FROM John Howard
The State Budget: Balanced or Not? As a share of the state's economy, Governor Brown says, the $86 billion state budget he signed today is lower than any since 1973. There are massive cuts in core services. But Republicans refused to extend tax increases, and the deficit still required $12 billion in new revenues to be "balanced," as the constitution requires. Four billion of that is based on projections that wealthy taxpayers are doing better than anybody expected. Still more comes from so-called "use" taxes the state hopes to collect on Internet sales from companies like Amazon. Currently, those taxes depend on consumers, few of whom ever report online purchases. Another device is dismantling local redevelopment agencies and taking their money, but those agencies claim that's illegal because of Proposition 22 , approved by the voters last November. Will any of that money really materialize?
Stimulus Could Trigger More State Taxes, Spending Cuts In May, Californians will be asked to approve six ballot measures confirming $42 billion in spending cuts and new taxes that made up the compromise that was worked out in Sacramento last month. But taxes could be higher and spending cuts deeper if the state doesn’t get $10 billion in federal stimulus money. John Howard, managing editor of Capitol Weekly , has more.
Nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula slowly coming to a head North Korea did not conduct a nuclear test this weekend, but it did show apparent progress in developing a missile that that could strike the United States. The Trump Administration says it has lost its "strategic patience." We hear what that might -- or might not -- mean for North Korea, China and the prospects for diplomacy.
Mixed Messages from US diplomats on the new hard line on Syria Since President Trump's surprise retaliation against Syria's use of chemical weapons, Bashar al-Assad has used the same airport to launch conventional attacks on his own people. It's not clear what the US, its allies — or Vladimir Putin's Russia -- plan to do now.
The flight bumping heard around 'round the world Recent video of a passenger forcibly removed from a United Airlines plane is a worst-case example of what's happened since consolidation into just four US-based carriers. Management seems to be tone-deaf to a decline in service — and even abuse — of passengers.