NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 29 min ago

Building a solvent unemployment insurance system

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 08:36
The lessons of the past should help us make better choices in the future. North Carolina’s history of unemployment insurance changes provide one clear lesson:  cutting taxes for employers in good times can lead to serious harm in the long-term. A bill moving to the floor tomorrow that makes changes to the unemployment insurance system ...

Troubled souls with guns

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 07:24
The unspeakable tragedy in Chapel Hill this week appears to be causing some important community soul searching about hate crimes and whether the victims were targeted because of their faith. Let’s hope and pray that, in the end, this leads to productive dialogue that further breaks down the walls between people of different religions, races ...

Solution to looming teacher shortage: Higher pay

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 15:58
A post today at the website Higher Education Works neatly cuts through the b.s. today on the issue of what North Carolina must do to address the shortage of quality schoolteachers – now and in the future: Commentary: Teacher shortage? Pay them. North Carolina faces a looming crisis – a shortage of teachers. But putting ...

Vigil for slain Muslim American students in Chapel Hill, Charlotte

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 12:25
By now, you’ve probably heard about the murders of three Muslim American students from UNC Chapel Hill and N.C. State. If not, here is the background story from WNCN: http://www.wncn.com/story/28075915/shooting-reported-in-chapel-hill There are calls over social media for donations to charities for which these students volunteered. A vigil will be held 7 p.m. tonight at the ...

A whole lot of numbers converging on one truth

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 12:22
The flood of numbers associated with the state’s tax collections has created growing confusion.  However, what should not get lost in this confusion is that those numbers all converge on one truth: the tax plan passed in 2013 costs more than was originally projected and is likely to hamper our state’s ability to reinvest as ...

Gas tax plan to provide much needed resources for infrastructure, yet changes are needed to current proposal

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 11:42
North Carolina must reform the way it raises revenue for transportation. The existing funding structures are inadequate for addressing current and future transportation needs across the state. The Governor proposed bonding against future tax revenue to meet these needs while the Senate appears poised to push through changes to the gas tax. The bottom line ...

Records show millions more taxpayer dollars released to private schools in North Carolina through school voucher program

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 11:40
More than $4,000,000 worth of taxpayer-funded school vouchers have now been paid out to private schools subject to virtually no state oversight in North Carolina, according to records obtained by N.C. Policy Watch. Documents released by the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority show that five private schools have now received at least $100,000 in ...

Hypocrisy alert: General Assembly holds annual “food drive” even as it demonizes the poor

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 11:03
As Chris Fitzsimon aptly noted last Thanksgiving, there are few things more maddening in the world of state politics than the spectacle of lawmakers piously calling for donations to help the poor even as they enact and defend new policies to do precisely the opposite. Yet, here we are again today, watching as state legislative ...

Economic “comeback” in NC? Not when it comes to the wages real people are bringing home

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 10:03
In case you missed it, economist Patrick McHugh at the Budget and Tax Center, poked some new and truck-sized holes yesterday in the glowing tale of a “Carolina Comeback” that continues to be spun by state leaders. As McHugh reports, worker wages remain stuck in the mud even as corporate profits soar: A strong recovery ...

More bad fiscal news as NC’s tax cuts for the rich continue to take their toll

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 08:05
As the fiscal wonks at the N.C. Budget and Tax Center have repeatedly warned us would happen, the 2013 tax cuts (which went overwhelmingly to the rich and large, profitable corporations) continue to wreak havoc with the North Carolina state budget. As WRAL.com reported late last night, a new memo to lawmakers from the legislature’s ...

The Constitutional Challenge to School Vouchers (full video)

Wed, 02/11/2015 - 05:56
On Tuesday,February 17th, lawyers on both sides of the school voucher argument will appear before the state Supreme Court to make their respective cases. NC Justice Center staff attorney Christine Bischoff shares the background and current status of the constitutional challenge. Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Ward, a lead plaintiff in the case ...

Politico: Education behemoth Pearson reaps millions from no-bid public education contracts (including NC)

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 16:17
Politico’s Stephanie Simon published an investigative report today looking into the business dealings of British education giant Pearson, finding that the company’s success is due in part to negotiating lucrative no-bid contracts with public education agencies around the country — including one with North Carolina. The investigation found that public officials often commit to buying from ...

ICYMI: SEANC’s Dana Cope facing tough questions from N&O about purchases (Update, with Cope resignation)

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 11:56
UPDATE, 2:20 p.m.: Dana Cope resigned Tuesday afternoon from his position with SEANC, saying he had “blurred the lines between my personal life and my professional life,” according to WRAL. For those who may have missed it, the News & Observer published an investigation this weekend detailing some questionable spending that’s gone at the State ...

As committees heat up, General Assembly website goes dark

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 09:51
One hopes and presumes it’s a coincidence, but it sure is strange that the longtime General Assembly website (www.ncleg.net) disappeared this morning just as legislative committees started to meet. For some weird reason, the General Assembly is now back at it’s old and rather archaic address www.ncga.state.nc.us. In addition, some of the links on the ...

Public school teacher explains why he’ll be marching this Saturday

Tue, 02/10/2015 - 08:05
With the ninth annual Moral March on Raleigh/HK on J set for this Saturday, this morning’s Weekly Briefing attempts to remind readers of the enormous similarities between the civil rights movement of the 20th Century and today’s movement for justice in North Carolina. If you’re wavering on whether to attend, the piece may provide an ...

What North Carolina could be doing to ensure jobless North Carolinians get back to work

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 13:49
There is a lot more that North Carolina policymakers could be doing to ensure that the state’s jobless workers get back to work. Despite the improving economy there remain too few people employed across the country and in North Carolina relative to pre-recession levels. And the changing nature of work characterized most clearly by the ...

Dean Smith: Another reason why inclusion in the Pope-Civitas “Map of the Left” is a badge of honor

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 13:31
I didn’t attend UNC and had only lived in North Carolina for a year when Coach Dean Smith won his final NCAA championship in 1993. I do have two daughters who are both Chapel Hill grads, but save for that and my admiration/appreciation for the school, any connections to Coach Smith that I have ever ...

Tipping their hands on same-sex marriage?

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 12:38
This morning, a majority of the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block same-sex marriages in Alabama pending the high court’s decision on the constitutionality of similar marriage bans in other states — making Alabama the 37th state in which such marriages are permitted. The court is scheduled to hear cases out of Michigan, ...

Teach for America now has a recruitment problem

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 11:40
Fewer college grads are flocking to Teach for America. The New York Times reported last week that the embattled teacher training program, to which the North Carolina General Assembly has chosen to funnel millions of taxpayer dollars at great expense of the soon-to-be-defunct yet highly praised N.C. Teaching Fellows program, saw a ten percent drop in ...

Rep. Stam admits he doesn’t understand Medicaid expansion that he opposes

Mon, 02/09/2015 - 09:30
Rep. Paul Stam was bellowing about the evils of expanding Medicaid on WRAL-TV’s On the Record this weekend. He claimed that every dollar the federal government spends on expansion is being borrowed from the Chinese, which a WRAL fact check story showed to be ridiculous. He also said that we don’t need to expand the ...

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