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Lift cap on taxable income as way to save Social Security

This week’s announcement by the federal government regarding the solvency of Social Security was supposed to be comforting. Social Security’s retirement program will remain solvent until 2034 and Medicare until 2030 but Social Security’s disability benefits program is projected to run out of money in two years to pay full benefits.

Walla Walla Gun Club should get OK to build pistol range

The Gun Club has operated near the airport for 65 years; the addition of a pistol range won’t reduce security at the Walla Walla Regional Airport.

An indoor pistol range would be a benefit to the Walla Walla Valley.

Balloon Stampede moving to fall makes sense

The weather is usually better for ballooning, and there should be more balloons filling Walla Walla’s sky.

The Walla Walla Balloon Stampede is moving from May to October in an effort to have more launches every year.

Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to battle poverty hits bipartisan chord

The Wisconsin Republican is pushing a plan that lets states decide where social service funds are allocated.

Given the financial mess the leaders of the federal government have created with poor spending decisions — much of it on well-intended social programs — U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan might have hit on a winner with his plan to fight poverty.

State school chief’s nightmare continues — and we all suffer

The US Department of Education denied Washington’s request to reinstate its waiver from No Child Left Behind Act.

Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn must feel as if he is having a bad dream and can’t seem to wake up.

Compromise to allow jogging on public golf course is wise

A compromise to imposing an outright ban on walkers, joggers and dogs at the city’s public golf course seems reasonable and acceptable. The City Council is considering the proposal tonight.

City’s survey on new pool makes sense

Those who came up with a cost estimate for putting in a new swimming pool — and just a pool — at the site of the old Memorial Pool on a napkin from a coffee shop based their calculations on optimism, not reality.

Vigilance key to getting veterans home constructed

Well, it looks as if the finish line — completion of a veterans nursing home on the grounds of the local VA Medical Center — could soon be in sight.

Fast-growing US debt can’t be ignored

Just when the nation’s economic outlook is starting to brighten, the Congressional Budget Office tosses a big bucket of reality our way.

Silly games of political revenge use serious issues

The U.S. government borrows about $4 billion a day, so it would seem tax collection would be a very high priority.

Free speech isn’t always popular speech

The right to free speech is not always easy to tolerate when exercised by others.

Taxing public’s access to the Internet wrong

The Internet is the highway to cyberspace. Its use has become essential to the nation and the world.

The Duke’s family takes on Duke University

Duke University is an elite private college in Durham, N.C. Just 17 percent of those who apply to be students are accepted.

Open government training will benefit elected officials, taxpayers

Government mandates. A phrase that too often sends chills down taxpayers’ spines.

State Legislature should allow remote testimony

Technology has brought the world closer together. Today, meetings can be held in cyberspace using video cameras, computers and other technology.

Politics, not science, drive Inslee’s water-quality decision

Gov. Jay Inslee’s decision to dramatically increase the estimate for Washington state fish consumption will likely result in clean-water rules that will be unreasonable — and expensive — to the point of absurdity. This should concern all Washingtonians.

As drones become more common, laws must keep up

Apparently no law stops the use of drones to video into homes, but it’s against federal regulation to take real estate pictures.

Technology moves faster — much faster — than lawmakers.

Nobody should smile if state funds misused for braces

Providing taxpayer-funded dental care to children living in low-income households is the right thing to do, but the state government has gone too far in its effort to keep kids’ teeth healthy.

Fed’s education mandates hurt state students

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn is looking out for taxpayers and students in seeking to have Washington regain its exemption from some of the onerous and absurd mandates of the federal No Child Left Behind law.

WWCC makes best of more budget cuts

Colleges and universities in Washington state are, once again, faced with budgets so tight a quarter would bounce off them — assuming there were quarters available.

Walla Walla City Council wisely keeps its pledge to return bond money

The Walla Walla City Council made a smart decision when it pledged to return any excess funds to taxpayers from the construction of the new police station. And now, as the Council makes good on its promise, it opted to return the cash in a way taxpayers will feel the benefits in their wallets.

Celebrate the Fourth of July wisely and safely

High-flying fireworks that explode with a loud boom are extremely popular on the Fourth of July.

Delaying Walla Walla parking space project should save money

The plan to add 60 parking spaces in downtown Walla Walla should be a boon for local merchants and citizens. Parking is at a premium in the city’s business district, particularly on the weekends that feature special events such as the wineries’ spring release or barrel tasting.

Unanimous high court ruling sheds light on presidential power

Political gamesmanship played a role in U.S. government even before this country was a nation.

Current law mandating 12 weeks of family leave works

Having paid family leave in America is a great concept. And that is why President Obama made a pitch for paid family leave more than five years ago, and why the president is once again campaigning to make it available to everyone.

Smartphones today can hold our most private information

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a simple but firm ruling in regard to whether law enforcement can scroll through suspects’ cellphones or smartphones without a warrant. It can’t.

Does Walla Walla really want a simple swimming pool?

“The older I get, the better I was.”

Sending US troops back to Iraq is courting disaster

Last week President Obama authorized sending troops back to Iraq.

High court’s separation of chuch-state line misses mark

A building — the concrete and lumber — isn’t religious by itself. It is what takes place inside the four walls that makes it a place of religious worship, a church.

Death of ex-WW Padre could help reduce use of smokeless tobacco

Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died of mouth cancer this week at the age of 54. Years of smokeless tobacco use — a longtime practice on America’s baseball diamonds and dugouts — took its toll on Gwynn.

Huge backlog of evidence in rape cases must be tested

Justice delayed is justice denied.

The people lose when denied access to their records

The information contained in public records can sometimes be embarrassing for government employees and their supervisors when it chronicles the reasons disciplinary action was taken for unacceptable behavior.

Excessive secrecy on local government spying unnecessary

Most people would agree, including those involved with the American Civil Liberties Union, that some information should remain secret for national security reasons.

Legislature, not high court, makes school funding decisions

In 2012 the state Supreme Court ordered the Legislature to meet its constitutional responsibility to fully fund basic education.

Better handling of mental illness could reduce mass killings

The recent rash of mass shootings, including two at schools in the Pacific Northwest, is horrific.

Diversity Day goes on with new volunteers and community spirit

The Diversity Day Multicultural Festival takes place Sunday at Pioneer Park from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.

It’s summertime — be alert for kids playing

School’s out for the summer.

Is Cantor’s loss to tea party a signal of a national trend?

Tuesday’s unexpected defeat of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., feels like 1994 — at least for those who live in Eastern Washington.

It’s time to rename NFL franchise in D.C. (with video)

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has vowed to never change the team’s name. In political and business dealings, of which this controversial issue is both, never say never.

VA studies what’s broken so problems can be fixed

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is airing its dirty laundry in the sunshine (in public) as a disinfectant to the current delay-in-care scandal.

It’s a good time for state to focus on DUIs

Surveys on such things as drunken driving or driving while high on drugs are not always accurate. After all, people surveyed on illegal activities tend to shade the truth, even tell outright lies.

Heavy student loan debt is national concern

If we’ve said it before (and we have) — and we will say it again — the rise in college tuition in Washington state is unsustainable. The state needs to select a funding source to provide adequate subsidies to the state-run universities and colleges.

Lincoln High continues to see graduation rates improve

A recent letter to the editor by Susan Newton reminded the community just how far students at Lincoln High School have come in achieving their goals, from graduating to going to college.

Resignation of public school superintendent a fresh start

Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent Mick Miller’s decision to resign Tuesday was, as these decisions usually are, part personal and part professional.

Negotiating with enemies is not good policy

It’s not wise for the U.S. government to negotiate with terrorist organizations or enemy nations.

Panic buttons could make schools safer

School safety continues to be of great concern to parents and the general public across the nation. Violence in schools, including shootings, has become too prevalent.

The politics of potatoes is nonsensical

In the past, tomatoes (a vegetable-like fruit) — played a role in American politics. They were tossed, usually when rotten, at politicians who had fallen out of favor.

Accommodation for religious food restrictions seems reasonable

When employers provide meals for employees because the demands of their jobs do not allow them to either bring food or dine elsewhere, it seems reasonable those meals would accommodate religious and dietary restrictions.

High court took narrow view in siding with cops in car-chase shooting

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled Tuesday that police in Arkansas did not violate a motorist’s Fourth Amendment rights by using excessive force — shooting and killing him and a passenger — after he led officers on a reckless, high-speed chase.

Decisions on funding education remain with legislators

Does the attorney for a coalition of parents and education groups that successfully sued the state for not fully funding basic education think Washington has an unlimited supply of money? Does he think a printing press in the Capitol is churning out $100 bills?

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