U.S. Supreme Court rejects McCrory’s plea to reinstate much of voter suppression law

It looks like the November election will proceed without most of the 2013 voter suppression law in place. The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by Gov. Pat McCrory to stay the recent decision by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals that threw out much of the law.

The Associated Press has a good first take on the ruling.

It’s another victory for voting rights and means we will have a fairer election this fall, as scary as that apparently is for one political party in the state.


McCrory signs flawed budget that includes massive new spending on unaccountable voucher scheme

To no one’s surprise Gov. Pat McCrory today signed the flawed budget passed by the General Assembly a few weeks ago. McCrory signed the bill at a public elementary school in Monroe to highlight the salary increases for teachers in the spending plan.

But the budget also includes a massive increase in funding for the school voucher scheme that directs taxpayer money away from public schools like the one McCrory visited today to almost completely unaccountable private schools and religious academies, many of which openly discriminate against LGBT students and teach bizarre theories as science including the claim that humans and dinosaurs co-existed on earth.

As NC Policy Watch’s Billy Ball reported last month, the budget spends $34.8 million more dollars on the voucher scheme this year and increases the funding every year until it reaches $134.8 million in 2026-2027.

That’s an awful lot of of public money for unaccountable private schools to teach students things that aren’t true.


A perfect summary of HB2

The editorials about the failure of the General Assembly to repeal HB2 continue to roll in from across the state and outside it.

The Virginian Pilot weighed in today with a piece with an apt title, “NC GOP Lawmakers flee from responsibility.”  The whole editorial is worth your time but this sentence says it all about the decision to leave the bulk of HB2 in place in North Carolina.

HB2 will subject a minority of Carolinians to prejudice, ridicule and perhaps violence on the basis of who they are. It will not make more Tar Heels safer. It will put more in harm’s way.


AARP North Carolina weighs in against putting spending limits in state constitution

AARP North Carolina today weighed in against a constitutional amendment arbitrarily limiting state spending. The proposal, misnamed the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR),  passed the Senate last year even though several states have rejected a similar plan that would make it all but impossible for future lawmakers to make important investments in education, human services, and environmental protections.

Colorado is the only state with strict TABOR limits in its constitution and the state has suffered mightily as a result. Rob Schofield explained the problems in a piece two weeks ago that was aptly titled “The HB2 of state budget and tax policy.”

Here is how the AARP North Carolina release put it.

AARP State Director Doug Dickerson explains, “Although lower income taxes sounds pretty attractive, it’s deceiving. Every state that has considered TABOR ended up rejecting the concept because the theory fails in the long run.  It does more harm than good.  It is essential that North Carolina has the flexibility it needs to provide basic services to our people, such as law enforcement, road repair, public libraries, and senior services. TABOR results in a falling apart of these essential services, which then affects job stability, future job creation and individual financial security.”



Gov. McCrory makes up his own facts in lame defense of HB2

Pat McCrory 4Gov. Pat McCrory is acting more and more like a desperate politician, trying everything to escape responsibility for HB2, the sweeping anti-LGBT law he signed in March that prompted corporations to cancel plans to create jobs in North Carolina and cost the state millions in lost tourism revenue.

McCrory has lashed out at the media, attacked companies that oppose HB2, and even tried to laugh off the backlash to the law that has hurt the state and sent his approval ratings plummeting.

Tuesday McCrory went on a local Charlotte radio show in full cynical mode as a News & Observer editorial pointed out, misrepresenting what the law actually does and even making up facts, claiming that Bruce Springsteen may have canceled his Greensboro concert because only 8,000 tickets were sold, not because of HB2.

But as the News & Record’s Doug Clark pointed out this morning, that is simply not true. A spokesman with the Greensboro Coliseum says 15,000 tickets were sold to Springsteen’s concert and only 100 were left when he canceled the show.

Where is McCrory getting this stuff? Is it bad staff work or is he just making it up like when he said a few years ago that he had waded out among the Moral Monday protesters?

Clark has it exactly right that McCrory needs to give it up and climb out of the hole he is digging for himself—and for North Carolina.