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Strapped for money like many states, Maryland today hiked the sales tax on alcohol by 50 percent to pay for schools. Illinois and Washington have recently raised alcohol taxes. California is hard up for money too, but the last year alcohol taxes were raised in Sacramento was 1991. An industry watchdog says maybe that’s because of $5 million in political contributions to lawmakers and initiative campaigns. Also, the ShakeAlert system that warns of earthquakes. We talk to a man who has one. On our rebroadcast of today’s To the Point, the pipeline that divides America — in more ways than one.

Banner image: A customer shops for beer at the City Beer Store in San Francisco, California. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Making News Jerry Brown Puts Pen to Paper 6 MIN, 47 SEC

Governor Brown has until Sunday night to sign or veto dozens of bills passed by the Assembly and Senate. David Siders is keeping track for the Sacramento Bee.

David Siders, Politico (@davidsiders)

Main Topic State Finances and Taxes on Alcohol 11 MIN, 29 SEC

It's harder than ever to raise taxes in the midst of a recession. Around the country, states are beginning to increase levies on alcohol. How long has it been since California increased alcohol taxes? Alcohol Justice has just published a study called "Drunk with Power: Industry Kills Alcohol Mitigation Fees in California 2010."

Bruce Lee Livingston, Alcohol Justice
Kim Severson, New York Times (@kimseverson)

Reporter's Notebook An Earthquake Early Warning System for California? 7 MIN, 42 SEC

All Californians know they're vulnerable to the Big One, but we're way behind Japan —even Mexico — in developing an alert system. But 30 scientists, working on a shoestring budget, are developing ShakeAlert at the US Geological Service, Cal Tech and the University of California, Berkeley. Richard Allen directs UC Berkeley's Seismological Laboratory.

Richard Allen, University of California Berkeley

Main Topic Keystone Pipeline Dividing America in More Ways than One 26 MIN, 24 SEC

Keystone XL Pipeline: Jobs versus the EnvironmentHillary Clinton's State Department is faced with a decision that has both political parties fighting among themselves over jobs, greenhouse gases, drinking water and energy security. The proposed Keystone XL Pipeline would bring bitumen — a tarry form of oil -- 1700 miles from Canada into Montana and all the way south to refineries on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Public hearings have exposed what one reporter calls "an emotional fault line down the middle of the conservative heartland."

Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times (@kimmurphy)
Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Natural Resources Defense Council
Matt Letourneau, US Chamber of Commerce
Graham Christensen, Nebraska Farmers Union

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