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Archive for February, 2011

Who pays for jobless benefits

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New York The Obama administration is trying to change the way the unemployment insurance system is funded.

The administration claims that its plan to be unveiled when President Obama proposes his 2012 budget on Monday prevents a tax increase on business and helps cash strapped states.

Republicans call it a “job destroying” tax hike on business and a bailout for states that are overly generous with their jobless jerseys The money pays for all those state issued unemployment checks the first 26 weeks of them, anyway.

Employers also pay a per employee federal tax, which funds administrative costs of implementing the system.

But because the unemployment rate now at 9 percent has remained relatively high for so long, 30 states have exhausted their funds and have had to borrow $41 billion from Uncle Sam. The biggest borrowers are California, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

If Congress makes no changes in current law, states will start paying interest on these loans in September. (They got a break from paying interest under the president’s tax stimulus bill, but that reprieve expired on Jan. 1.) To fund those interest payments, states probably will add a “special assessment” on businesses within their boundaries.

To pay the principal, federal taxes on employers will go up in borrowing states, under current law. Those higher federal taxes will start hitting businesses this year and will stay higher until the loans are paid off which will take more than a decade in many states, by some estimates.

“There are going to be tax increases on employers in states that have borrowed [to cover unemployment benefits], unless something is done,” says Mike Leachman, assistant director of the State Fiscal Project at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) in Washington. “That means taxes will be going up both this year and next year, when the economy is still weak, and they could be at very high levels late in the decade.”

How would the Obama proposal change this?

The president’s proposed budget is expected to include a two year postponement of the special “state assessment” tax hikes on business, plus a similar delay in any increase in federal unemployment insurance taxes.

That’s the carrot.

Here’s the stick.

In 2014, Mr. Obama would deepen the wage base on which employers pay for unemployment. Currently, companies pay their federal unemployment tax on the first $7,000 of each employee’s salary. That rate has been the same since 1983, when Ronald Reagan was president. Obama is expected to ask that the base level for the tax be raised to $15,000, or about where it would be if it were adjusted for inflation. Because states are required to set their wage bases at least at the federal level, the increase would mean that states with wage bases of less than $15,000 would have to increase them to at least that level.

Won’t that be a tax increase?

It could be. Each state would have the option to adjust the rate that companies in their state pay. A state could actually cut the rate, if its unemployment fund became solvent as the economy recovered.

How much do companies currently pay?

The average state unemployment insurance (UI) tax in 2008 was $274 per employee, according to CBPP.

The basic federal tax is $56 per employee, but this will start increasing in $21 per employee increments over the next two years, if no action is taken by Congress.

Are there other plans?

Yes. On Wednesday, the CBPP proposed a gradual increase in the wage base, a moratorium on state interest payments on their UI loans, and a postponement for two years on the federal tax increases currently mandated to repay the loan principal.

Also on Wednesday, the Center for American Progress think tank proposed that the US government forgive loans to states that have borrowed to keep their unemployment insurance systems solvent. It proposes rewarding states that have maintained positive balances. In addition, the center’s plan would increase the federal government’s role during times of high unemployment and reduce the wide disparity in eligibility rules and benefits across the states.

Do the Republicans have a plan?

House majority leader Eric Cantor of Virginia suggests immediately suspending the federal unemployment tax, to save employers $56 per worker per year.

This would cost $7 billion a year. “With the spending we are cutting, I don’t think finding offsets is a problem,” says Brendan Buck, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.

Republicans would also require that people receiving unemployment checks work in a part time job for a six week trial period. Cantor says this results in faster returns to work and fewer unemployment payments, thus lowering state unemployment taxes.

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February 19th, 2011 at 4:04 am

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2008 OSAA 6A Football Championships

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2008 OSAA 6A Football Championships

11:56, 1st Q: Granted it’s the first play of the game, it’s apparent that Lake Oswego (LO) is ready to play . . . immediately after returning the kick, the offense popped right off the bench with an overabundant amount of enthusiasm. 1st and 10 on their own 31, Jack Lomax tries to go to Micah Hatfield on the hitch pass, and he’s clobbered by the Jesuit defender, the Crusaders are called for pass interference. 2nd and 5 on their own 46, Lomax tries and run the ball right up the gut but gets nowhere. He tries to run the ball again, and he ends up 1 yard short of the first down. No risks here, LO punts the ball . . . down to the 1 yard line.9:20, 1st Q: Jesuit is doing whatever they can to advance the ball even just a few yards to get further away from a potential safety and they run it right up the gut. 4th and 8, and Jesuit has to punt the ball away this time. LO gets fantastic field position on Jesuit’s 27.8:20, 1st Q: LO busts out the tricky stuff and they go with the halfback pass, Will Storey gets the ball and finds a wide open Nick Rulli for the 27 yard TD pass. LO is on the board.7:34, 1st Q: 1st and 10 on their own 31, Anthony Blake races to the left sideline but can only manage 3 yards on the run. 3rd and 7, Scott Williams rolls out to the right, and LO is leaving no one open as he ends up misfiring on the pass to Keanon Lowe. Jesuit punts away the ball.6:21, 1st Q: Lomax keeps the ball on the first play of their drive and he is too quick for Jesuit to take down before he runs for 23 yards. LO fumbles the ball away and Jesuit’s Nathan Heinrichs recovers it.5:25, 1st Q: LO gets the ball back after Williams pass was tipped and Kasey snags the loose ball right out of the air for the interception. Lomax gets nailed by a Jesuit defender, but not before he gets the pass off and LO gets the ball down at Jesuits’s 1. LO does it again, and Tyson Coleman pounds the ball in to stretch the Lakers lead to 14.CORRECTION: Iain Dexter scored the rushing TD2:50, 1st Q: 1st and 10 on their own 38, Williams finds a streaking Lowe, and with LO’s defensive back all over him, he pulls out a 38 yard catch. The quarter ends with Jesuit getting close to the red zone on LO’s 24.11:53, 2nd Q: In the first play of the quarter, Williams finds Lowe again in the middle of traffic for the 23 yard TD pass.CORRECTION V. 2: LO’s last TD was in fact Tyson Coleman . cheap nfl jerseys . . officially.11:43, 2nd Q: 2nd and 10 on their own 31, Lomax scrambles again after Jesuit manages to nearly sack him, but he gets away for a gain of 3 yards. Lomax to Hatfield, the dynamic duo, hook up for a 13 yard pass next to the right sideline, first down. LO works quickly to set up the next play as Dylan Stowell runs up the middle on a draw for a gain of 9 yards. The Lakers are called for a penalty and it’s 3rd and 6 on Jesuit’s 41, Lomax tries to pass, but it’s incomplete. LO will punt the ball away.9:32, 2nd Q: Deep in their own territory, Blake gets the ball, drops his shoulder, and busts up field for 15 yards. Next play goes to Blake again, and after burning up the turf and following his lead blocker early, Blake breaks away for an 83 yard TD run. It’s all tied up at PGE Park.8:44, 2nd Q: 1st and 10 on their own 44, Lomax goes to Rulli for the hitch pass, and Hatfield rumbles his way forward for 5 yards. LO gets the first down. Lomax gets a bad snap behind center, but he makes something out of nothing and finds Hatfield just a few steps ahead of his defender downfield, and he barely gets in by the foam of the pylon for the 30 yard TD catch in the corner of the endzone.6:14, 2nd Q: Jesuit keeps finding a way to move downfield. 3rd and 4 on LO’s 34, Williams finds Lowe on a deep fade toward the sideline, and he gets hit trying to make the catch . . . pass interference. 1st and 10 on LO’s 19, Blake gets the handoff and he’s stopped dead in his tracks and loses a yard. Williams is hurried by LO’s Will Storey, and he gets his pass nearly picked off. Austin Cheek nearly pulls down a pass in the end zone, and while he catches it, he can’t keep his feet in bounds . . . incomplete pass.3:16, 2nd Q: LO gets the ball back on their own 20 after Jesuit turns the ball over on downs. Lomax gets some happy feet in the backfield, and he goes to Storey for the pass, but Storey can’t get any yards on the catch and loses 1 yard. LO goes three and out, and they will punt the ball away to Jesuit’s Cheek, but he tries to turn too fast and fumbles the ball away. LO’s Ryan Bradley recovers the ball.1:15, 2nd Q: Lomax gets another pass of in the midst of being rushed, and he finds Hatfield who falls down and stands back up to catch the ball. A great pass . . . great catch . . . but called back because of a Holding penalty. LO will punt it away again, giving Jesuit one last chance to score before the half.:26, 2nd Q: Blake gets the toss and with the seconds ticking off the clock, he gains 8 yards to make it 2nd and 2 on their own 47. Jesuit goes the way of the reverse, and Blake is the final player ot touch the ball and gains 11 yards on the ground. The last play of the half is a Williams pass deep to Lowe, and it’s nearly picked off but dropped. HALFTIME STATS:QBs: Jack Lomax (Lake Oswego) 10 of 16 passes for 114 yards and 1 TD / Scott Williams 3 of 13 passes for 77 yards and 1 TDRBs: Lomax (LO) 6 rushes for 36 yards, Tyson Coleman (LO) 3 rushes for 5 yards and 1 TD / Anthony Blake (Jesuit) 13 rushes for 155 yards and 1 TDWRs: Nick Rulli (LO) 4 catches for 76 yards and 1 TD, Micah Hatfield (LO) 3 catches for 47 yards and 1 TD / Keanon Lowe (Jesuit) 2 catches for 61 yards and 1 TD10:07, 3rd Q: Scott Williams gets away from another lethal rush and he rushes for a gain of 21 yards. Anthony Blake is really fast . . . and athletic, he leaps over a pile of defenders to gain 6 yards. 2nd and 4 on Lake Oswego’s (LO) 21, Keanon Lowe sticks behind his lead blocker to duck and maneuver his way to an 18 yard gain . . . also known as LO’s 3. Blake steamrolls the ball the rest of the way for the 3 yard TD run; PAT is good and Jesuit takes the lead by one.8:07, 3rd Q: 2nd and 10 on their own 26, Jack Lomax attacks with his arm and finds Will Storey running right across the middle of the field for a 34 yard pass. Nearly duplicating the play before, Lomax goes to Micah Hatfield for another 35 yard pass to get the ball down to Jesuit’s 3. 2nd and 6 after an LO penalty, and Dominique Forrest sacks Lomax by his shoestrings for a loss of 9 yards. Lomax goes through the air again, and in the middle of two Jesuit defenders, Hatfield somehow finds a way to grab the pass and bring it down for the TD . . . WOW . . . very impressive. LO goes for two, but Lomax overthrows his receiver.5:07, 3rd Q: 3rd and 5 on their own 38, Williams finds his secret weapon and hits Lowe on a short comeback route that gets him 7 yards and a fresh set of downs. Blake gets Jesuit back in the red zone with a 32 yard run. At LO’s 20, Blake crosses the 200 yards plateau (211 total) and jukes and jives his way forward for 15 more yards. 3rd and Goal on LO’s 6, Blake AGAIN!! He goes untouched up the middle for 6 yards to put Jesuit back on top; PAT is good.:51, 3rd Q: LO uses some trickery again, and goes with the direct snap to Dylan Stowell, for a short gain. That’s the end of the quarter with this game looking very similar to the earlier season match up that ended up a thriller.SIDENOTE: THe official attendance tonight for the semifinals is 11,964 at PGE Park.10:51, 4th Q: This game is starting to look like a shootout as LO manages to get the ball all the way down to Jesuit’s 16. 3rd and 8 on Jesuit’s 14, Lomax rolls out to try and get the ball to Brad Halberg, but he underthrows him by a couple of yards. 3rd and 13 on Jesuit’s 19 after LO is called for the False Start. Jesuit is all up in the LO backfield and sacks Lomax for a loss of 11 yards, and an unfortunate turn of events this possession for the Lakers they have to punt the ball away.8:30, 4th Q: On their own 1, Williams gets out of the close quarters by finding Lowe for the 11 yard pass. 2nd and 15 on Jesuit’s 8, while at the moment, it simply looks like a herd of green jerseys all moving forward, Jesuit has managed to slowly make their way to their own 17. Jesuit eventually punts the ball away.

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February 14th, 2011 at 4:14 am

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some worry about a Ferguson repeat

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New York Many are worried that the racial unrest in Ferguson, Mo., could erupt on the streets of New York this weekend, with a major protest march and rally scheduled to take place in Staten Island at the site of the sidewalk killing of Eric Garner allegedly at the hands of police.

The march, already planned by the Rev. Al Sharpton two weeks before the police shooting of unarmed teen Mike Brown in Ferguson, could draw more than 15,000 protesters to New York’s outer borough, drawing demonstrators both from the tri state area and from across the United States.

Organizers of the march have been planning “justice caravans” of cars and buses, which will pick up protesters in Brooklyn and New Jersey on Saturday morning and bring them across the Verrazano Bridge to Staten Island. Other groups, including the United Federation of Teachers, are sending “action alert” e mails to members, promising free transportation to the march and rally an action that has roiled many leaders of the New York Police Department’s rank and file.

But since the police shooting of Mr. Brown in Ferguson, the significance of the protest march has grown exponentially from a march against NYPD tactics and Garner’s death to a national protest of police violence against minorities. wholesale nfl jerseys from china Brown’s family is expected to attend, joining the family of Garner and others who died at the hands of police.

“It’s not only for my son, you know, it’s for Michael Brown from Ferguson, Mo.,” said Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother. “It could be for your son next, your husband next.”

“We’re not going to start fighting and pushing each other and breaking windows,” Ms. Carr said at an event in Harlem last weekend. “We are going to show them we are bigger than that. We want the focus to stay on justice.”

So far, there has been little violence during New York protests, and Sharpton has repeatedly urged demonstrators in Ferguson to protest peacefully. Most of the violence in Ferguson has occurred after dark, after the majority of peaceful protesters have left.

Still, rage continues to simmer among many restive, minority young men and others, and some leaders in New York have appeared to fan the flames.

“I want to give a warning to Mayor de Blasio, a warning to police Commissioner Bratton,” said former city council member Charles Barron duringa small protest in front of NYPD headquarters in Manhattan on Monday. “Ferguson today; New York tomorrow.”

“We will not be the ones to blame when there’s an explosion in New York City,” continued former Councilman Barron, also a former member of the Black Panthers and other militant groups. “We’re not even going to be able to stop it, because the people are fed up, and the only thing you listen to is when there’s no more peace for you.”

Amid the Ferguson unrest, a growing number of semi organized young militants, most from outside the region, have planned and coordinated the street violence. Among them are fringe groups reminiscent of the 1960s: the Revolutionary Communist Party and Revolution Club of Chicago, as well as the New Black Panthers Party, classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

These young militants have been organizing via social media in Ferguson, observers say, and leaders in New York worry a small number could disrupt the march and rally on Saturday or perhaps later in the evening.

Mayor de Blasio and some of his progressive allies appealed to Sharpton earlier this month, worrying the march could “tear New York City apart,” according to the New York Post. Thousands of NYPD officers will be on hand to keep the peace, as thousands of people come to, in effect, protest directly in front of them.

For the militants, the violence serves a purpose that peaceful protests cannot.

“The riot is the voice of the unheard,” Barron told protesters, speaking through a bullhorn Monday. “They can talk about those young people rising up in Ferguson, and doing what they think is necessary, all they want. But the president of the United States would not be addressing this issue if we were just peacefully marching and having a press conference.”

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February 7th, 2011 at 8:33 am

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