NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Affecting NC public policy through informed, energetic and progressive conversations.
Updated: 26 min 39 sec ago

Helping Our 3rd Graders

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 14:21
There is no doubt that ensuring that 3rd graders read at grade level or above is a great goal. The recently revised Read to Achieve section of the Excellent Public Schools Act is North Carolina’s way to carry out that goal. Very much like other education policies that North Carolina has adopted (vouchers, repealing Common ...

Caring and Working

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 13:48
A bevy of reports released this week measure aspects of states’ “family friendly” policies show North Carolina has a lot of room for improvement to accommodate the new reality that most working adults are also being squeezed (or hugged) by caregiving responsibilities for their elders, their children, or both. The reports come ahead of the ...

In Medicaid “optional” service does not mean “unnecessary”

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 13:45
In a good conversation with Becki Gray yesterday on News 14 we discussed the different visions for Medicaid reform proposed in the respective budgets of the Governor, House, and Senate. In particular, Gray, who works for the John Locke Foundation, noted that the state has a “rich” benefits package in Medicaid because we offer many ...

Prosperity Watch: Not enough families earning enough to make ends meet

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 12:51
What does it really take to make ends meet in North Carolina? And how many families aren’t able to, despite working full-time? Find out in the latest issue of Prosperity Watch.

Moral Monday priorities cost $7 billion, $10 billion? Not so, BTC expert says

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 12:05
Defenders of the N.C. legislature’s conservative agenda have recently touted reports claiming that implementing the goals of the Moral Monday protest movement would cost anywhere from $7 to $10 billion, a sum of money that would mean a drastic rise in taxes. But that’s not the case, according to Alexandra Forter Sirota, the director of ...

Fast-tracking charter schools

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 12:00
Earlier this week, the Senate approved a bill that would create a fast-track process for successful charter schools wishing to replicate themselves and for charter chains wishing to expand their presence in the state. From the Charlotte Observer’s Ann Doss Helms: The charter bill sponsored by Sens. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, and Bill Cook, R-Beaufort, would require the ...

Final Commerce privatization bill still a bad deal for taxpayers

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 10:29
The unfortunate quest to privatize the state’s business recruitment and job creation efforts took a big step forward yesterday, when the Senate agreed to a House proposal creating a new nonprofit partnership to oversee much of the state’s economic development efforts. This misguided proposal is a bad deal for North Carolina taxpayers, businesses, and workers—schemes ...

Another day, another editorial against proposed car insurance rate scheme

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 09:53
Add the Charlotte Observer to the long and growing list of voices opposed to the disingenuous plan cooked up by a group of insurance companies to get out from under the consumer protection regulation overseen by the state Insurance Commissioner. As this editorial notes this morning: “Currently, auto insurance companies doing business in North Carolina ...

Rep. Dollar told lottery official to keep quiet about flawed House budget

Thu, 06/19/2014 - 09:09
The controversy about the House plan to cynically increase lottery sales to fund teacher pay hikes is getting more troubling every day. Saturday the News & Observer reported that lottery officials sent a memo to key legislative staffers before the House budget vote explaining that the lottery could not raise the amount  of money included in ...

House budget better than Senate on economic development, still falls short of what’s needed

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 16:22
As long as North Carolina’s overall job creation remains anemic and rural regions continue to lag behind the rest of the state, it will be critical to adequately invest in proven economic development strategies like increasing small business lending, supporting development in economically-distressed communities, and strengthening the nexus between cutting edge research and innovative industrial ...

Senate committee approves bill exempting some child care facilities from licensure

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:47
Lawmakers moved a bill forward Wednesday that would exempt some non-public schools offering before and after school child care from obtaining licensure. House Bill 712, which initially dealt with expert witness compensation, was stripped by Sen. Tamara Barringer (R-Wake) and replaced with language that primarily makes changes to the state’s disability voucher program. But the ...

Playing the numbers with teacher raises

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 15:32
State lawmakers haven’t decided if the N.C. Education Lottery will be able to double the number of ads it runs and then use proceeds from increased sales to pay for teacher raises. The House and Senate sides of the Republican-led legislature have stark differences in this year’s budget, and one of the biggest areas of ...

The McCrory-Pope economy

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 14:50
A new report from the experts at the N.C. Budget and Tax Center paints a sobering picture of what the new “recovered” North Carolina economy really means for average people: “North Carolina’s recovery from the Great Recession has been marked by slow job growth and persistent challenges for working families to make ends meet. The ...

New report examines, critiques NC’s weak (and archaic) campaign disclosure laws

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 12:54
This new report is just in from the watchdogs at Democracy North Carolina: “Disclosure Law Shields State Legislators, Donors As the General Assembly debates who should control the State Bureau of Investigation’s ability to probe political corruption, a new study says many state legislators are shielding themselves – and their donors – from scrutiny by ...

NC Congressmen press EPA for stricter coal ash standards

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 11:59
As state legislators work to craft a plan to address the future use and disposal of coal ash, a group of congressmen is pushing the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to enact stricter standards and enforcement of the toxic substance. Congressmen G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) and David Price (NC-04) write in a letter released ...

Deadline extension means more NC kids can arrive to class ready to learn

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 09:29
Local schools in North Carolina have more time to decide whether they will adopt a universal school meal program for the upcoming school year. Eligible schools now have until August 31, 2014 to decide whether to adopt community eligibility – the initial deadline was June 30, 2014. As I‘ve highlighted previously, the Community Eligibility Program ...

Charlotte radio host on lottery proposal and “downright nutty words”

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 09:01
ICYMI, Keith Larson of WBT radio in Charlotte has an entertaining post in the Charlotte Observer on the House lottery scheme entitled “Some of the nuttiest words I’ve typed in 12 years here.” As Larson notes: “House Republicans want to give teachers their raise by doubling the advertising budget for the so-called Education Lottery. Yes, I ...

McCrory refuses to endorse his own view of lottery advertising

Wed, 06/18/2014 - 07:37
Governor Pat McCrory apparently is not willing to agree publicly with himself.  The Associated Press reports that McCrory “declined to say whether he believes raising lottery advertising expenses to get more money is a good idea, saying he won’t negotiate through the press.” The House budget cynically increases the lottery advertising budget to raise more money in ...

Government and vouchers: Not what they seem

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 14:59
Today, there are several adults and children in the legislative building wearing T-shirts with the logo of Parents for Educational Freedom of North Carolina and the words “Lift the Cap on Opportunity Scholarships.” It is great when students get to see how government works. Rather than the excitement of floor debates (although, they would have ...

The Tools To Succeed

Tue, 06/17/2014 - 12:48
We use tools to fix things. Just like you’d use literal tools to improve your house, we all use metaphorical tools to improve our lives. Money is a tool. You would expect a fabulously wealthy technology executive turned venture capitalist to understand this. You might not expect said one-percenter to shout it from a media ...