NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

Subscribe to NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse feed
Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 2 hours 55 min ago

A-F school grades are coming

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 16:29
Next week, the Department of Public Instruction will release for the first time letter grades for each school in North Carolina. The letter grades will largely represent how well a school’s students performed on standardized tests at one given time (that will be 80 percent of the grade), and, to a lesser degree, how much students’ performance ...

Forty years of evidence about EITC effectiveness is a terrible thing to waste

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 14:18
Forty years ago, President Gerald Ford signed into law a tax policy that would support working families earning low-wages. That policy, the Earned Income Tax Credit, would later be expanded under President Ronald Reagan. Today, it has proven to be a powerful anti-poverty tool supporting the economic security of more than 30 million Americans in ...

Celebrate Fred Korematsu

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 13:43
Today should be a national holiday. No, not because of EITC Awareness, although the post below this one highlights that important issue as well. Because of Fred Korematsu, who was born on this day 96 years ago. Korematsu was born in Oakland, Calif., but his U.S. citizenship didn’t keep him from being arrested for refusing ...

Happy EITC Awareness Day… to those fortunate enough to live in states that haven’t eliminated this vital credit

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 13:29
Today marks a little known “holiday”: Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) Awareness Day. The IRS-led national event is intended – as the title implies – to spread awareness about this modest but vital tax credit and make sure that all qualified workers receive it. The day is as much about educating people as to what ...

Boosting morale at DENR … with collector coins

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 08:36
When the former Secretary for the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources sought a way to boost employee’s morale last summer, his agency ordered up several hundred commemorative coins engraved with both his and the agency’s name. The environmental agency spent $1530 in June buying 500 coins engraved with former DENR Secretary John Skvarla’s ...

Jim Crow 2.0: Berger’s “religious freedom” bill

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 07:56
Greensboro News & Record columnist Susan Ladd does a great job of skewering state Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger’s ridiculous “religious freedom” for magistrates legislation today in this essay. “It’s appalling that the first order of business for our state legislature would be to reinstate Jim Crow. Or should we call it James Crow? ...

Mexican restaurant in Jacksonville in trouble for shorting workers’ pay

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 15:55
A chain of Mexican restaurants with a Jacksonville location is paying more than $50,000 in back wages to employees, after federal authorities discovered some workers weren’t receiving minimum wage. Pancho Villa Mexican Restaurants, a small chain with one location near the Camp LeJeune Marine Corps Base, was not paying dishwashers and cooks at the federal ...

“Second” legislative session allows legislative leaders to evade rules on raising money from lobbyists

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 15:23
It’s been déjà vu all over again this week in Raleigh. Two weeks ago, right before what seemed at the time to be the one and only “first” day of the 2015 legislative session, lawmakers crammed in some last minute fundraising just hours before the session began. The details of all this are a smidge ...

Busiest man in the N.C. Senate?

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 12:33
Longtime lobbyist Paula Wolf rounded up how many pies state Sen. Tom Apodaca has his fingers in over on her blog, Paulatics. Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican who has been in the Senate for 12 years, is known for his off-the-cuff comments as well as influence in the state legislature. Wolf, who until recently had worked ...

Luncheon will explore school voucher case, preview Supreme Court argument

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 09:55
Mark your calendar for the next N.C. Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon on Tuesday, February 10: “The constitutional challenge to school vouchers: Where do things stand? What happens next?” Click here to register For the time being, school vouchers have come to North Carolina. Thanks to the state’s conservative political leadership, several million dollars in ...

From last rites to life support: New study confirms weakness of NC’s economic “recovery”

Thu, 01/29/2015 - 07:19
As it has at the national level, North Carolina’s official unemployment rate continues to fall. And while there’s certainly some good news there, numerous analysts continue to explain why this recovery is especially tepid and shallow for a huge proportion of North Carolinians (and why the trickledown economic policies pursued by state leaders continue to ...

Junior Senator sets the record straight on controversial “religious freedom” bill (video)

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 22:11
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger made good on his promise Wednesday to file legislation that would allow magistrates to refuse to perform marriages for same sex couples. Senate Bill 2 states: Every magistrate has the right to recuse from performing all lawful marriages under this Chapter based upon any sincerely held religious objection. Senator ...

UPDATE: Legislative briefing on “religious freedom” bill postponed

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 17:00
The closed-door meeting to discuss the new “religious freedom” bill has been postponed, according to an email sent out by the North Carolina Values Coalition. The organization claims that they received an “overwhelmingly positive” response to the meeting and have had to reschedule out of concern that the facility could not accommodate the crowd. Unfortunately, ...

Auditor finds failed Kinston charter school mismanaged hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 16:31
Kinston Charter Academy closed its doors back in September 2013 after years of financial mismanagement. Today, the state auditor released a report investigating the school’s financial practices. The audit reveals allegations of fraud and abuse that took place on the watch of the school’s CEO and Principal, Ozie Hall Jr. Some of the most eyebrow-raising findings include: School overstated attendance estimate which inflated state ...

Senator proposes bill to de-fund State Employees Association after it opposes him in primary

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 15:47
Well, that didn’t take long. Senate Bill 3 for the 2015 session is entitled: “AN ACT REPEALING PUBLIC EMPLOYEE PAYROLL DEDUCTION FOR PAYMENTS TO EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATIONS.” The sponsor is Senator Ralph Hise (pictured at left). That would be the same Ralph Hise who was opposed by the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) in ...

Massive Bush-era dividend tax cuts failed to boost economy

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 09:35
A new paper by UC Berkeley economist Danny Yagan provides further evidence that tax breaks that largely benefit the wealthy and profitable corporations are not a remedy for boosting the economy. In 2003, President George W. Bush passed one of the largest cuts ever to a federal capital tax rate – reducing the top tax ...

Hearings start today on Attorney General nominee raised in NC

Wed, 01/28/2015 - 08:18
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will commence the vetting process for Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch this morning. This ought to be a proud moment for North Carolinians as Lynch would be the first native of our state to serve in the position. She grew up here and her immediate family still lives in the ...

Lessons from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Make Clear Need for Changes to NC Education Policies

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 15:28
A new report from the Migration Policy Institute, Lessons from the Local Level: DACA’s Implementation and Impact on Education and Training Success, finds that both educational attainment for immigrants who arrived as children and achievement of broader economic benefits resulting from their increased earnings, participation in the labor force and payment of taxes are dependent ...

UNC leaders launch plan to revive NC’s teaching profession

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 15:06
The UNC Board of Governors convened a summit Tuesday to discuss the future of teaching in the state, as the world of education changes rapidly and the state faces a significant drop in those who want to teach. The education summit, a public meeting of the UNC Board of Governors held on the SAS campus ...

“Religious freedom” bill for magistrates: A bad idea that would lead to many others

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 14:55
According to news reports, Representative Paul Stam will hold some kind of legislative “briefing” tomorrow on a “religious freedom” bill that would permit magistrates and other state employees to deny same-sex couples marriage licenses if it violates their own religious beliefs. This is an enormously troubling idea. From a legal standpoint, permitting state employees to ...

Pages