Billions in oil profit
Valentine’s Day is over. But if a tax fairness group gets its way, oil companies won’t get any more valentines in Washington state.
On Feb. 15, members of the Washington Coalition for Tax Fairness delivered boxes of candy hearts to state legislators to call attention to a new bill introduced in the House by Rep. Steve Conway (D-Tacoma). The bill, HB 2128, would tax oil company profits when gas prices get above $1.75 a gallon. The coalition says the tax would recoup some of the windfall profits that oil companies have enjoyed for years at the public’s expense.
A message on the candy boxes, which were ostensibly from ExxonMobil, Chevron, Conoco, Shell, and BP, asked legislators, “How do we love thee? Let us count the ways ($101 BILLION in profit)” — the total of 2006 profits that the companies had in yet another record-setting year.
A pink card that came with the boxes urged action on Conway’s bill, proclaiming, “Valentine’s Day is Over.” Coalition director Barb Flye calls the candy delivery and its message “a lighthearted way of making a serious point.”
The color of money
If the dream of economic independence is what draws immigrants to this country, then those with lighter skin tones have a better chance of ensuring their dream isn’t deferred.
That’s the finding of a January report released by a Vanderbilt University professor. After crunching newly available data provided by the New Immigrant Survey 2003, the researcher found that, controlling for such factors as education, proficiency in English, and birth country, those with the lightest skin color earned, on average, 8 to 15 percent more than comparable immigrants with the darkest skin tones. Another genetic trait that brings in higher pay? Height. Every extra inch of height produced a 1 percent wage jump.
To read the document, visit law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/faculty-personal-sites/joni-hersch/joni--hersch/download.aspx?id=1286.
Heads will roll
The Seattle City Council gained new powers to confirm and reconfirm the heads of city departments last fall, and it came at an auspicious time. There’s turnover at the top of notable departments such as Parks, Neighborhoods, Personnel, Seattle Center, the jointly run city-county Public Health, and the Office of Economic Development.
This Friday, the council’s Public Safety, Intergovernmental Relations, and Arts Committee will look at updating the standards by which councilmembers judge the mayor’s nominees.
New and of note is a stipulation that the mayor’s office provide the council with some standard material: a résumé, a memo noting that a background check has been conducted, and a letter describing the terms of the appointment. Council staffer Martha Lester says the mayor had been diligently providing these materials; “We thought, ‘Let’s put what he submits in the resolution,’” she says.
For copy of actual issue, go to https://www.realchangenews.org/2007/02/21/feb-21-2007-entire-issue