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Top of the Morning

The best quote about the transparently political move by the House Monday to cap the state gas tax came from Republican Senator Bill Rabon. Here is what he told AP.

He said the issue “seems to be as much a political stunt right now as it is good government.” “I’m not going to be one to say, ‘Hey I’m the guy who saved you $23 on gasoline taxes, and I’m really sorry about the school bus that your kid was on that fell through the bridge that we didn’t repair,’ ” Rabon said.

 

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In case you are wondering why folks are protesting against the folks on Wall Street and the cozy relationship they have with people in Congress who are supposed to be representing us, check out Gretchen Morgenson’s column in the Sunday New York Times.  The first few lines sum it up.

Wall Street loves to do business in the shadows. Sunshine, after all, is bad for profits. So it is perhaps unsurprising that players in the derivatives market want to thwart one of the worthier aims of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation: to bring transparency to the huge market for instruments known as swaps. Now some in Congress, on both sides of the aisle, are trying to block that goal, too.

 

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Here’s some news that hasn’t popped up in any Republican presidential debate.

The economy would have been in much worse shape without the 2009 stimulus — which increased employment in the third quarter of this year by as many as 3.3 million full-time jobs, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office.

It turns out public investments do make a difference.

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The News & Observer gets in right in Under the Dome this morning about the latest troubles of Rep. Stephen LaRoque, who has hired noted Raleigh lawyer Joe Cheshire to represent him.

LaRoque made loans to two fellow legislators, put relatives and close associates on the board of directors, paid himself up to $195,000 a year, made a $200,000 loan from the nonprofits to his for-profit company and didn’t report that to the IRS, according to records uncovered by N.C. Policy Watch.

As the N&O reports, the issues raised in the investigation by Policy Watch’s Sarah Ovaska  are not merely “claims” or “allegations”  or a just a “media account” of a politician,” as Cheshire put it in his letter to House Speaker Thom Tillis.

They are simply facts about LaRoque’s practices running a federally funded nonprofit that are available in public documents that are footnoted in Ovaska’s original story and in followups like this one about the $200,000 loan the nonprofit made to LaRoque’s business and his failure to report it.

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Here is something you might have missed in the Fayetteville Observer recently that is a perfect example of the misguided budget decisions made by the General Assembly this year.

For some in Cumberland County, this could be a long, cold winter. The state has cut the amount of financial help it offers low income families with heating bills through the winter by 83 percent this year.

That might be a good question for Speaker Tillis at his next town hall, when he is finished talking about dividing and conquering people on public assistance.  What are people supposed to do this winter who can’t afford to heat their homes?