Folks, this is time-sensitive, so please take a moment to help keep community college affordable and help North Carolina build an economy that works.

A bill has reached Gov. Perdue’s desk that would undermine access to federal student loans for North Carolina community college students. We need to be sure these vital programs keep training our workers and educating our people. To do that, we need to ask Gov. Perdue to veto the bill.

Use this Action Alert for more information, or just call Gov. Perdue’s office at (919) 733-4240.

To build a path to the middle class, people need access to community college. A veto here would help preserve that access.


The Earned Income Tax Credit helps working families throughout North Carolina. Now, a new tool brings that message home visually.

Using the new interactive map at the NC Policy Watch website, you can quickly and easily see which counties benefit the most. With working families struggling to get by, the Earned Income Tax Credit is a powerful tool to put capital back into local communities – and this map shows you just which communities we’re talking about.

If you’re a reporter and want the raw data, we’ve got you covered, too. But spend a little time rolling the mouse over that map, and I think you’ll find there’s much to be intrigued by.


Statement: Health Care Advocates Laud Perdue’s Veto as “Refreshing”
NC Health Access Coalition says the veto shows Gov. Perdue is “focused on a better future for North Carolinians” instead of “engaging in political games”

RALEIGH (March 5, 2011) — In a statement issued this afternoon, the NC Health Access Coalition lauded Gov. Beverly Perdue’s veto of an ill-conceived anti-health care bill.

The statement reads:

“For those concerned about jobs and affordable health insurance, Governor Perdue’s action in vetoing House Bill 2 is refreshing.

Instead of engaging in political games about “repealing” federal laws, the Governor’s eyes are firmly focused on a better future for North Carolinians. The Governor’s vision is of a North Carolina where insurance companies can no longer deny people health coverage because of pre-existing health conditions, where tax credits and a newly competitive market make insurance affordable and cost less, and where small businesses can finally get the same deals on health coverage plans that large companies enjoy.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, 503.551.3615,; Adam Searing, Director of NC Heath Access Coalition,; (919) 856-2568.


At the General Assembly today, advocates, families and legislators
spoke in opposition to the efforts underway to gut the state’s Earned
Income Tax Credit at a press conference on the steps of the legislative

Some of the key quotes from the event are below:

“We didn’t make the progress we’ve made as a state in the past half
century by merely governing for the already privileged.  But when you
raise taxes of poor people to lower the rates of those at the top,
that’s exactly what you’re doing.  And it’s unworthy of North Carolina.
Unworthy of our history.  Unhelpful to our future.”

– Gene Nichol, Professor of Law and Director of the Center on Work, Poverty and Opportunity at UNC-Chapel Hill

“I am horrified by this effort to dismantle our state’s Earned Income
Tax Credit. Passage of this bill would raise taxes on 1 in 10 hard
working North Carolinians and would hurt local businesses. That’s the
exact opposite of what we should be doing if we want to grow jobs, spur
our state’s economy and rebound from this recession.”

– Representative Jennifer Weiss (D-Wake County)

“Some supporters of this bill have claimed that lower-income people
don’t pay their fair share of taxes.  This is simply not true.  As a
share of their income, the portion these working families pay is in fact
higher than the share paid by the top 1 percent of income earners.”

– Alexandra Sirota, Director, N.C. Budget and Tax Center

“Early this week I was faced with a question, what would happen if they
were to cut EITC?   Well if such a thing was to happen families that
depend on a small amount of money like mine would never be able to get
caught up on medical and food bills, housing expenses, and other
necessities. As a senior citizen that helps a family member that works
less than 40 hours a week, I see the struggles of everyday life. The
struggle just to put food on the table, clothes on our backs, and pay
the bills on time is really hard for a single parent, and in today’s
society with job cuts and high employment rates, it’s darn near
impossible to get caught up.”

– Patricia Evens-Carpenter, Durham Resident

House Bill 93 will be heard next week in the House Finance Committee.


My uncle Pete works as hard as anybody I’ve ever met. He — like his father before him — has worked his whole life at a paper mill in Oregon City, Oregon.

Most men in my family have worked there at some point, and many of my friends’ fathers did too. It’s been a major employer for the little town I grew up in for as long as I can remember.

Until now. The mill’s closing, and 175 people are losing their jobs.

My uncle has been there almost 40 years. He’s supported his wife and kids (and other extended family) by working long, hard hours.

I don’t mean this to be a family sob story, because with unemployment the way it is, things are tough all over. Market conditions change, and economic realities come to certain industries. That’s just real.

Unfortunately, that means a lot of hardworking people who have spent decades at a trade find themselves in the lurch. When markets fail workers, that’s where public investments should come in.

This is exactly why we need programs that re-train workers. North Carolina’s community college system is a great example. My mom got her nursing degree from community college when she was in her 40s, filling a need for society while improving her own family’s station in life.

As she prospered, so did I. We both wound up being more productive, paying more in taxes, and thus paying more into the system for the next kid and his mom that needed to go to school.

But she wouldn’t have been able to access school without financial aid. Countless people with intelligence, drive, and determination are in the same situation. That’s why it’s so important to make sure people can access education: it helps them, and it helps America.

My mom also benefited from timing. None of these paper mill workers at my uncle’s shop asked for their industry to fundamentally change as they neared retirement age, or for their pension to disappear as their company declared bankruptcy.

These are hardworking people that played by the rules. Their stories are all too common across America today, and there but for fortune go any of us.

When we ignore situations like this, we not only harm families, we waste human capital that can build a better America. Folks like my mom and my uncle could do virtually any type of work and be successful.

Like most people in these situations, they’re not afraid of working hard. They just need  a chance.

Public investments like our community college system give people like this a chance. And we all deserve that.