Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Must Read: Republicans Set to Block Key Labor Contracts; More Cuts for Community Colleges

By Ellen Cushing
Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Happy Monday, East Bay. Stories you shouldn't miss:

1) As the epic state budget battle royale marches on, Republicans are now set to block six key labor contracts currently working their way through the legislative process. The contracts — which cover some 60,000 state workers and represent a compromise on both sides, including furloughs, increased pension payments, and lower benefits — need support from both parties if they're to pass in the Senate and the Assembly. But according to the SacBee, state Republicans are now saying there'll be little to no support for the contracts among the party, because the savings won't be large enough.

2) Facing drastic budget cuts, Ohlone and Chabot Colleges will be reducing their summer class offerings by 50 and 41 percent, respectively. According to the Trib, the community colleges are cutting summer classes in order to save money for the fall, when more students are enrolled, and administrators aren't planning to cut any programs or services.

3) Some state lawmakers are, perhaps unsurprisingly, none too pleased that a state commission has voted to strip them of their taxpayer-supported cars. According to the Press Democrat, some lawmakers from larger, more diffuse districts argue that the new $300-a-month car allowance doesn't cover all the driving they need to do to meet with constituents. Meanwhile, the SacBee reports that the legislature likely stand to actually lose money by selling the cars, especially newer ones whose leases aren't set to expire for a couple years.

4) Oakland's Lamont Couch was found shot and killed in a car near the Eastmont Mall early Saturday morning, according to the Chron. This is the 34th homicide for 2011.

5) And finally, a friendly reminder: your taxes are due today! Which you hopefully already knew! But if not, uhhh, get thee to a post office. In commemoration of tax day — and in light of this week's cover story — here's an uplifting headline for you guys from the AP today: "Super rich see federal taxes drop dramatically." Apparently, the taxpayers with the 400 highest incomes paid taxes at an average rate of 17 percent on 2007— down from 26 percent in 1992. Supply-side economics, y'all!

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