FROM Christopher Edley, Jr.
Will the State Tax System Be Reformed? The sales tax in California may be the nation's highest, but 53% of state revenues come from the income tax. That creates problems, because incomes rise and fall with the stock market and the economy, creating the ups and downs that defy planning and lead to continuing budget crises. Governor Schwarzenegger and the legislature created the Commission on the 21st Century Economy to develop a new system. The Commission's final report won't be presented until later this week, but its principal features are known. It would eliminate the sales tax and the corporate income tax and flatten the personal income tax by eliminating the top brackets. Lost revenue would be replaced by something called the Business Net Receipts Tax or BNRT.
Is Venezuela becoming a dictatorship? Venezuela may have the world's largest oil reserves, but it's a nation in trouble… economically and politically. Is a populist promise to rescue democracy turning out to be a prelude to dictatorship?
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.
Will the march for science politicize objective research? Protesters are gathering all over the country for tomorrow's Earth Day March for Science. Since President Trump has proposed massive cuts in basic scientific research, will the movement be perceived as partisan politics — whether scientists themselves like it or not?