NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Stories and voice that matter | A blog from NC Policy Watch
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Former Wilmington mayor: “We’re here to express our outrage” over GenX contamination in drinking water, Cape Fear

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 13:46

J ust steps outside the door of the Coastline Conference Center in Wilmington, the Cape Fear River moseys on its last 35 miles of its journey to the Atlantic Ocean. But the 300-plus people inside the conference center no longer trust the Cape Fear as their source of clean drinking water. GenX, an unregulated contaminant, ...

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Price tag for tax cuts in final budget tells half the story

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 12:26

The Locke Foundation was having fun with math yesterday in an effort to defend a fiscally irresponsible package of tax cuts in the final budget lawmakers are close to approving. Why? because—wait for it—they would like you to think they haven’t just given another green light to tax cuts that further pump up the gains ...

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NC government will give $300K in public funds to religious anti-abortion advocacy group

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:21

It’s bad enough that North Carolina lawmakers are preparing to give a bunch of money to so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” that mislead women by implying that they provide actual health care when their entire mission is to convince them to carry their pregnancies to term, no matter what the circumstances of the pregnancy or health ...

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Standards and accountability lose as earmarks proliferate in budget deal

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 16:44

By a conservative count, there are over $32 million in earmarked special projects funded in the conference budget being debated this week. After years of railing against patronage and backroom deals, House and Senate leadership have suddenly become big fans of earmarking funds for legislator’s pet projects back home. This list of projects is just ...

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Ashe County sheriff investigates employees for trying to fulfill public info requests

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 15:25

Ashe County Sheriff Terry Buchanan is investigating three employees for trying to fulfill a public records request for text messages from his county-issued phone. From a report from WBTV: The request was the subject of a nearly ten-minute rant by Buchanan at a commissioners meeting in mid-April, weeks after the request was submitted. “We don’t ...

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Final budget a mixed bag of give, take, and disregard for courts and public safety

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:30

The final budget released by state leaders this week includes a mixed bag of give, take, and neglect in regards to public investments that promote safe and healthy communities. At the same time that public investments are made for particular initiatives of interest, lawmakers cut state funding and totally neglect boosting public investments in other ...

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Failed tax-cut experiment will continue under final budget agreement, pushes fiscal reckoning down the line

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:45

The final budget agreement from leaders of the House and Senate puts North Carolina on precarious fiscal footing in the second-half of the second fiscal year of the two-year budget and beyond.  The tax changes that leaders agreed to—which were less a compromise and more of a decision to combine the tax cuts in both ...

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More bad environmental news in the budget: Clean Water Management Trust Fund takes an 18% hit

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 11:19

At first glance the budget line item for the Clean Water Management Trust Fund looks generous by this legislature’s standards: $18 million. But the legislature’s largesse was not so large. The appropriation is down 18 percent from 2016, when lawmakers appropriated $22.4 million to the trust fund.  Gov. Roy Cooper included $25 million in his budget ...

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North Carolina’s leaders are abandoning the victims of Hurricane Matthew

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 10:00

If you have been following North Carolina’s response to the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew, then you know it has been a slow and, at times, disappointing process. If not, here’s a refresher: On Oct. 8, 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall on North Carolina. The resulting flooding impacted 50 counties in the Eastern part of ...

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Final budget delivers hits to legal services, emergency judges, Department of Justice

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 09:00

It’s only been a little over 24 hours since the North Carolina General Assembly introduced its final budget and its already well on its way to a House vote after passing the Senate on Tuesday. There is plenty to read in the 438-page document and plenty to get confused about. Below are a few highlights ...

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Editorial: A “train wreck” of a state budget

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 07:00

The lead editorial in the Fayetteville Observer tells it like it is this morning about the budget agreement produced by Republican leaders at the General Assembly. The editorial is entitled “A state budget that will become a train wreck.” Here are some excerpts: “Gov. Roy Cooper says the budget just unveiled in the General Assembly ...

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WATCH: Senator criticize lag-time in getting NC teacher-pay to the national average, continued support for vouchers

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 05:00

Legislative Republicans are praising the $23 Billion budget that passed its first reading in the Senate Tuesday night. But state Senator Gladys Robinson says in a surplus year, the General Assembly could have done much better by educators. The Guilford County lawmaker noted that legislators could have helped teachers reach the national average in pay ...

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NC General Assembly’s joint budget falls $188.7 million short of Governor’s proposal for promoting the health of North Carolinians

Wed, 06/21/2017 - 01:30

The N.C. House and Senate have released their joint budget deal and the numbers don’t lie: NC’s Department of Health and Human Services will receive $93.7 million less next year than what the Governor proposed back in March. Over the next two years, the gap is $188.7 million. This significant gap in funding for a ...

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After DEQ starts water sampling, Chemours announces it will eliminate GenX from discharge into the Cape Fear

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 17:43

Beginning tomorrow, the Chemours company will “capture, remove, and safely dispose of wastewater” that contains the byproduct GenX generated at its manufacturing plant in Fayetteville. The company announced late this afternoon that it would eliminate discharge containing GenX into the Cape Fear River, a drinking water supply. GenX has been detected in the Cape Fear ...

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Final budget fails to strengthen the foundation of North Carolina’s public schools

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 16:22

The final budget that lawmakers have proposed fails to strengthen the foundation of North Carolina’s public schools. While the public schools area of the budget seems to have a lot going on – one could argue that a lot of special pet projects made it into the final budget – the reality is that little ...

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DEQ budget still meager, cuts 16.75 jobs, but includes money for pet projects

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 14:30

The spirit of George Orwell must have been hovering over House and Senate conferees when they drafted the state environmental budget. “Reorganization through Reduction” is the very gentle term budget writers used to tell NC Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan to do a very dirty job: Find $1.9 million in savings over two ...

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Gov. Cooper: “It may be the most fiscally irresponsible budget I’ve ever seen.”

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 13:35

Gov. Roy Cooper will push for both Democrats and Republicans to vote against the state budget proposed by legislative leaders this week. “It may be the most fiscally irresponsible budget I’ve ever seen,” Cooper said in a press conference Tuesday. Cooper said the compromise version of the budget released late Monday was worse than either ...

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N.C.’s compromise budget: Teacher pay raises, voucher boom, DPI cuts, school grading and more

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 13:00

North Carolina state lawmakers unveiled a compromise budget package Monday that bundles a new round of teacher pay raises amid steep cuts for the state’s top K-12 agency and support for school choice favorites like vouchers and education savings accounts. The $23 billion spending plan is expected to move swiftly through the legislature. State senators ...

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