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Another day, another giant backward step for the future of North Carolina. This morning we got the conformation of what we’ve been expecting to see for months now – North Carolina will be the latest state to consider school vouchers.

In an “exclusive interview” with the John Locke Foundation, Paul Stam laid out his $90 million plan to bleed our public schools of money while enriching corporations, all at the expense of our children.  And his reasoning for this program? Why, to save money, of course.

It now costs state and local governments $6,745 to educate a typical child in public school, and $8,414 when including federal allocations, according to Stam. The average opportunity scholarship is expected to be $3,990, according to a fiscal analysis memorandum by the legislative Fiscal Research Division.

Keep in mind that North Carolina is already near the bottom (two from the bottom, actually) of what we spend on a per-pupil basis. Stam’s proposal would further reduce our spending by more than $17 million for the 2013-2014 school year, and more than $25 million in the next school year, according to the fiscal analysis.  Read More

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Believe it or not, I agree with Pat McCrory. Completely.

At a campaign stop on Wednesday, gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory joined  the likes of Texas Governor Rick Perry and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal in pledging not to implement the two most important part of the Affordable Care Act: state health exchanges and the Medicaid expansion.

His reason for opposing the Medicaid expansion provision? He’s afraid it will have a “tremendous impact on our Medicaid in North Carolina.”

Yes Pat, of course it will have a tremendous impact – that’s the point.

Presumably, what Mr. McCrory meant to say was that the expansion would have a negative fiscal impact on the state, ala the claims of other Southern Republican Governors in recent days. He would, alas, be as wrong as everyone else who makes this claim. Read More

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If anyone is looking to sublet some office space in the legislative building, you may want to contact Speaker Tillis – he has a few empty desks that he might be willing to part with. Not that I’m implying anything else is for sale in his office.

Yes, Tillis is probably a bit lonely in his big, fancy office this week after the resignation of his Chief of Staff and Policy Adviser, both for having affairs with different lobbyists who represent a range of different interests under consideration at the General Assembly.

Sound shady to you? Speaking as a registered lobbyist, it sure sounds shady to me. Read More

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Whenever I think about health care reform, I am reminded of the song from the film Marry Poppins that goes “Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” You would think from the way Conservatives are always blathering on about the moral fiber of America breaking down because no one takes responsibility for their actions anymore, they could use a spoon full of fiber rather than sugar. They warn about the dangers of the “nanny state”, and “socialist ideas.” At the end of the day, so the conservatives say, it’s a matter of personal responsibility and personal choice.

I couldn’t agree more. It really comes down to the choice between a thick glass of Metamucil or a smooth glass of sweet tea. Which would you prefer?

Having everyone take responsibility for their own health care started as a Republican idea. And by and large, Americans agree. But a new poll out yesterday showed many Americans still have  a long way to go in understanding what the new healthcare actually does, particularly on the “individual mandate” portion and in the face of continued right-wing attacks on health reform. Read More