NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Facing massive K-12 infrastructure needs, N.C. lawmakers advance $1.9 billion school construction bond

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 14:55

Calling it a “Band-Aid” for North Carolina’s mounting school construction needs, state House lawmakers on a key K-12 panel advanced bipartisan legislation Tuesday that calls for a $1.9 billion school construction bond referendum next fall. House Bill 866 passed with support from Republicans and Democrats in the House Education Committee, a rarity in the polarized state ...

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South Carolina passes EITC, but we can do better

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 14:24

Last week South Carolina lawmakers established a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which makes them the 27th state to do so. The state EITC finally happened when legislators raised the state’s gas tax for the first time in nearly 30 years to raise some much-needed transportation revenue. The drawback of gas taxes is that they’re ...

The post South Carolina passes EITC, but we can do better appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

Gov. Cooper pledges to issue ‘comprehensive’ executive order protecting LGBTQ individuals

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 12:15

Gov. Roy Cooper told a group of people at the Center for American Progress’ Ideas Conference in Washington D.C. that he plans to issue an executive order to increase protections for the LGBTQ community in North Carolina, according to The Huffington Post. “I’m going to issue an executive order pretty soon that is comprehensive, that ...

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North Carolina’s productivity is slowing, lagging behind much of the South

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 09:48

Last week, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released the latest data on economic growth measured by the production of goods and services for all 50 states.  North Carolina’s annual growth rate of 1.6 percent ranked the state 19th in the country.  This was below other Southeastern states (1.8 percent) and slightly above the national average ...

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Tillis: Preexisting condition issue “pretty important” but should be left up to the states (i.e. Phil Berger)

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 07:30

North Carolina senator Thom Tillis has a not terribly encouraging take on Trumpcare and the prospect of repealing the vital guarantee in the Affordable Care Act that Americans cannot be denied health insurance because of a preexisting condition: he wants to leave the matter up to Phil Berger. That’s the only conclusion one an draw ...

The post Tillis: Preexisting condition issue “pretty important” but should be left up to the states (i.e. Phil Berger) appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

NCGOP expects legislature to resurrect “monster” voting law ‘in an acceptable fashion’

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 16:34

North Carolina’s GOP Chairman Robin Hayes is confident the legislature will move “very quickly” to pass a new law that reflects the “monster” voting bill’s premise. The U.S. Supreme Court decided today that it would not take on an appeal to reinstate the omnibus voter law, which would require an identification to vote, reduce early ...

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Former DPI finance chief: Senate budget would “totally destroy” capacity at NC’s public school agency

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 14:48

The recently-retired finance chief of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction says a state Senate-approved $22.9 billion budget would cripple the agency’s ability to provide support and guidance for public school districts. “The cut proposed in the Senate budget would totally destroy the ability of the (DPI) to deliver’s what’s legislatively required of them to do ...

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NC Senate budget strips food assistance from children and families

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 13:56

As we wrote about last week, the Senate budget seeks to permanently prevent North Carolina from providing food assistance to low-income families with children through a process known as broad-based categorical eligibility (CAT EL). A special data request to the Department of Health and Human Services finds that eliminating CAT EL would strip food assistance ...

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Budget expert: Senate underfunds higher education needs as state continues to grow (video)

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 13:32

If you missed it over the weekend, be sure to check out our interview with Budget & Tax Center analyst Cedric Johnson as he outlines the shortcomings of the state Senate’s budget plan. Johnson sat down with NC Policy Watch’s Chris Fitzsimon to discuss where the funding comes up short as the state House works ...

The post Budget expert: Senate underfunds higher education needs as state continues to grow (video) appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

The 1% non-solution: NC needs much more federal aid to rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Matthew

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 11:44

Last week, we learned the Trump administration will provide just $6.1 million to North Carolina to support the rebuilding of communities and address the damage to farms, main street businesses, and homes in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. This is a mere 1 percent of the request made to the federal government and a rounding ...

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BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Court will not review North Carolina’s “monster” voting law; law remains struck down

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 09:57

The U.S. Supreme Court will not take on an appeal to reinstate North Carolina’s “monster” voting law, which was struck down by a lower court because it was passed with intent to racially discriminate against African American voters. The case is North Carolina v. North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP and the Fourth Circuit ...

The post BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Court will not review North Carolina’s “monster” voting law; law remains struck down appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

The Senate’s breathtaking, vexing, contradictory cuts to NC DEQ’s budget

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 09:30

This is the first in a series of stories about the ramifications of Senate budget cuts to the NC Department of Environmental Quality. When Michael Regan, the affable secretary of the NC Department of Environmental Quality, faced Senate confirmation in March, he encountered neither rancor nor opposition from conservative lawmakers known for their agnostic, if sometimes ...

The post The Senate’s breathtaking, vexing, contradictory cuts to NC DEQ’s budget appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

Most important editorial of the weekend: It’s time to consider impeachment

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 07:30

The newspaper of record in North Carolina’s largest city said that it’s time to consider impeaching the President of the United State this weekend. In “Is Trump just embarrassing, or now dangerous?” an editorial in the Charlotte Observer took this momentous step. In noting that Trump all but admitted his obstruction of justice in firing ...

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Early morning Senate budget changes head to House, further controversy

Sun, 05/14/2017 - 09:23

In the wake of the final Senate budget vote at after 3 a.m. on Friday even many Senators weren’t sure about the contents of the hastily-passed, heavily amended budget they sent to the N.C. House. But some of those highly partisan changes – included stripping education funding from some Democratic senators’ districts, cutting arts and ...

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On Mother’s Day: Remember Medicaid works for women – but proposed cuts would have a harsh, disproportionate impact

Sun, 05/14/2017 - 05:00

This weekend we celebrate Mother’s Day. Next week we celebrate National Women’s Health Week. The fact is women play an important role in society every day and one thing we can always do for them is support them in having adequate health care. Currently, more than 40 million women and girls are enrolled in Medicaid. ...

The post On Mother’s Day: Remember Medicaid works for women – but proposed cuts would have a harsh, disproportionate impact appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

More on the choices made (and not made) in the final Senate budget

Sun, 05/14/2017 - 02:44

By now, readers here have likely seen the News & Observers reporting on Amendment 15 to the Senate budget bill from Senator Brent Jackson that was passed in the early hours of the morning and is included in the final budget.  This Amendment uses surgical precision to carve out funding for certain communities—for educational and ...

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How we ought to honor mothers this weekend

Sat, 05/13/2017 - 09:00

As a mother and also a daughter, each year I try to think of something unique that will celebrate my deserving mother and friend. As a health care advocate engaging communities and policymakers, today I’m thinking of the mothers in our state who have serious health care access and coverage concerns. This week in Greenville, ...

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The Senate budget poses a very real threat to helping people in need

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 17:05

The North Carolina Senate budget passed early this morning has been analyzed for its investments and how far short they fall of the needs in communities.  What has been missed, however, are the changes that would be made under the Senate budget that would put families in our state one catastrophe away from accessing health ...

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The week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 16:00

1. The Senate budget: unwise tax breaks, petty partisan attacks, and inadequate investments Senate leaders are trying hard to convince people that their anemic budget proposal moves the state forward by making big new investments in education and providing a middle class tax cut for most North Carolinians. The numbers tell a much different story. ...

The post The week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch appeared first on The Progressive Pulse.

Changes to child tax credit in Senate budget hurts middle class taxpayers

Fri, 05/12/2017 - 15:00

The Senate’s budget includes costly tax cuts that proponents claim are targeted towards middle class taxpayers. The tax cuts will cost $324 million for the upcoming fiscal year and will balloon to more than $800 million within five years. Rather than targeting middle class taxpayers, the proposed tax cuts largely benefit the highest income earners ...

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