Balance Sheet



Yankee Clipper. How Massachusetts Gov. William Weld attacks a $1.6-billion budget deficit: tax cuts. (See "Bigger or Better?", Nov.) Weld wants to slice the state income-tax rate from 5.95 percent to 5.75 percent and dump the capital-gains tax on assets held longer than six years. He expects his cabinet to "deliver the same services…at a 10 or 20 percent cut."

Rights Turn. In an early opinion, Lechmere v. NLRB, Justice Clarence Thomas reasserts that shopping centers are private property: Center owners can charge labor organizers (and presumably others) with trespassing if they distribute literature without permission.

Contract Job. Florida will contract out management of three public-school districts to a for-profit company. Minneapolis-based Education Alternatives will take care of maintenance, custodial, and food services. "We [aren't] in competition with the public schools," company president David Bennett tells Education Week. "We want to be the public schools." Privatization-by-stealth could sweep the nation.

Maiden Voyage. Six new airlines want to enter the decimated U.S. market. Are they crazy? U.S. News suggests not. Unlike Pan Am and Eastern, who tried to fly everyone everywhere, the new carriers will serve a few routes for rock-bottom prices. One will fly only between Ft. Lauderdale and New York City for $125 each way—$300 cheaper than the big boys. And with experienced pilots out of work, the new carriers can offer seasoned flight crews.


Car Talk. The Congressional Automotive Caucus (yep) proposes a $2,000 tax credit for people who buy new American cars. But what's "American"? The feds deem the Ford Crown Victoria foreign because only 73 percent of its parts are made in the USA. Meanwhile, Chrysler builds Lamborghinis, Ford Jaguars, and G.M. Lotuses. Wait. This could be a great loophole. Nothing qualifies.

Fare Play. New York Mayor David Dinkins plans to issue 40,000 new taxi licenses. But new medallion holders can't take fares into Manhattan—and the mayor will spend six times more money to prosecute the illegal "gypsy" cabs on which poorer neighborhoods rely. Maybe he wants to boost subway ridership.

Public Enemy. Warning labels appear on most recordings with explicit lyrics. Not good enough, says Guilderland, New York, Police Chief James R. Murley. After a parent gripes about a cassette her daughter bought, Murley tells shop owners it may be illegal to sell labeled records to minors. "We're certainly not looking to violate the First Amendment," he tells The New York Times. But store owners get the message and pull the albums off their shelves.

Communication Breakdown. A New Jersey jury creates a new category of defamation—the unflattering job review. After black accountant Margaret Cary got a bad performance review, AT&T laid her off. She sued, claiming race and sex discrimination. The jury found no bias. But jurors said AT&T defamed Cary in the review and gave her half a million dollars in damages. If upheld, the decision could end reviews.