Commentary, News

Pollster: HB2 issue is “just killing McCrory” in gubernatorial race (video)

Public Policy Polling’s Tom Jensen believes the one issue that may decide the state’s hotly-contested gubernatorial race is House Bill 2. Jensen, who sat down with Chris Fitzsimon last week, notes that 59% of voters now think HB2 has had a negative impact on North Carolina’s economy, while only 10% who think the impact has been positive.

If you need more proof, read Policy Watch reporter Joe Killian’s story from Monday in which a group of major investors representing more than $2.1 trillion in assets called for the full repeal of the discriminatory law. Here’s an excerpt from Killian’s story:

“Obviously there has been overwhelmingly negative reaction to HB2,” said Matthew Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management. “While the U.S. economy continues to grow, quite frankly North Carolina appears to be headed for what I would call a state government inflicted recession.”

Patsky said that’s because the controversy over N.C. House Bill 2, which prohibits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, has reached a fever pitch and is impacting how investors view the state and the businesses that call the Tar Heel state home.

With offices in Boston, San Francisco, Portland, Oregon and Durham, Trillium is in a position to see how the national and international investment community is responding to HB2. “I have clients asking for North Carolina free portfolios,” Patsky said. “Including divestment from North Carolina municipal bonds. Moody’s and the S&P have already warned of the potential risk to the state’s bond rating.”

In the six months since McCrory signed HB2 into law, North Carolina has seen a series of blows to its reputation – boycotts from major touring entertainment acts, major companies like PayPal canceling planned expansions in the state and most recently the loss of NCAA and ACC championship games.

You can read the rest of Killian’s story here. Listen to  our full radio interview with Tom Jensen here.

YouTube Preview Image
Commentary, News

This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Taxcreditsupplies10-13-151. The cuts keep coming: More damning data on the state of NC public school funding

A recent lead editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer editorial “NC GOP leaders ignore recession cuts when touting funding increases” makes several good points concerning the state’s declining commitment to funding public schools. As the editorial mentions, legislative leaders’ claims that they have increased spending on public schools are “at once true and deceptive” since they compare today’s spending to the temporary budget reductions implemented in the throes of a historically bad recession.

A deeper look at the data, however, shows the decline in support for public schools is even greater than indicated by the editorial. Along nearly every measure, North Carolina’s public schools have fewer resources today even when compared to the last budget passed under a Democratic-controlled General Assembly. While it is true that the nominal budget for public schools has increased slightly from its nadir in FY 2010-11, North Carolina’s public schools themselves have not benefited from higher resource levels since the change in General Assembly majority. [Continue reading...]

Medicaid gap2. Census data a powerful reminder of the need to expand Medicaid

The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau included some frustrating information about North Carolina and it wasn’t just the state’s sluggish below the national average growth in household median income that the think tanks on the right have mistakenly trumpeted as good news.

The data also showed that the percentage of people without health coverage in the state dropped by 1.9 percent from 2014 to 2015. That means 173,000 people are no longer uninsured thanks to the improving national economy and the Affordable Care Act.

But North Carolina’s uninsured rate is still more than two percent above the national average—and it’s not hard to figure out why. That is the frustrating part. [Continue reading…]

ncfarmfamilies-13. The political machine behind the conflict between NC Farm Families and the Waterkeeper Alliance

A hard rain drips down the window of a farmhouse. A farmer stares at the dreary day and takes another sip of coffee from his cup.

“Struggle,” one of several ads produced by NC Farm Families is narrated by a young woman extolling the virtues of family farming. Her family’s farm, near Mt. Olive, she says, is a century old. “A farmer works six days a week because farming gets in his blood,” she says, with a touch of solemnity in her voice, “then goes to church to give thanks.”

The woman in the ad is Marisa Linton, director of engagement for NC Farm Families, a front group for the hog industry. Linton did grow up on a small farm, raising goats, sheep, turkeys, horses and pigs to show at fairs and contests. But the ad’s depiction of a humble family farm hardly represents the true picture of the state’s hog industry — or the powerful and politically connected NC Farm Families. [Continue reading]

Bonus read: EPA Office of Civil Rights investigating intimidation claims against DEQ

wb-incomegrowth4. The Right pushes another whopper about the NC economy
Why recent conservative claims about state income growth are flat out wrong

It’s understandable (and perhaps even a little poignant) that some on the right have been trying so hard of late to put a positive spin on the state of the North Carolina economy. If there’s even the tiniest snippet of encouraging economic news out there these days – anywhere – you can rest assured that conservative politicians and “think tankers” will seize upon it, gather round it and hold it aloft like ancient cavepeople celebrating the discovery of a shiny ingot.

Never mind what our eyes and ears tells us when we open them and examine the communities not fortunate enough to be located in prosperous pockets of the Raleigh-to-Charlotte corridor. Never mind the grinding and shockingly persistent poverty that affects millions – especially children. Never mind that the positive economic trends that are out there (and there are certainly some) are almost all in line with the national economic recovery. [Continue reading…]

hb2-divide5. Contentious, costly HB2 underscores North Carolina’s urban and rural divide

Since its passage in March, the struggle over House Bill 2 has underlined an already apparent divide between urban and rural North Carolina.

The law began as a struggle between the conservative majority in the North Carolina legislature and the Charlotte city council, which moved to provide broad anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

But with last week’s announcement that the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Atlantic Coast Conference will pull college championship games from the state over the law, political experts and new polls suggest the tide of political opinion is decisively turning against the measure. [Continue reading…]

***Bonus Infographic: When it comes to 2016 “bathroom bill” state legislation, North Carolina stands alone in restricting transgender access



As one NC politician apologizes for comments about protesters, another attempts to reframe #Charlotteprotests

Congressman Robert Pittenger is trying to walk back comments he made in a BBC interview Thursday in which he said the Charlotte protesters “hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not.”

Pittenger was addressing questions about the reaction of protesters following the police shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott.

Pittenger, who represents part of Charlotte, later apologized for that interview tweeting that his anguish led him to respond to a reporter’s question in a way that he now regrets. Here are two of Pittenger’s follow-up comments on Twitter:

As Pittenger sought to clarify his statements, state Senator Jeff Jackson posted his impressions from Uptown Charlotte, focusing on the peaceful nature of Thursday night’s protests and the roll of local clergy:

jackson1 jackson2






















Charlotte has announced a midnight curfew for the Queen City.

In the meantime, the family of Keith Scott says it has more questions than answers.

Commentary, News

Reaction to Charlotte protests, police-involved shooting of #KeithLamontScott

***UPDATE: A state of emergency has been declared in Charlotte following a night of violent protests in the wake of this week’s shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Read Gov. McCrory’s Executive Order allowing for the National Guard to respond to civil disturbances here.

“I want to assure the people of North Carolina that our SBI has already been assisting the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department throughout the last 24 hours. Upon a very recent request of Chief Putney, the State Highway Patrol is sending in troopers to further help the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. The state has many additional assets nearby to assist. Any violence directed toward our citizens or police officers or destruction of property should not be tolerated. I support and commend the law enforcement officials for their bravery and courage during this difficult situation.” – Governor Pat McCrory

“I understand all too well the emotions that many Charlotteans and people all across the nation are feeling. However, violence is not the answer. We have to work together to ensure there is a transparent process and the family of Mr. Keith Lamont Scott and our city gets justice and the answers they deserve. My thoughts and prayers are with the Scott family and our entire community.” – Congresswoman Alma Adams

Today, the North Carolina NAACP State Conference stands with those in mourning in the city of Charlotte. We call for the full release of all facts available. We ask that the city of Charlotte be transparent with any video and any additional information held by the city that can bring light in the tragic death of Mr. Keith Lamont Scott at the hands of a Charlotte police officer yesterday.

We support those who exercise the right to peacefully protest, and encourage the first amendment right to call for redress of wrongs. We stand against efforts that undermine the legitimate calls for justice with unjust, random or purposeless acts of violence. – Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II, NC NAACP


Watch what happens when Charlotte’s Mayor announces the city will not repeal its anti-discrimination ordinance (video)

At Monday evening’s council meeting it was all applause for Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts when she announced the city would not consider repealing the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

Legislative leaders and Governor Pat McCrory have said that before they would consider a special session to address the economic fallout from House Bill 2, Charlotte would need to revoke its protective ordinance.

But Mayor Roberts has made it clear that HB2 can be repealed without the city removing its non-discrimination protections. Earlier in the day, Roberts told the media:

“We appreciate the state wanting to find a solution to the challenges we are facing and applaud the governor for recognizing the state should overturn HB2, which the state can do at any time without any action from the City of Charlotte.”

Last week, both the NCAA and the ACC announced plans to pull championship games from North Carolina because of the discriminatory nature of HB2. Neither sporting group mentioned the Charlotte ordinance.
YouTube Preview Image