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Five things to watch this week on Jones Street (audio)

1. Moral Monday – The school year is winding down and the State Legislature is working on the 2014-15 budget at a frenetic pace. Teachers, students and parents will be speaking out at this afternoon’s Moral Monday demonstration to show support for public education. Look for a sea of red this afternoon when the protest begins at 5:00 p.m. on Halifax Mall (behind the legislative building) in Raleigh.

2. House Budget – Governor Pat McCrory and the NC Senate have presented their $21 billion budget proposals, and this week the state House will roll out its competing version of the state spending plan on Tuesday. (Though we have heard we could see a few details emerge throughout the day….stay tuned to the Pulse for updates!)

Rep. Rick Glazier is hopeful the cuts to education are not as deep in the House budget. Glazier, who appeared on News & Views with Chris Fitzsimon over the weekend, likened the Governor’s and the Senate’s budget plans to “moving deck chairs on the Titanic, just to different places.”

Click below to hear Rep. Glazier discuss proposed cuts to the university system, and listen here to the full radio interview.
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3. “I feel the need…the need for speed!  – It’s rare we get to quote Top Gun here on the Progressive Pulse, but that classic movie line could well describe the House budget this week. House Speaker Thom Tillis has said that Appropriations and Finance committees will take up the House plan Tuesday and Wednesday, and it could reach the House floor as early as Thursday.

House Republicans have just announced a 9:00 a.m. budget preview for Tuesday morning in the press conference room at the General Assembly.

4. Privatizing economic development – The NC Senate convenes at 7:00 p.m.  this evening and up for third and final reading is Senate Bill 743, which would privatize portions of the state’s economic development work. The privatization proposal would set North Carolina on a path that a dozen other states have embarked on, with mixed results.

But that’s not the only worrisome part of this plan. As Sarah Ovaska reported last week, both the latest Senate bill and the House version would allow the new economic development partnership to bypass the state ethics law:

The current form of the bills also remove provisions putting members of the nonprofit’s board and top employees under state ethics rules, which require an annual public disclosure of financial interests as well as put in varied prohibitions on accepting gifts and performing favors. The ethics law also attaches criminal penalties for accepting money or gifts from those looking to s curry favor from public servants.

Boards that fall under the ethics rules range from the powerful State Board of Education and UNC Board of Governors to lesser known boards like the Agricultural Hall of Fame and Board of Refrigeration Examiners. The Golden Leaf Foundation, an economic development group funded  with North Carolina’s portion of tobacco settlement money, also is not a covered board under state ethics rules.

The nonprofit economic development group will have to develop conflict of interest policies that prevent board members from participating in discussion of projects that would have personal financial benefits, or benefits to family members and associates.

State Sen. Harry Brown, a Jacksonville Republican and sponsor of the Senate bill, said that ethics provision was removed at the request of the state Commerce department because it feared the financial disclosures would prevent people from joining the economic development board.

The NC Budget & Tax Center’s Allan Freyer will be on Capital Tonight  (Time Warner Cable News) at 7:00 p.m. this evening discussing this legislation.

5. Child and Family Day – Parents, children, youth, law enforcement, child care providers, and concerned citizens will come together at the state legislature on Tuesday to remind policymakers that our future prosperity depends on the well-being of today’s children and youth.

Two local arts organizations, Arts Together and Artspace, will be a part of Child and Family Day offering participants fun, engaging visual art activities! Arts Together will work with children to create a “Faces of North Carolina’s Children” self-portrait collage and Artspace will begin a large loom weaving, and ask children and parents (and anyone) to help with the weaving. Prior to the art projects, a series of speakers will address Child and Family Day attendees about the importance of investing in children.

Interested in attending? Tuesday’s event begins at 10:00 a.m. on Halifax Mall, the same location as the Moral Monday demonstration.

One Comment

  1. jeff nelson

    June 13, 2014 at 8:52 pm

    The House is “offering” a 5% raise for teachers. This issue is not about a raise. It is about commitment and honor.. The NC House is now offering an average 5% raise. While it seems to be positive first step…this does not honor the commitment the state made, in the form of the salary scale, to it’s teachers. This is not what we based our careers on. This is not what we budgeted our lives around. This is not a compromise, it is a bone. WE are not asking for a “raise”…we are asking for the state to honor it’s commitments, unfreeze the salary scale and move us to our correct step. So far over 574 people have signed the petition,representing 140+ communities and stretching from the mountains to the coast. This is what a commitment really is… Please add your voice…click the link, sign and share the petition. Show this state you have honored your commitments and believe the state should do no less… http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/unfreeze-the-north-carolina