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FROM THIS EPISODE

As local voters go to the polls today, state politicians are at a stalemate over the budget.  Republicans won't comply with Governor Brown's request to allow a statewide vote of the people on extending increases in taxes. But one condition could be reform of the pension system for public employees. Brown just might cut a deal. On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, disruption in the Middle East and North Africa has sparked a host of conflicting agendas, from getting off the oil economy once and for all to increasing domestic production. What will it all mean for the price of gasoline at the pump and for economic recovery?

Banner image: California Governor Jerry Brown speaks to reporters about his proposed budget at the California State Capitol on January 10, 2011 in Sacramento. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Producers:
Christian Bordal
Karen Radziner
Katie Cooper

Main Topic Politics, Oil Production and the Price of Gasoline 26 MIN, 56 SEC

Oil Prices and Unrest in the Middle EastIn North Africa and the Middle East, recent disruptions are all about politics and liberation from despotic regimes.  For the energy industry and for speculators it's the price of oil by the barrel. The concern of most Americans is the price of gasoline by the gallon, and it's rising fast.

Guests:
Matt Wald, New York Times (@MattWaldNYT)
Daniel Weiss, Center for American Progress
Robert Bryce, Manhattan Institute (@pwrhungry)
Anne Korin, Institute for the Analysis of Global Security
Toby Jones, Rutgers University (@tobycraigjones)

Desert Kingdom

Toby Craig Jones

Guest Interview The State Budget and Public Pension Reform 28 MIN, 26 SEC

Governor Brown has declared a stalemate on closing the $25 billion gap between state spending and revenue. He wants roughly half made up by spending cuts and the other half to be an extension of tax increases approved by the voters. Republicans won't give him the two-thirds vote required to put that on the ballot, but there might be a deal on public pension reform. The state's bipartisan Little Hoover Commission has concluded that underfunded pensions threaten both state and local governments. The Legislative Analyst, also bipartisan, agrees.

Guests:
Ed Mendel, CalPensions.com
Marilyn Brewer, Little Hoover Commission
Warren Furutani, California State Assemblyman
Pat Macht, California Public Employees' Retirement System
Mimi Walters, California State Senate

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