Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday Must Read: State Tax Revenues Surge $2 Billion; Obama Won’t Release Bin Laden Photos

By Robert Gammon
Thu, May 5, 2011 at 7:05 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. In a sign that the state’s economy may be rebounding, California state tax revenues are $2 billion higher than expected, the LA Times reports. In addition, Republicans are pointing to the uptick in tax receipts as another reason for why Governor Jerry Brown should scrap his proposal for ballot measures that would extend some tax increases. But Brown says that the $2 billion surge in tax revenues could be fleeting, and that the state needs his tax measures for long-term fiscal stability.

2. President Obama said in an interview with 60 Minutes that he will not release the gruesome photos of Osama Bin Laden’s dead body, saying “We don’t need to spike the football,” AP reports. The White House had been considering releasing the photos that show bin Laden shot in the head in order to quell conspiracy theories that the terrorist leader is still alive. But the administration noted that there could be a potential backlash in Muslim countries if the United States were to display photos of the slain al Qaeda leader. US officials, meanwhile, also said that US Navy Seals said they shot bin Laden when they thought the unarmed terrorist was reaching for a weapon.

3. Leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has been sued by former students of his Trump University, who claim that it was nothing more than a scam, the Chron reports. The students allege that they were pressured by Trump’s seminar leaders to pay more than $35,000 for his real estate courses, but have nothing to show for it.

4. The California Legislature is refusing to release lawmakers’ official calendars, arguing that they should be kept confidential, even though other elected leaders throughout the state have disclosed theirs, the Mercury News reports. Lawmakers say their meetings with special interests and lobbyists must be kept secret.

5. The nation’s students are receiving failing grades when it comes to government civics, the Chron reports, citing a new progress report. Most high school seniors, for example, could not identify a power granted to Congress by the US Constitution. The results come as no surprise, considering that half of adults can’t identify the three branches of government.

6. Oakland City Attorney John Russo made it official yesterday — he’s resigning in June to become Alameda’s city manager, the Trib reports. The Oakland City Council will have sixty days to appoint a new city attorney or there will be a special election to replace Russo.

7. And Children’s Hospital nurses are set to begin a five-day strike today to protest their health benefit costs, the Chron reports. Children’s has hired replacement nurses so that the hospital can remain open during the walkout.

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