Archives

Uncategorized

A new report from the experts at the N.C. Budget and Tax Center paints a sobering picture of what the new “recovered” North Carolina economy really means for average people:

“North Carolina’s recovery from the Great Recession has been marked by slow job growth and persistent challenges for working families to make ends meet. The minimal job growth has been concentrated in low-wage industries, a new report finds, which will only make North Carolina’s economic recovery that much more difficult. Read More

Uncategorized

Shell gameHundreds of school administrators gathered in Raleigh yesterday to review the state of public education and, not surprisingly, Gov. McCrory dodged the event and sent an assistant to what promised to be a not-terribly-friendly venue. That former Gov. Jim Hunt was speaking (he got a standing ovation at one point) probably helped guarantee that the Guv would have a “conflict” and decline the invitation to appear.

Another probable reason for sending aide Eric Guckian was the message he was forced to deliver — namely, that things are unlikely to improve in the education funding department anytime soon. According to AP reporter Emery Dalesio’s story, any significant improvements in educator pay beyond the bumps recently proposed for starting teachers will take “years” and will only occur “if state finances allow” — i.e. when Budget Director Pope assents. In other words, the beatings will continue until morale improves.

Of course, this is an absurd and utterly dishonest position. North Carolina could easily have a great deal of money to address many important needs (including the abysmal pay it provides to teachers and many other state employees) if McCrory and legislative leaders had merely chosen not to slash taxes on wealthy individuals and profitable corporations in recent years to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

Simply put, the administration’s rap is like that of a father with a gambling or drinking addiction who refuses to make eye contact as he tells his family that there will be no new clothes or shoes this year because “finances are tight.” No wonder the Guv found something else to do yesterday.

Uncategorized

1-7-13-NCPW-CARTOONThis morning’s Winston-Salem Journal lays it out pretty clearly in an editorial on the matter of funding for the University of North Carolina. The paper says it is time for Gov. McCrory to stand up to his budget director and conservative political moneybags, Art Pope (who has launched a new and public effort to forestall needed growth in university spending).

This is from the editorial:

“Pope, who has his own conservative political constituency, has long been a UNC critic. The UNC operations request alone is for 4.6 percent. And while Pope had instructed state agencies to keep increase requests to 2 percent or less, the university’s response must be considered in historical context.

Over the last five years, the UNC operational budget has been cut by hundreds of millions of dollars. UNC officials have found efficiencies to cover some of those lost funds, but they’ve also weakened the education they deliver.

Additionally, students have been hit with big tuition and fee increases while state funding has dropped. All of this in a state where the constitution guarantees a university education that is as close to free as is ‘practicable’…. Read More

Uncategorized

State of Conflict NCIn case you haven’t gotten a chance to see it yet, the good people at Common Cause NC will be screening “the documentary every North Carolinian should see”  twice more this week.  Here are the times and locations for Bill Moyers’ “State of Conflict: North Carolina”:

  • TONIGHT at 7:00 p.m. in Raleigh (Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough Street)
  • Thursday March 6 at 7:00 p.m. in Wilmington (Jengo’s Playhouse, 15 Princess Street)
Questions? Email the folks at Common Cause  at stateofconflictnc@gmail.com.
Uncategorized

GerrymanderingPolitical gerrymandering has almost always been a problem in North Carolina, but new evidence continues to emerge that when conservative politicians drew the current maps (with right-wing godfather Art Pope literally sitting at the table) they took the whole thing to new and historic depths.

If you think that’s an overstatement check out this morning’s “Monday Numbers” from Chris Fitzsimon over on the main Policy Watch page in which Chris highlights some the most amazing facts in a new WRAL.com story entitled “Many state legislative races all but over before contests begin”:

50—-number of seats in the North Carolina Senate (N.C. General Assembly)

21—number of seats in the Senate where the winner of the Republican or Democratic primary will face no opposition in the general election in November  (Many state legislative races all but over before contests begin,” WRAL-TV, March 1, 2014)

120—number of seats in the North Carolina House (N.C. General Assembly)

57—number of seats in the House where the winner of the Republican or Democratic primary will face no opposition from the other party in the general election in November (Many state legislative races all but over before contests begin,” WRAL-TV, March 1, 2014)

Read all of the remarkable Monday Numbers by clicking here.