NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 2 hours 25 min ago

Senate takes secrecy to new level

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 12:47
As Chris Fitzsimon noted this morning, the lack of sunlight and opportunity for public input on a new round of tax cuts currently under construction in the state Senate is truly outrageous. Now there’s more news on the black hole that is the Senate in this story by Mark Binker at WRAL.com entitled: “Crucial legislation ...

Renowned poet, civil rights activist Maya Angelou dies in Winston-Salem

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 10:04
Sad news in Winston-Salem today, as the death of poet Maya Angelou was reported. Angelou, 86, a professor at Wake Forest University, died at her Winston-Salem home, according to WGHP (Fox 8) in High Point. From the Fox 8 story: Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines confirmed Angelou was found by her caretaker on Wednesday morning. Angelou’s ...

The math doesn’t add up with proposed tax law change

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 09:49
Yesterday evening, members of the Senate Finance Committee gathered to consider a modified version of House Bill 1050 (HB 1050) which includes repealing the local privilege tax. A repeated claim by proponents of the tax repeal is that additional revenue from the local sales tax – resulting from the tax plan passed last year – ...

Senate to propose a “divide and conquer” budget?

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 08:49
It was North Carolina Thom Tillis who infamously described his political plan for North Carolina as an effort to “divide and conquer” those who opposed the conservative move to repeal much of the progress of the 2oth Century, but this morning it sounds like it will be Tillis’ frequent political nemesis, Senate leader Phil Berger, ...

Senate leaders would rather not hear from you

Wed, 05/28/2014 - 07:04
The WRAL story about the Senate Finance Committee approving another round of tax cuts includes an exchange which summarizes this legislative session so far and the disdain the folks running the General Assembly seem to have for the people they represent. The committee was considering legislation that among other things would cost cities and towns ...

Tax law change further reduces revenue for investment in local communities

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 17:05
The Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to convene at 7 PM tonight to consider a modified version of House Bill 1050 (HB 1050), which includes a provision that would restrict the ability of local governments to manage their budgets and public investments in their respective communities. One provision, among many, within HB 1050 would repeal ...

A “redo” for the Constitution? Some N.C. lawmakers hope so

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 16:35
Among the bills filed at the state legislature today was a resolution that would put North Carolina on a small list of states seeking to reconvene the Constitutional Convention of the States. Yes, that Constitutional Convention. The last time they met was back in 1787. The North Carolina resolution (click here to read) is part ...

Coming-up this evening at the legislature…

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 15:56
The NC House goes into session at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon, you’ll find the chamber’s daily calendar here. Legislation that would exempt possums from North Carolina wildlife laws for eight days out of the year will be back before the  House this evening. House Bill 1131 is intended to preserve Clay County’s New Year’s Eve ...

Tax revenues still lower than where they were six years ago

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 15:43
From poverty to job creation, North Carolina has been slow to bounce back from the Great Recession on the economic front. The storyline is much the same when it comes to tax collections. North Carolina’s tax revenues at the end of 2013 were lower than its previous peak that occured just prior to the economic ...

Five Thirty Eight: Cutting off Federal Unemployment Insurance Benefits Hasn’t Pushed People Back to Work

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 15:32
Last week, the folks at five thirty eight, a non-partisan website dedicated to statistically robust analyses of social, political and economic phenomena led by Nate Silver, released an analysis of claims that unemployment insurance cuts at the national level have been good for the country’s economy and jobless workers. The claims sound eerily familiar to ...

Lawmakers consider more cuts to school bus transportation budget

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 13:20
Members of the House Education Committee considered legislation today that would further reduce funds for school buses in the state, even though local school districts have already dealt with significant cuts to school bus budgets during the past several years. If passed, House Bill 1040 would save the state $19 million in recurring funds over the years, in ...

Hiding the hogs

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 12:32
State senators Andrew Brock, Stan Bingham and Brent Jackson want to keep the locations of piles of dead pigs secret — so much so that they’ve introduced legislation which, if passed, would remove state aerial photographs and GPS coordinates of swine farms from “public records” designation. The impetus for their bill,  SB 762, is the alleged misuse ...

Update on court arguments in the Asheville water system case

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 10:52
As reported here, Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. heard arguments last Friday in the state-versus-local battle over control of the Asheville water system. Per this report on the arguments from the Asheville Citizen-Times, Manning is expected to issue his ruling within the next 30 days. Until then his order enjoining the formation of ...

Economic case for tax cuts rests on shoddy foundation

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 08:00
Tax cuts never live up to the extravagant promises of job creation and economic growth so often made by their supporters, and last year’s tax reductions are unlikely to turn out any differently. The most recent example is Kansas, which enacted massive tax cuts in 2011. Two years later the state has experienced slower job ...

Protesters lauded in editorial, returning to Raleigh at mid-day

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 07:17
This morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer gets it just about exactly right with a full-length  editorial on the return of Moral Monday protesters to the state capital and the conservative legislature’s heavy-handed attempt to muzzle them: “Tuesday, the marchers will return, following Memorial Day. And Republicans may be sure they’ll be back, Monday ...

It’ll be a Moral Tuesday next week

Fri, 05/23/2014 - 14:40
With the General Assembly observing Memorial Day next week, the Forward Together – Moral Mondays protesters will return to Raleigh along with state lawmakers on Tuesday morning the 27th. The event will feature, among other things, a briefing on the numerous regressive actions of the 2013 legislature, direct citizen lobbying by an array of issue-specific ...

Sen. Curtis: no regrets about harsh email to NC teacher, says more than 40 lawmakers agree with him

Fri, 05/23/2014 - 12:00
Earlier this month, Sen. David Curtis (R-Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln) wrote what many regarded as a harsh email in response to a frustrated teacher’s letter to the General Assembly about teacher pay in North Carolina. Curtis’ response to the teacher, who admonished the General Assembly for making false promises to raise teacher pay, included admonishing her for her bad attitude ...

Hearing on Asheville water case today

Fri, 05/23/2014 - 10:59
Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. is hearing arguments this morning on the parties’ motions for judgement in the dispute over the Asheville city water system  - one of a number of turf wars between the state and local authorities arising from the General Assembly’s 2013 long session. (The Charlotte airport and the Dorothea Dix ...

Editorials blast General Assembly’s assault on local government

Fri, 05/23/2014 - 09:11
Blatantly contradicting past passionate positions is nothing new for the current conservative leadership of the General Assembly. Whether it’s the abandonment of their once deep concern for transparency in budgeting or their amnesia when it comes to political gerrymandering,  the folks running the show on Jones Street today can do a “180″ on a supposedly ...

Gerrymandering: Wrong in the past, wrong now

Fri, 05/23/2014 - 07:59
Today’s must-read op-ed comes from Charles Meeker and Richard Vinroot. The former Democratic Raleigh mayor and former Republican Charlotte mayor believe the best way to end polarizing politics is to find a new way to draw our legislative and congressional districts, removing partisan politics from the process. Meeker and Vinroot write in Raleigh’s News & ...

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