Top of the Morning

Top of the morning

Monday was one of the more bizarre days and nights at the General Assembly in a long time and we will have plenty to say about it here in the next few days as we sort out all the deals and the damage that was done.

But you have to give the Republican legislative leaders credit for one thing. They are vigilant about not letting the facts get in the way of their talking points.

Last night Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger appeared on the Capital Tonight show on News 14 and said that the small business tax break passed last year was just for small businesses, despite a News & Observer report last month that showed it was also going to wealthy lawyers, doctors and private equity partners. Read more

Top of the Morning

Top of the morning

The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act has unleashed another round of ridiculous spin from the folks on the Right, including the “government takeover of health care” claim which GOP spin-doctor-in-chief Frank Luntz has encouraged all Republicans to use since 2009.

It was false then and it is false now. It was dubbed the “Lie of the Year,” in 2010 by the Pulitzer Prize winning PolitiFact.

The latest spin from Right Wing Avenue is that the Affordable Care Act is the largest tax increase in history and will raise taxes on all Americans.

That may end up being the lie of the year for 2012. Here’s a explanation from Media Matters which includes this from the well-respected Congressional Budget Office. Read more

Top of the Morning

Top of the morning

Most of the blame for the decision by legislative leaders to slam the door again in the face of the survivors of the state’s horrific eugenics program has been placed on Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger. And he deserves a lot of it. 

Berger said there was not enough support in the Senate to include the $11 million for compensation for the eugenics victims in the final version of the budget.  But it didn’t appear he was too thrilled about the idea either, or he could have made sure it was part of the final agreement.

But part of this is the fault of House Speaker Thom Tillis too. Tillis certainly deserves credit for championing the issue and even taking to the House floor to speak out for it, an unusual thing for a House Speaker to do.  But compensation for the victims must never have been his top priority, his must-have provision in final budget negotiations. Read more

Top of the Morning

Top of the morning

Here is the New York Times story on the decision by legislative leaders not to provide any compensation for the victims of the state’s horrific eugenics program.

Republicans did manage to find state money for Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte, the private culinary school that former House Speaker Jim Black used to make sure received state support. 

And then there’s the tax cut for millionaires and wealthy lawyers that was supposed to go only to small businesses.

Interesting priorities on Jones Street these days.

Top of the Morning

Top of the morning

House and Senate leaders reached a compromise budget deal late last night and have a news conference scheduled today at 11:00 to release the details. I wonder if this will be part of the discussion.

But for all the fanfare about the cutting-edge crime-fighting plan, lawmakers left out one key ingredient: money to pay for probation officers to supervise the newly released prisoners. No funding has been set aside in either the initial House or Senate versions of the budget.