Wednesday Must Read: State Dems Abandon Brown’s Tax Measures; Oakland Unions Protest Outsourcing

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Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Democratic legislators say they have abandoned Governor Brown’s plan to put tax measures on the ballot and will adopt a state budget on their own without Republican votes. Brown was unable to attract any GOP votes for his tax measures plan after he and Democrats rebuffed efforts to reform public-employee pensions. The Democrats new budget proposal includes additional deep cuts to higher education, delays payments to public schools, and raises the state vehicle license fee.

2. Public-employee union leaders descended on Oakland City Hall yesterday to protest proposals by some councilmembers to outsource more city jobs to the private sector, the Trib reports.

Vaughn Walker
  • Vaughn Walker
3. A federal judge refused to overturn a ruling that invalidated Prop. 8, saying that Judge Vaughn Walker’s sexual orientation did not constitute bias in the case. Anti-gay marriage forces had claimed that Walker should have disqualified himself from the case because his decision to legalize gay weddings allows him to marry his longtime male partner. However, Walker, a Republican appointee, has not said whether he wishes to get married.

4. Meanwhile, a Los Angeles bankruptcy court has ruled that the federal anti-gay-marriage law is unconstitutional because it denies gays and lesbians the same basic protections in bankruptcy proceedings received by married couples. The ruling was the first of its kind since the Obama Justice Department announced earlier this year that it would no longer defend the federal anti-gay-marriage law because it also believes it’s unconstitutional.

5. The US Senate defeated a proposal to end ethanol subsidies, but the issue does not appear to be dead, because several Republicans voted for it as a way to cut federal spending. Environmentalists have long opposed ethanol subsidies because ethanol producers must use considerable amounts of fossil fuels to make it. In addition, critics say that growing corn for ethanol raises food prices and contributes to food shortages.

6. And East Bay MUD’s board of directors voted unanimously yesterday to raise water rates by 6 percent in an effort to increase revenues because people are not using as much water. The board also refused to address proposals to charge heavy water users steeper rates.

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