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Tax surprises await some elderly Kansans and mussels monitoring Puget Sound water quality.
Here’s some of what we’ve been reading today …
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, California: While it can difficult to speak with definite certainties when discussing earthquake predictions, here’s some unsettling news for Southern California: In a yet-to-be-published study from a seismologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in the next two-and-a-half years, there’s a “99.9 percent certainty” of a magnitude 5.0 or greater earthquake on faults near Los Angeles that generated a magnitude 5.1 quake in 2014 near La Habra in the San Gabriel Valley.
As the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports:
JPL officials in La Canada Flintridge have declined to make the full study public, saying that it will be announced in a press release “within the next day or two.” They also declined to comment on the study before making it public. In advance of the study’s release, seismologists at JPL, which is operated by Caltech for NASA, requested a meeting with legislative staff in Sacramento just as the Assembly and state Senate were heading into their autumn recess last month.
Stay tuned … [San Gabriel Valley Tribune]
TRENTON, New Jersey: A new poll shows that 57 percent of Garden State residents are opposed to raising gas taxes “for any reason.” According to New Jersey Advance Media, the survey from the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University showed that respondents were largely unmoved on the issue of higher gas taxes when asked if putting the revenue toward transportation improvements was worth it. [New Jersey Advance Media / NJ.com]
BELLINGHAM, Washington: Cages full of Penn Cove mussels will be deployed to 73 locations around Puget Sound in an effort to track contaminants that make their way from land into the local watershed. As The Bellingham Herald reports:
The cages will be put in over seven days, and the mussels will stay there until February 2016. Their job is to help scientists find out what contaminants are washing from land into the sound during fall and winter, when Western Washington is wet.
Stormwater runoff from roadways has been shown to be harmful to salmon. [The Bellingham Herald]
TOPEKA, Kansas: The 2015 tax season for Kansas residents might bring some unexpected surprises. While one of the big impacts from the state’s legislative session is an increase in sales and cigarette taxes, other changes involving deductions “flew mostly under the public’s radar” and will amount to $97 million for Sunflower State taxpayers.
According to The Kansas City Star:
Lawmakers lowered the mortgage interest and property tax deductions and repealed the deduction for medical expenses. Critics are calling those changes a “back-door tax increase,” charging that they will amount to a tax sting for some middle-class taxpayers and a potential burden for some elderly people.
In the case of Doug Himebaugh, a former banker who lives in a Lenexa retirement home, his tax bill could rise by 15 percent. [The Kansas City Star]
RICHLAND COUNTY, South Carolina: The cost of some flood relief in this county that includes the state capital? As The State newspaper reports, officials are considering paying a local consulting group nearly $1 million for five months of relief work in areas of the county hardest hit from rains associated with Hurricane Joaquin, which passed along the East Coast earlier this month. [The State]
Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty.