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FROM THIS EPISODE

There's barely a week until Governor Brown's legislative deadline to give voters a chance to decide if taxes should be extended to avoid doubling his $12.5 billion in budget cuts.  Even some business groups want Republicans to at least help it get on the ballot. We hear from both sides. Also, all of New Zealand took two minutes out today to remember the Christchurch earthquake one week ago. Do occupants of some Los Angeles buildings know what they're in for? On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, Republican Governors are challenging the benefits won by public-sector unions, but a poll out today suggests a possible backlash.  What would that mean for Governors like New Jersey's Chris Christie, who's made national headlines by vilifying teachers' unions?  

Producers:
Darrell Satzman
Sonya Geis

Main Topic Public-Employee Benefits and Republican Politics 26 MIN, 57 SEC

Republicans Slash at State BudgetsBoth Democratic and Republican governors want to cut the pay or benefits of public employees to help reduce massive state deficits.  But a poll released today by the New York Times and CBS News says Americans oppose that idea by a margin of 56 to 37 percent. Republican efforts to reduce bargaining rights are opposed by 60 to 33, with only a slim majority of GOP voters in favor. We talk further about those numbers and learn just how badly off state finances are.

Guests:
Susan Urahn, Managing Director, Pew Center on the States
Ken Vogel, Politico.com (@kenvogel)
Matt Bai, New York Times (@mattbai)
Christine Todd Whitman, former Governor of New Jersey

The Argument

Matt Bai

Making News Backdoor Plan to Get Tax Extensions on the Ballot? 6 MIN, 44 SEC

Only a week remains to qualify a June ballot measure that would let state voters decide if tax increases should be extended to prevent doubling the $12.5 billion in budget cuts Governor Jerry Brown has already proposed. Now, the Governor has found an alternative that Democrats could enact by themselves, even though it might sound like another "gimmick." Dan Walters, syndicated columnist for the Sacramento Bee, has been following the story.

Guests:
Dan Walters, Sacramento Bee (@WaltersBee)

Main Topic What's the Republican Plan for California's Budget Mess? 10 MIN, 59 SEC

Governor Brown wants California voters to decide if tax increases should be extended to prevent doubling the $12.5 billion in budget cuts he's already proposed. Some business groups think Republicans should at least let the measure go on the ballot. But for now, so many are saying "No" that Brown can't get the two-thirds majority the Constitution requires for any tax measure. We hear more from civic and business leaders.

Guests:
Don Wagner, California Assemblyman (R-Irvine)
Daymond Rice, Chairman, Valley Industry and Commerce Association

Reporter's Notebook New Zealand Quake Raises Questions about California Structures 7 MIN, 57 SEC

At 3:51 yesterday -- our time in New Zealand today -- all activity stopped for two minutes to mark the moment an earthquake struck the city of Christchurch exactly one week ago. It's too early to learn new lessons, but some very discomforting old ones have been reconfirmed. That's according to CalTech Professor of Engineering and Seismology Thomas Heaton.

Guests:
Thomas Heaton, Professor of Engineering Seismology, Caltech

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