Another offensive and embarrassing lottery move

lottery logo.jpgJust when you think it couldn’t get any more offensive, state policymakers and the folks at the North Carolina “Education” Lottery keep outdoing themselves.

First, the Senate votes to increase lottery advertising to convince more people to throw away their money because the state refuses to raise revenue fairly and honestly. It’s no secret that low-income people play the lottery disproportionately more as a percentage of their income.

Then we hear that lawmakers are considering allowing lottery ticket sales in liquor stores and on terminals in bars and apps on smartphones, anything to entice people to play.

Now comes the news that lottery officials are selling tickets that smell like barbecue when you scratch them.

Sure does make you proud to live in such a classy state, doesn’t it?




McCrory supports flexibility in TA funding as Senate proposes ending flexibility

McCrory_budget305-aGov. Pat McCrory often seems a step behind the happenings in the General Assembly. That was true again Tuesday morning as McCrory met with reporters after the Council of State meeting to discuss the budget talks.

McCrory said he supports funding teacher assistants and giving local school systems the flexibility to use the TA funding any way they see fit.  He has expressed that sentiment before as a way to settle the differences between the House and Senate budgets.

The Senate budget would eliminate funding for 8,500 TAs over the next two years and use the money to reduce class size in the early grades while the House wants to maintain funding for TAs at its current level after several years of  sharp reductions.

The latest Senate offer includes full funding for the TAs but no flexibility for the local schools to shift the money to pay for additional teachers or other classroom needs. The Senate offer also includes cutting funding for some other education programs supported by the House.

McCrory didn’t react to last night’s Senate offer that is creating a buzz at the Legislative Building. So it’s not clear if he supports it or not. Or is aware of it.

McCrory also told reporters that he has been serving as a facilitator for the two sides in the budget dispute.

“I’ve been involved in, more than anything, facilitating two groups that are, at times, in disagreement,” the governor said, “not only between the two bodies but at times even within the two bodies themselves.

You’d think McCrory would be “more than anything” pushing lawmakers to support his own agenda. You know, like a leader would do.

Senator Curtis wants to “starve government to death”

David CurtisSenator David Curtis recently defended the misguided and misnamed Taxpayer Bill of Rights in a story in the Lincoln Times-News about the proposal that would limit state spending based on an arbitrary and inappropriate formula.

Curtis thinks government is too big and that there’s only one way to address that.

“The only way to shrink government is to starve it to death.”

That can’t be very reassuring to people in Curtis’ district worried about their schools or roads or health care services, that he wants to starve their government to death.

Maybe he was channeling his inner Grover Norquist, who famously said he wanted to shrink government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”

Those anti-government types have such a pleasant and lovely way with words.


McCrory still opposed to sales tax plan and still unwilling to talk to reporters

Gov. Pat McCrory, who has never met a groundbreaking in Charlotte on a Friday that he didn’t like, was at another one today and didn’t feel much like answering questions from pesky reporters, according to the Charlotte Business Journal.

The former Charlotte mayor, while walking to his SUV to depart for another meeting, said he did not have time to take questions. Asked for a quick comment on the sales-tax proposal, McCrory told me, “My position hasn’t changed.” As he ducked his head into the car, I asked what he thought the chances are for the sales-tax plan to be approved. The governor chuckled and said, “My position hasn’t changed.”

The problem for McCrory is that currently the sales tax proposal that changes the way local sales tax revenue is distributed is now part of legislation that funds business incentive programs that he is desperate for lawmakers to approve.

Reporters would have probably asked him about that had he talked to them for five minutes, but he couldn’t seem to find the time. Thursday he also avoided reporters waiting with questions after his remarks at an N.C. Chamber education event.

Wonder why the governor is so media averse lately? What questions is he scared to answer?


Another court rules that General Assembly has gone too far

The Watauga Democrat is reporting that a three-judge panel has ruled that a bill passed by the General Assembly at the urging of Senator Dan Soucek to take zoning power away from the town of Boone is unconstitutional.

The decision comes on the heels of a recent decision by a federal judge to issue a permanent injunction against the absurd law passed by the House and Senate to change city council elections in Greensboro.

The folks running the General Assembly continue to overreach in their power grabs and the courts are calling them on it.