NC JUSTICE NEWS: Luncheon with national expert Jared Bernstein + Clean Power Plan for NC + Lawmakers' Top Shortcomings in 2015

January 12, 2016

WHAT'S NEXT FOR NC?: Luncheon with national policy expert Jared Bernstein

Buy your tickets TODAY for a lunch conversation about what's next for North Carolina's economy.

What will it take for North Carolina’s economy to work for everyone not just a few? The state’s economy is recovering along with the nation but there are troubling signs that the expansion is not reaching many in North Carolina.

Join us for a special keynote luncheon address and conversation with national policy expert Jared Bernstein on Thursday, January 21st. The Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities will share his research on the state of the economy, insights into North Carolina’s performance relative to the nation and policy ideas that will improve employment outcomes and support broad economic well-being across the state.

The Budget & Tax Center will also offer a brief presentation on how we can ensure opportunity and prosperity are broadly shared among all North Carolinians.

It's clear that a new approach to our economy is needed. Median incomes and wages continue to fall, costs for the basics are rising and many of the pathways out of poverty or protections for people struggling have been eroded due to tax cuts and flawed policy choices at the state level. Beyond the rhetoric, the facts on the ground demonstrate that North Carolina has not connected all communities and provided opportunities for everyone to be successful in the economy.

"From Recovery to Prosperity: What North Carolina Needs to Build an Economy for All" will be held on Thursday, January 21, at 11:30 a.m. at the McKimmon Center at NC State University, 1101 Gorman Street in Raleigh. Buy your ticket today!

CLEAN POWER PLAN: Voice your support today for a strong CPP for NC

We are working in collaboration with our partners to promote a strong Clean Power Plan (CPP) for NC and we need your help to show our leaders that we need a better plan than what they have proposed!

On August 3, 2015, President Obama and the EPA announced the CPP, a historic step in reducing carbon pollution from power plants, combating climate change, and giving us an opportunity to implement policies in North Carolina that can significantly help low-income utility users.

Each state can develop a plan that incorporates a range of steps to reduce carbon emissions, including energy efficiency measures and renewable energy designed to help low-income communities. Unfortunately, we are concerned that the current plan being offered by North Carolina's State Department of Environmental Quality is not likely to comply with carbon reduction goals required by the EPA and will also fail to take advantage of the opportunity to incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy in ways that benefit North Carolina households struggling to pay high energy bills.

The public comment period for the state's current proposal runs through Friday, January 15. NOW is the chance to show your support for a strong and just state Clean Power Plan.

COMING UP SHORT: Lawmakers' top shortcomings in 2015

At the start of 2016, it is a good time to reflect upon what have lawmakers done in the past year to address poverty. The scourge of poverty that exists in every Tar Heel community demands sustained and systemic attention. Very few lawmakers give people struggling with economic hardship the attention that they deserve—not in policy agendas, not at the policy tables, and not in public speeches.

When it comes to the anti-poverty track record for 2015, policymakers left a lot to be desired. If North Carolina leaders want to build a more inclusive economy, they cannot continue to pursue public policies that deepen economic hardship or push low-income people further into the margins of society. Our economy grows strongest and longest when everyone has access to economic opportunity.

This is particularly important as 2016 sees the the return of a policy that could push some of North Carolina's poorest adults further into material and economic hardship regardless of their efforts to find work. More than 100,000 of the state’s poorest adults face losing federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits this year due to the return of the harsh three-month time limit for childless, non-disabled adults aged 18-49. These adults will lose their food aid after three months if they can’t find a job, job-training program, or volunteer opportunity for 20 hours per week regardless of labor market and economic conditions in their community. This will only further push too many North Carolinians deeper into poverty.

This slideshow documents the top six ways lawmakers came up short in their responses to poverty in 2015. Be sure to also tell us about your 2016 resolutions for North Carolina.

CRUCIAL CONVERSATION: Save the Date! Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling

On Wednesday, January 27, NC Policy Watch will present the first Crucial Conversation luncheon of 2016: A conversation with Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling.

With the 2016 election campaign already well underway and early voting for the upcoming North Carolina primary scheduled to commence March 3, this is an excellent time to get fully up to speed on where things stand and what’s likely to happen. Please join us as we discuss these issues and more with one of America’s premier pollsters, Tom Jensen of Raleigh-based Public Policy Polling.

When: Wednesday January 27, at noon — Box lunches will be available at 11:45 a.m.

Where: Center for Community Leadership Training Room at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St.

Look for the official announcement and your chance to RSVP tomorrow at www.ncpolicywatch.com. Questions? Contact Rob Schofield at 919-861-2065 or rob@ncpolicywatch.com

IMMIGRATION: Discourse makes immigrants punching bags of failed system

Raul Pinto of the NC Justice Center's Immigration & Refugee Rights Project takes on the most recent scapegoating of immigrants here in North Carolina on the Progressive Pulse:

"If we thought that 2015 was a bad year for immigrants living in North Carolina and elsewhere in the U.S., the start of 2016 has not fared much better. Those seeking refuge from persecution, arguably the most vulnerable types of people coming to our country, continue to be scapegoated as threats of terrorism by local elected officials; most recently Durham County Sheriff Mike Andrews. Additionally, the Obama administration announced a series of raids to start the new year targeting Central American families who entered the U.S. during the recent surge escaping dire violence in their home countries.

The raids, whether targeted or not, instill fear in the minds of immigrants living in the U.S. even if documented. There are thousands of immigrants in NC who live in mixed-status families or who have U.S. citizen children and spouses. Living with the constant fear of losing a parent, a spouse, or a loved one is extraordinarily difficult. Children have to attend school with the looming concern that when they get home, their parent may be gone."

Read the entire post at this link.

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