Top of the Morning

Top of the Morning

In case you are wondering how the Senate is putting its budget together, check out what Appropriations Chair Neal Hunt posted Friday on his Facebook page.

It is budget crunch time. The other Senate Appropriation co-chairs (Pete Brunstetter, Richard Stevens) and I will meet all day today and Saturday with the Senate fiscal staff to finalize our proposed 2012-2013 budget.

Nice of them to finalize things all on their own.  Not letting anyone else have a say certainly saves a lot of time and aggravation.

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Diane Ravitch has a great summary of what the American Legislative Exchange Council and its corporate and right-wing funders are trying to do to public education.  It ought to sound very familiar to education advocates in North Carolina.

Wherever you see states expanding vouchers, charters, and other forms of privatization, wherever you see states lowering standards for entry into the teaching profession, wherever you see states opening up new opportunities for profit-making entities, wherever you see the expansion of for-profit online charter schools, you are likely to find legislation that echoes the ALEC model.

 

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House Speaker Thom Tillis and the rest of the folks at the House Republican Caucus must be pretty confident these days, judging by the Caucus website.

The first thing you see on the site is a giant font is the statement “A FEATURE GRAPHIC.”  Click on the “Promises Made, Promises Kept” tab and it says “this is an example page,” with the following in italics.

Hi there! I’m a bike messenger by day, aspiring actor by night, and this is my blog. I live in Los Angeles, have a great dog named Jack, and I like piña coladas. (And gettin’ caught in the rain.)

Maybe it is a code that only Dallas Woodhouse understands.

 

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Republican gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory is doing all he can on the campaign trail not to veer away from his carefully scripted talking points and the media is generally letting him get away with it.

McCrory appeared at the Craven County GOP convention Saturday night and the coverage in the New Bern Sun Journal focused mainly on the tired slogans McCrory usually offers.

But the reporter did ask McCrory about the controversial move by the General Assembly to raise tolls on ferries that are an important part of the transportation system along the coast. Gov. Bev Perdue has refused to raise the tolls, infuriating Republican legislative leaders.

McCrory, not surprisingly refused to take a position, but then sort of took one anyway, getting caught up in his own rhetoric.

After his speech, McCrory was asked about his view on the ferry toll controversy. He didn’t offer a position, instead saying DOT’s use of state and federal money needs to be scrutinized.

“Before we institute any new fees, whether it be toll roads or ferry tolls, I need to do a total examination on exactly how DOT money is being spent,” he said. “It would inappropriate for me to determine that I need to get more money from one group of people before I determine are we spending the existing money the right way. And do we have efficiencies in place that can be implemented prior to asking for more money?”

Before we institute any new tolls?  The General Assembly already instituted new tolls, or tried to anyway. That must mean McCrory believes that lawmakers acted irresponsibly.