NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 8 min 36 sec ago

The Obama administration just helped out 425,000 working North Carolinians

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 15:32
A statement from the Justice Center summarizes: In a huge win for workers, new federal overtime rule raises wages for 156,000 salaried North Carolinians New USDOL rules raises overtime threshold from $23,660 to $47,476, covers 425,000 workers The U.S. Department of Labor released long-awaited rules today that will allow 425,000 salaried workers in North Carolina ...

New report says high-poverty, racially-isolated schools on the rise nationwide

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 13:03
In March, we reported on the growing racial divisions in some of North Carolina’s largest school districts. It seems the problem is not limited to North Carolina. A new report from a federal government agency says racially-polarized, economically segregated schools are on the rise nationwide. As Education Week reported Tuesday, the percentage of schools primarily serving ...

Missed Opportunities: Investments that are MIA in the preliminary House budget

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 11:58
Deep tax cuts, the pursuit of additional costly tax cuts, and an arbitrary spending limit are preventing House leadership from proposing a bold, visionary state budget for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year, as I explained yesterday. Once accounting for these three limitations, there are few public dollars available for anything else after the House budget ...

The “genius” of the market: For-profit colleges are ripping off NC students, targeting African-Americans

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 10:26
In case you missed it, the good folks at the Center for Responsible Lending released a powerful new report recently highlighting the destructive impact that scammers in the for-profit college industry are inflicting on thousands of students they’re supposed to be helping. This is from a summary prepared by co-author Whitney Barkley: High costs, low ...

HB2 update: Still more cancellations and more details on the law’s disturbing reach

Wed, 05/18/2016 - 07:30
The toll taken by HB2 continues to grow and radiate destructively through North Carolinas’s already fragile economy. One of the world’s greatest musicians added his name to the list of people who could not in good conscience perform in our increasingly isolated and ostracized state yesterday. This is from the statement issued by violinist Itzhak ...

House budget proposal would reduce residency requirements for teachers in state’s virtual charters

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 16:00
Last week, we wrote about one key provision in the N.C. House budget proposal which would ease dropout requirements for virtual charter schools, online schools run by for-profit operators that have been besieged by withdrawals in their opening months this year. The special provision (which you can find on page 18 of the House education committee’s ...

House education budget, including modest raises for most teachers, getting a tepid reaction

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 14:55
Throughout the day, leaders in the House budget committee have been hammering out the details of their proposed $22.2 billion spending plan that, notably, includes a revised salary schedule directing raises toward some of the state’s more experienced teachers (see page 31 of these proposed committee substitutes here). The News & Observer‘s Colin Campbell offered a pretty thorough explanation ...

NC’s middle class shrinking faster than all but two states; metro areas tell the tale

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 13:47
State leaders and their apologists/enablers in the right-wing think tanks keep trying to spin the tale of a “Carolina Comeback,” but the data (along with the eyes and ears of anyone who will use them) tell a vastly different story. As the latest edition of Prosperity Watch from the Budget and Tax Center reports: The ...

Editorial: Guv needs to put clean water and public health first for families affected by coal ash chemicals

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 12:29
In case you missed it, this morning’s lead editorial in the Greensboro News & Record hits a home run with its take on the abysmal ongoing performance of the McCrory administration in protecting citizens from water polluted with coal ash chemicals — a take that echoes the conclusions in this morning’s edition of the Weekly ...

Follow the money: The House’s budget doubles down on tax cuts and leaves nearly $127.4 million on the table

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 09:51
The $22.225 billion budget proposal that the state House of Representatives released for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year reflects the limited aspirations for North Carolina that the House and Senate leadership have agreed on. Legislative leadership used a flawed formula to set a low budget target — even lower than the Governor’s $22.33 billion proposal ...

The truth about Pat McCrory and “dialogue”

Tue, 05/17/2016 - 08:09
If there’s been a most maddening aspect to the debate surrounding HB2 over the last two months, it has to be the repeated calls from Gov. Pat McCrory for “dialogue and discussion rather than protests.” It’s hard to know where to begin in responding to such an inane stance, but here are a few points ...

Statement on House Budget from Alexandra Sirota, Budget and Tax Center

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 20:45
When it comes to building prosperity in North Carolina, the House has sets its sights even lower than the Governor’s already limited budget. The House decision to use an arbitrary, flawed formula to determine spending won’t meet the needs of communities and families across the state. The phase-in over the next three years of another ...

Today’s “must read” – ECU chancellor-elect resigned Georgia Senate leadership position in aftermath of weird email scandal

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 16:07
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out reporter Billy Ball’s rather remarkable story about the new chancellor-elect at East Carolina University, former Georgia politician, Cecil Staton: “ECU chancellor-elect brings complicated, political past to new role.” Not only was Staton at one time a champion of controversial voter ID laws, he also resigned from ...

Gaining one spot in teacher pay rankings is nothing for NC to celebrate

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 14:20
North Carolina continues to tread water when it comes to ensuring our teachers can make ends meet, merely inching up the national rankings for average teacher pay this year compared to last year, from 42nd to 41st, according to a recently released report by the National Education Association. North Carolina may have moved up a ...

BREAKING: ACLU and Lambda Legal ask court for immediate relief for transgender people in HB 2 lawsuit

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 12:41
As is explained below, there’s been another very hopeful development in the HB2 saga. Let’s hope the motion is granted promptly. Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, the national American Civil Liberties Union, and Lambda Legal filed a motion for a preliminary injunction asking the court to stop the enforcement of the ...

HB2 hypocrisy alert: What NC officials would be doing if they really cared about child sexual abuse

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 10:27
In what may have been the best HB2 op-ed of the weekend, Ned Barnett of Raleigh’s News & Observer takes North Carolina elected officials to task for their blatant hypocrisy on the subject that is the supposed impetus for HB2: protecting children from sexual abuse. Here’s Barnett: “North Carolina’s Republican leaders say the negative publicity ...

Health activist Leslie Boyd schools McCrory: if only he’d listened

Mon, 05/16/2016 - 07:31
In case you missed it over the weekend, North Carolina health activist and past contributor to this blog, Leslie Boyd of Asheville, got a chance to have brief conversation with Gov. McCrory recently about, among other things, his opposition to expanding Medicaid. Boyd, as you may recall, has dedicated the last several years of her ...

House Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources budget largely sticks with the status quo

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 16:58
The House committee that sets the budget for Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources (ANER) released its budget yesterday. Like most parts of the House budget, tax cuts over the past several years have severely limited our ability to invest. While the House did include additional funds for a few specific priorities, the overall budget ...

Initial review of the House’s General Government budget

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 14:02
Budget subcommittees met yesterday to go over their respective proposals for the upcoming 2017 Fiscal year. House leadership is not expected to release their full budget, tax, and compensation package until next week. General Government This area of the state budget funds 17 state agencies and offices that are tasked with operating government efficiently and ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 05/13/2016 - 14:00
1. The NC Chamber comes clean about its cynical opportunism on HB2 Ever since North Carolina lawmakers and Governor Pat McCrory rammed through North Carolina’s new all-purpose discrimination law (HB2) in just a handful of hours on March 23, there has been widespread speculation about the motives and role in the whole affair of North ...

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