Friday, April 27, 2012

Patt Morrison for Monday, April 30, 2012


Monday, April 30, 2012

1-3 p.m.






1:06 – 1:39 OPEN


1:30 – 1:58

Would you vote for a tax increase on cigarettes?

Californians will head to the ballot box in June to vote on Prop 29, which if passed, would boost taxes on a pack of cigarettes in California by $1 (it’s currently .87 cents – and $4.35 in New York). That would raise an estimated $735 million annually, most of which would go to cancer research. If cigarette tax works as an effective smoking deterrent, that would also mean an estimated $1 billion loss to the California tobacco industry. Tobacco companies have so far spent $21 million to defeat the initiative. They’re also representing themselves as California Against Out of Control Taxes and Spending, which is appealing to anti-tax sentiments to oppose it, and point out that the provision allows out-of-state organizations to bid for the cancer research dollars. The campaign is being closely watched since California hasn’t approved a tobacco tax increase in 14 years and data shows that heavy spending to persuade voters to reject ballot measures usually works pretty well—voters are predisposed to vote “no” on initiatives. On the other hand, it’s tougher to defeat initiatives the public are knowledgeable, and unpredictable how anti-smoking campaigns may sway voters. Would you vote for a tax like this?



TBD, American Cancer Society



Katy Grimes, Californians Against Out-of-Control Taxes and Spending, a coalition of taxpayers, small businesses, law enforcement and labor. (866) 662-7016


Tracy Westen, CEO of Center Governmental Studies 


2:06 – 2:30

What is the future of organized labor in the United States?

Job security. Health care. Retirement. Workers in the United States have a lot to feel insecure about within a still shaky economy. Labor unions, for generations, have represented these concerns within work places, but organized labor has also been declining for decades, since private-sector union membership hit its peak in the 1950s. During that time, about 40 percent of laborers belonged to a union. Compare that to 7.6 percent private-sector union membership last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. American Airlines, for instance, has already tried to cancel its pension plan for 130,000 workers, and now wants to pull the plug on its union contracts too. Economic woes have long been considered one factor why organized labor is losing steam, with a balance of power shifted in favor of employers, with many workers fearful of losing their jobs. Do unions have any future in this scaled-down economy? As a worker, do you belong to a union, or do you wish there was one at your work place to counteract bad management? If a business owner, how do you view unions amid labor cost increases?


Richard Hurd, professor of industrial and labor relations at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, and the school’s associate dean for external relations


Damon Silvers, public policy director for the AFL-CIO


2:30 – 2:58
Republicans and Democrats make a student loan interest rates a campaign issue
Immigration, tax cuts and health care are some of the items on the greatest hits list of political footballs, but the recent fight over student loan interest rates is the kind of disagreement more traditionally worked out someplace other than in newspaper headlines. The newest debate surrounds the prevention of interest rates for subsidized student loans from reverting back to 6.8 percent from their current rate of 3.4 percent in July. In this election year, with college costs climbing, a tepid job market for graduates, and a hotly contested youth voting bloc, both parties are on the offensive on the issue. President Obama has called out Republicans for failing to act while families struggle and House Republicans responded late Friday by passing a version of a bill to prevent the hike despite the likelihood that the president will veto it, and the fact that the Democrat-controlled Senate has a bill of its own in the works. Republicans were eager not let Obama have a week to build his case unopposed on the issue during the House’s weeklong recess next week. But the issue isn’t all bluster - in 2010, U.S. student loan debt outpaced credit card debt for the first time ever for a total of about $1 trillion. Both parties want to keep the rates low, but in typical hyper-partisan fashion they cannot agree how to pay for it. Is the issue more about votes or financial relief for the American people… or is it just a new place for the major political parties to fight? How can congress find common ground?


Sandy Baum, Skidmore College Department

Brett Weiss, Bankruptcy Lawyer & Partner, Chung & Press law firm based in Greenbelt, Maryland; Maryland State Chair, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys



Dave Coelho

Senior Producer, Patt Morrison

Southern California Public Radio - 89.3 KPCC

626-583-5280 office

323-632-5885 cell



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