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Reports: Mercedes Benz bypasses the Triangle, bound for Atlanta

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 12:02
Multiple published reports indicate that Mercedes-Benz will select Georgia over North Carolina this afternoon for the relocation of its corporate headquarters. The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports: Mercedez-Benz will announce plans today to relocate its U.S. headquarters to Atlanta — a move that would create 1,000 jobs. The relocation of the German luxury automaker would be ...

Online commenters skewer Sue Myrick over her new lobbying gig

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 10:27
The phenomenon of former politicians cashing in as lobbyists is a time-honored (if almost always odoriferous) tradition in the U.S. Sometimes, however, one has to admit that the pairing of the pol and the special interest is a made-in-heaven match. And so it is with former Congresswoman Sue Myrick (who is also the mother of ...

Former lawmaker celebrates spread, deregulation of guns in NC

Tue, 01/06/2015 - 09:46
It’s a testament to just how far we have to go in this state — a place in which innocent people are shot and killed on what seems like an almost daily basis — when reasonably intelligent people write lengthy and celebratory blog posts about the long list of ways in which state lawmakers have ...

Court documents: Former N.C. Rep. LaRoque wanted to “make heads roll” over indictment

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 16:24
Stephen LaRoque, the former state representative from Kinston facing charges of stealing from a federally-funded non-profit, warned that he would seek revenge shortly after his 2012 indictment, according to recently filed court documents. LaRoque, a Republican from Kinston, is facing a dozen charges related to $300,000 that federal prosecutors contend he took from an economic ...

Getting to know new State Board of Education member Eric C. Davis

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 14:12
Last month, Governor Pat McCrory tapped Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board member Eric C. Davis to replace outgoing State Board of Education member Marce Savage, who left her post in the wake of a controversy over her spending of state funds. N.C. Policy Watch talked with Davis this week to learn more about his background and his ...

Same-sex marriages begin in Florida

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 12:55
Color the state of Florida red in the maps above, as a state court judge in Miami-Dade County today allowed gay and lesbian couples to marry there.  The judge’s action followed an August 21 federal court ruling striking down the state’s same-sex marriage ban, a decision which the U.S. Supreme Court subsequently refused to stay. That makes 36 ...

Damage of tax cuts in states including NC calls major tenets of trickle-down economics into question

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 11:05
In 2015, many conservative state lawmakers across the country are retreating from the long-held belief that cutting taxes will generate more revenue and spur economic growth. Kansas, Wisconsin, and, yes, North Carolina along with Arthur Laffer, in their efforts to put into practice the flawed theories of trickle-down economics, have created more problems than improvements, ...

Same old lousy numbers for a New Year

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 09:01
Be sure to check out Chris Fitzsimon’s “Monday Numbers” column this morning. It will quickly disabuse you of any notion that North Carolina’s hard turn to the political right has been helpful to the state’s key indicators of success. For instance: 1.1 billion—amount in dollars of the latest estimate of cost of the 2013 tax ...

GOP maps: Both cynical and self-destructive

Mon, 01/05/2015 - 07:30
In case you missed it yesterday, take a couple of minutes this morning to read Ned Barnett’s fine essay in the Sunday edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer in which he: a) skewers the lame claims of state redistricting bosses Robert Rucho and David Lewis that the N&O is motivated by partisan goals in editorializing (for ...

Legislative website gets a new look for the New Year

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 12:59
Just in time for the 2015 legislative session, the official web site of the North Carolina General Assembly has been given a face lift. The redesigned site makes it easier for North Carolinians to follow chamber activity, stay up-to-date on committee meetings, and communicate with House and Senate members. Below are four features that political ...

NC Policy Watch’s top ten editorial cartoons of 2014

Fri, 01/02/2015 - 09:18
We’re just a few days away from John Cole’s first editorial cartoon for the New Year! Until then, enjoy ten of John’s best Cole-toons from 2014:  

The story of 2014 was the tax plan passed in 2013

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 11:23
Recent media coverage of the mounting cost of the tax plan highlights the story of 2014. This story began in 2013 with the decision by policymakers to cut taxes for the wealthy and profitable corporations and will likely reach its climax in 2015. How policymakers choose to address the revenue crisis — through more cuts to ...

NC Policy Watch’s Top Stories of 2014

Thu, 01/01/2015 - 09:56
As we ring in the New Year and say goodbye to 2014, we thought it only appropriate to take a look back at some NC Policy Watch’s top stories over the past 12 months. We hope you will enjoy them and feel inspired to participate in the state policy debate in 2015:   The looming ...

Checking in on the American Dream

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 13:54
While swinging from one crisis to the next for the last several years, we have often lost sight of some long-term trends that we can’t ignore forever. For the last several decades, the United States has been growing apart, not together. The middle class has been contracting, rising out of poverty remains difficult, and parents ...

Will 2015 bring a shift in the power dynamic between McCrory and top legislators? (Audio)

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 10:10
This weekend on NC Policy Watch’s weekly radio show – News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon – we take a look back at the top stories and newsmakers of 2014. Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling is among our guest offering a few predictions for the New Year. Click below to hear a preview of ...

As New Year dawns, North Carolina workers fall further behind

Wed, 12/31/2014 - 10:01
More than three-million Americans will get a raise tomorrow thanks to common sense new laws in 20 states. Not surprisingly, North Carolinians will not be on the list. This is from a post this morning at Think Progress: On January 1, 20 states will raise their minimum wages, while one — New York — will ...

The Many Economies of North Carolina

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 16:36
Talking about a single North Carolina “economy” doesn’t make very much sense. Whenever new labor market data comes out, there is talk about how the North Carolina economy , or the US economy, or the global economy, are doing. The macroeconomic perspective is important, and talking in broad terms is convenient, but the economy is ...

All NC counties dropped unemployment rates over year, but jobs still not at pre-Recession levels (with list of all counties)

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 12:56
Many North Carolina counties are seeing steady drops in their unemployment rates, while a fifth of the counties saw unemployment rates climb in November from the prior month, according to county-level jobs numbers released by the N.C. Commerce Department’s Labor and Economics Division. This month’s results (scroll down to see county rankings) show that all ...

The “Brownback effect” in North Carolina

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 11:50
A Politico story the day after Christmas discussed the “Brownback effect,” the change in some of the most radical tax-cutting rhetoric from Republicans across the country, thanks to the disaster that is the state budget in Kansas after Governor Sam Brownback’s massive tax reductions forced devastating cuts and a downgrading of the state’s credit rating, ...

Twelve charts that tell the real story of North Carolina’s economy at year’s end

Tue, 12/30/2014 - 10:23
New from the good people at the Budget and Tax Center: Five years into the official economic recovery, there were signs of a strengthening recovery in North Carolina albeit uneven and insufficient to deliver improved economic well-being broadly. The result is far too many North Carolinians remain without jobs or working for low-wages. Poverty levels ...