Cities to the Legislature: Give us the sales tax option It might sound like a wonky matter of fiscal management, but a bill that would give Grand Rapids the ability to levy a general fund sales tax represents the leading edge of a larger debate regarding how cities generate money.4:49 p.m.
Rondo plaintiffs get partial victory in light rail ruling A federal judge in St. Paul has ordered light-rail planners to conduct further study of the Central Corridor transit line to address concerns of businesses along the route who say they face economic hardship because of it. But the judge refused to halt construction of the project, as the plaintiffs had requested.5:15 p.m.
Health executives float huge Medicaid cuts, sin tax hikes A coalition of health executives are floating a plan that would cut hundreds of millions of dollars from the state's Medicaid benefits, while boosting health care revenues from additional taxes on alcohol, tobacco and providers.5:19 p.m.
Debt Projection Leaves Congress With Tough Choices
Dire new deficit and debt projections from the Congressional Budget Office have left lawmakers with a sobering choice: They can either make some politically painful decisions to keep those predictions from coming true, or they can let the nation risk a major debt crisis that could have painful consequences worldwide. At a Senate Budget Committee hearing Thursday on the new CBO report, the desire to do something was more evident than the path for getting it done.
President Obama Reaches Out To Public Via YouTube
The White House is trying to make this year's State of the Union address a two-way street. Senior White House officials responded to questions online after the speech Tuesday. Spokesman Robert Gibbs did a question-and-answer session on Wednesday on Twitter. And on Thursday, President Obama answered questions on YouTube. For a look at what was discussed, NPR's Ari Shapiro speaks to host Michele Norris.
Berkeley's Latest Liberal Cause: Sex Changes
A City Council proposal to set aside $20,000 a year to help city employees afford gender reassignment surgery has some residents clutching their pearls over the cost during this tough economic time. The proposal follows the example of San Francisco, which has offered that benefit for a decade.
Snowstorm Wallops New York Yet Again
New York City is digging out after getting walloped by another big snowstorm. The heavy, wet snow — 19 inches in Central Park — forced the shutdown of schools, government offices and most bus service throughout the city. But the streets seemed to be getting plowed faster than during the city's big blizzard last month.
N.Y. Gov. Threatens To Mothball More Prisons
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is considering massive layoffs that could hit as many as 10,000 state workers — especially at state prisons. He says they're expensive and it's morally wrong to keep them open. But residents, who say prisons are their only source of jobs, are worried about their economies.
Pakistani Police: U.S. Employee Kills 2 Gunmen
According to Pakistani police, an employee of the U.S. consulate in Lahore shot and killed two people on a motorcycle, alleging that they were armed and trying to rob him. A third Pakistani died when he was struck by a car rushing to assist the consular official. The U.S. State Department confirms that an incident involving a Consulate employee occurred and is under investigation but provided no further details. Regardless of the circumstances, the incident threatens to inflame anti-American sentiment.
Mubarak Era Spans Three Decades In Egypt
Anti-government demonstrations continued across Egypt for a third day, and the country braced for more protests following Friday prayers. Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Chair for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, speaks to host Melissa Block about Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's three decades in power, and about who's likely to succeed him.
Assange, Manning: Parallels, But Links Unclear
The two men at the center of the WikiLeaks controversy are both detained: Pfc. Bradley Manning charged with disclosing government secrets; Julian Assange fighting extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges. As Manning's lawyer complains about treatment in the brig, Assange suspects the soldier is being pressured to implicate him.
U.K. Paper Under Scrutiny In Phone Hacking Probe
The British police have launched a new inquiry into claims of illegal phone-hacking by journalists at one of the country's biggest newspapers. Reporters at the News of the World, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., are alleged to have hacked into the voicemails of members of the royal family, senior politicians and media celebrities, hoping to discover scandalous details of their private lives. Although News Corp. initially denied the allegations, the affair has led to the resignation of the prime minister's head of media, a former News of the World editor, and the sacking of a senior editor at the paper.