone who cares about this issue to do their part.

This is about keeping our families and communities safe — add your name today and pledge to vote for Initiative 594:

 

Thanks,

Kelly

Kelly Byrne
National Issues Campaign Manager
Organizing for Action

Corporate Deserters?


By

Some Corporations Are Moving Addresses Overseas To Dodge Paying Fair Share Of U.S. Taxes

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We talk a lot about the grave problem of inequality and how our economy is not working for most Americans. One of the causes of this big problem is that corporations and the wealthiest are taking advantage of the system, exploiting tax loopholes, and rigging the game to benefit themselves, often at the expense of everyone else. The latest tax-dodging tactic that some corporations are considering using is a perfect example of this rigged system–and demonstrates why we need our legislators to take decisive action to stop it.

What Is The Problem?
A loophole in the tax code essentially allows a corporation to renounce its corporate citizenship in the United States, move its address overseas by merging with a foreign company, and dodge its U.S tax obligations by paying most of its taxes to a foreign government with lower tax rates than the U.S. The process takes place primarily on paper — most corporate operations remain here. The corporations that do this want all the benefits of being an American company without paying their fair share of taxes. That makes the rest of us pick up the tab.

The practice has become known as “inversion.” But what it really amounts to is desertion. And it could cost Americans tens of billions of dollars.

Who Is Taking Advantage?
There are 47 firms in the last decade that have exploited this loophole, according to new data compiled by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. But it’s a hot topic again because at least a dozen U.S. firms are currently considering taking advantage of it.

One of those corporations is Walgreen. The company has always prided itself on being America’s go-to pharmacy: from 1993 to 2006, it had the slogans “The Pharmacy America Trusts” and “The Brand America Trusts.” A biography of the company is entitled, “America’s Corner Store: Walgreen’s Prescription For Success.” Walgreen chief executive Gregory D. Wasson has said the company is “proud of our Illinois heritage.”

At the same time, Walgreen is currently considering merging with European drugstore chain Alliance Boots and move to Switzerland as part of a plan to dodge up to $4 billion in U.S taxes. The company that gets almost a quarter of its $72 billion in revenue directly from the government through Medicare and Medicaid is trying to reap even more profits while leaving taxpayers holding the bag.

Walgreen isn’t the only one. Pfizer, the pharmaceutical company, tried merging with the smaller U.K.-based AstraZeneca earlier this year and switch its address, where the tax rate is lower. It was estimated the move would save them at least $1 billion a year in tax obligations to the U.S. (the deal ultimately didn’t go through). Medtronic, a medical device company, plans to move its corporate address to Ireland, a tax haven, to avoid paying U.S. taxes on $14 billion. Chiquita, the banana distributor, is also heading to Ireland after acquiring Fyffes. These tax dodges, as Fortune magazine calls them in this week’s issue, are “positively un-American.”

What Can Be Done?
President Barack Obama’s 2015 budget proposes making these corporate desertions more difficult by raising the minimum levels of foreign ownership required to 50 percent (currently it is just 20 percent), which means that U.S. corporations could not move their address abroad unless they actually ceded a controlling interest to foreign owners. Congressional Democrats have made similar proposals. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew recently called for more “economic patriotism” and urged Congress to “enact legislation immediately” to close the loophole. Leaders on both sides of the aisle want comprehensive tax reform, but finding common ground in the current Congress could take a while. The simple fact is that as more and more companies exploit this loophole, a solution for this problem is needed right away–and Congress has the power the solve it.

BOTTOM LINE: More and more corporations are taking advantage of a tax loophole that helps their bottom line while costing American taxpayers billions every year. These companies want to continue to take advantage of the things that make the U.S. the best place in the world to do business, while at the same time pay less than their fair share by moving their corporate addresses overseas. That desertion is unfair, unpatriotic, and has got to change.

Support communities in wake of Ecuador oil spill


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Supporting Community-Led Environmental Monitoring
in the Wake of an Oil Spill

It started as a rainbow sheen on the surface of the turbid waters of the mighty Aguarico River, but within hours it turned into a thick layer of crude oil that stuck to the bottom of canoes, accumulated in stagnant inlets, and smeared the rocky shores of indigenous villages for miles downriver.

It was July 2nd, and a Petroamazonas pipeline had ruptured, spewing thousands of barrels of crude oil into the Aguarico River. When would the company stop the spill? How poisoned is our water? When will it be safe to bathe, wash clothes, and fish in our river? Will the company clean up the spill? These were the questions on the minds of many of the Cofán, Siona and Secoya people who live downriver from the ruptured pipeline.

But there was silence.

Read the rest and take action on Eye on the Amazon »

a message from Gov.Inslee … Washington is cutting carbon


WAseattleferriesdowntownbackground“This is not some distant problem of the future. This is a problem that is affecting Americans right now.”

These were the words of President Obama on Tuesday as his administration released the National Climate Assessment, a landmark report written by over 250 scientists and government officials that confirms something we’ve known for a while: Man-made climate change is real and is already altering our lives and our planet.

But this report doesn’t just warn us about the problems facing our planet in general — it specifically warns that Washington is now facing greater wildfire risks, a reduced water supply, and significant damage to our shellfish industry due to ocean acidification.

We’ve heard warnings like these for far too long, yet failed to act. But as I said on Tuesday, “This challenge is significant, but it is matched by tremendous opportunities.” That’s why, last week, I announced an executive order to limit carbon pollution and asked you to help stop climate change before it’s too late.

Thousands of Washingtonians have heeded the call and signed a petition, in just the last week, to declare that they support this executive order and demand bold action to address the climate crisis.

As our movement grows stronger, we know the opposition is watching. With the release of Tuesday’s report, there should be no doubt that now is the time to join us, and show them that we’re not backing down.

Click here to declare your support for real climate action in Washington — including a market-based program to limit carbon — by signing my petition now.

Very truly yours,

Jay Inslee