Across the country, state budgets are back in the black after years of belt-tightening and spending cuts. From California to Florida, in nearly every state, the economic recovery has produced a surge in tax revenue.
For governors and state legislators, that's produced a new question: how to spend the money.
The past three years have not been easy ones for elected officials. Nearly every state requires them to produce a balanced budget. And with declining revenue from sales, property and income taxes, that has meant big spending cuts.
Six months after Hurricane Sandy, hundreds of low-income New Yorkers are facing homelessness. They've been living in subsidized hotel rooms since the storm, but that funding is about to run out. Advocates say there isn't enough public and low-income housing to accommodate them all.
Roughly one in four cellphone towers in the path of Hurricane Sandy went out of service. It was a frustrating and potentially dangerous experience for customers without a landline to fall back on. Now, local officials and communications experts are pushing providers to improve their performance during natural disasters.
Lori McCaskill lives in Brooklyn, and when Sandy hit last October, her Verizon cell service went out. She couldn't work. She couldn't check in with family and friends. Her sister was due to have a baby any day.
Sarah Allen works with interns Lori Hsu (left) and Fito von Zastrow at the Blazing Cloud offices in San Francisco.
Credit Ramin Rahimian for NPR
Ester Gerston and <a href="http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009-07-26/news/36783349_1_programmers-first-general-purpose-electronic-computer-daughters">Gloria Ruth Gordon</a>, early programmers working on the ENIAC computer in 1946.
Credit U.S. Army
Sarah Allen, CEO of Blazing Cloud, works with user experience designer Anton Zadorozhnyy in the company's offices in San Francisco.
Sarah Allen has been the only woman on a team of computer programmers a few times in the more than two decades she has worked in the field. Most notably, she led the team — as the lone female programmer — that created Flash video, the dominant technology for streaming video on the Web.
Colorado responded to the mass shootings in Aurora, Colo., and Newtown, Conn., by passing new gun control measures last month. That's not sitting well with several gun-related businesses in the Centennial State, where four companies have announced plans to relocate all or some of their operations.
The Alabama Education Association was once the unquestioned power in the Alabama statehouse. But that's changed since Republicans won a supermajority in the House and Senate in 2010.
Lawmakers around the country have made significant changes to teacher tenure, expanded charter schools and introduced different versions of voucher programs. But in Alabama, these kinds of changes have been part of a political upheaval not seen in most states.
Less than a week after mandatory furloughs began that idled as much as 10 percent of U.S. air traffic controllers, the Federal Aviation Administration has ended its furlough program. The move comes after Congress voted to let the FAA move money around in its budget — a quick response that came after several days of travel delays that were either caused by or worsened by the furloughs.
In a statement released Saturday, the FAA said that it is suspending furloughs for all its employees.
People walk and eat along Boylston Street, near the site of the Boston Marathon bombings, on Wednesday. Businesses in the area have reported strong customer support; they also have an option for federal loans to help them cope with losses.
Originally published on Sat April 27, 2013 4:55 pm
Faced with sharp financial losses stemming from the Boston Marathon bombing attack and the days of forced closure that followed, businesses in the affected Copley Square area can apply for federal help, the Small Business Administration announced Friday.
The news comes as people continue to flock to Boylston Street, to pay their respects to victims of the April 15 attacks and to support stores and restaurants that were open for the first Saturday since the bombings and the ensuing manhunt.
The 2012 election was the most expensive in history, but there remain some gaping holes in our knowledge about who paid for what. The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering a proposal to add more transparency in future elections, but it won't happen without a fight.
Originally published on Sat April 27, 2013 2:21 pm
The bidding hasn't closed yet, but a charity auction of a cup of coffee shared with Apple CEO Tim Cook has already attracted offers of more than $600,000 — more than 10 times its estimated value of $50,000. Cook is one of several celebrities taking part in the auction, which benefits the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
The coffee klatch, currently valued at $605,000, will take place at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. And the price may rise even higher — the auction closes on Tues., May 14.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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And I'm Audie Cornish. The Dreamliner is coming back. FAA regulators have approved a fix for the Boeing Dreamliner 787, which was grounded around the world out of safety concerns. The first redesigned plane could retake to the skies as soon as this weekend out of Ethiopia. NPR's Gregory Warner explains what the world's most modern aircraft means to the cradle of humanity.
Businesses around Copley Square are hoping the Boston Marathon bombings won't be officially declared an act of terrorism. That's because they stand to lose insurance money. Many have business interruption insurance to pay for lost income — but that doesn't apply to terrorism and few businesses pay extra to cover it.