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If you want to get the gist of what the new version of the state budget as advanced by the NC Senate is about, check out this story by Lynn Bonner in Raleigh’s News & Observer.

In one fell swoop, GOP leaders voted to say “yes” to preserving a tax break for profitable businesses that they slipped into the budget while no one was watching last session and “no” to compensating victims of the state’s horrific, mid-20th Century eugenics program.

Thanks for making things so clear, Senators!

 

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The government watchdog Common Cause North Carolina is calling on Attorney General Roy Cooper to investigate the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council and its claim of nonprofit status. According to a letter the group is asking folks to sign and forward to Cooper:

“Common Cause has discovered compelling evidence that ALEC is a corporate lobby masquerading as a charity. It devotes its $7 million annual budget to lobbying for laws that will boost the profits of its member corporations but it pays no taxes and solicits corporate contributions with a promise that donors can deduct gifts on their annual tax returns.

That’s not right. As attorney general, the person we elect to enforce state laws, you shouldn’t stand for it.”

Click here for more information.

 

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Chris Fitzsimon and others have written eloquently about what’s really driving the growth of charter schools in a lot of places, including North Carolina. Hint: it isn’t an altruistic commitment to the expansion of young minds. And no, it isn’t right-wing, true believer ideology about “the genius of the market” and the evils of government (although that’s certainly another one).

No, in this case, the driving force behind charters is this: money — as in the chance to make a lot of it. Read More

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Everyone knows this is a time in which jobs are at a premium and in which politicians and developers are happy to welcome just about any new business to their communities.

But, isn’t somebody going to mention the fact that Charlotte’s new big, new soon-to-be resident, Chiquita Brands International (aka United Fruit), is a corporation with a well-earned reputation as one of the most notorious and rapacious corporate exploiters in modern history?

Add to this the fact that to land the company, state and local officials had to ply it with public funds and lure it away from another American ”Queen City” in need of jobs and it’s enough to make the whole thing feel extremely dirty and distasteful.

Maybe “Chiquita” has mended some of its ways since the days in which its bosses were treating entire nations as play things, but if its most recently displayed willingness to extort public funds is any indication, it still has a long way to go.

As Chris noted the other day, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has examined several potential job-creation proposals to see what would do the most. Yesterday, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities noted that the proposal that comes in last is Senator Hagan’s ill-conceived giveaway to corporations with foreign income.  

Sounds like it might be time for North Carolina’s junior senator to send that one to the circular file.