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In case you missed today’s “Follies” edition of the Fitzsimon File, be sure to check it out — especially the part about State Senator Donald Vaughan’s candidacy for chair of the state Democratic Party. As Chris notes, Vaughan is:

“a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a national right-wing organization that brings big money interests and conservative state legislators together to develop and promote model bills in state legislatures.

ALEC recently announced it was ending its work on non-economic issues after several major corporations resigned in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida and the controversy about the Stand Your Ground law passed there at the urging of ALEC members.

Common Cause has filed a complaint with the IRS asking that ALEC’s tax-exempt status be revoked because it is a lobbying group.

ALEC has become one of the most visible national symbols of the right-wing policy machine.”

Also, Chris Kromm of the Institute for Southern Studies has more details in a special report on Vaughan that you can read by clicking here.

 

Duke Energy’s electricity rates are poised to continue skyrocketing over the next few years, but only some customers will feel the burn. While the utility lures the world’s elite technology giants to NC by offering cheap electricity, captive small business and residential customers are charged higher rates. The rate structure is patently unfair and is being challenged before the NC Utilities Commission by environmental watchdog NCWARN.

While this issue has been debated before Commission in the past, Duke Energy has successfully negotiated it away. The NC Attorney General also recognizes the unfairness but has yet to force a resolution to protect consumers. Read More

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There is a helpful website for folks converging on Charlotte this weekend to demonstrate against Bank of America — it’s called www.ncagainstcorporatepower.org.

 This is from the site:

“On May 6-9 people from across the country and world will be converging in Charlotte, NC, home of Bank of America’s Headquarters and their annual Shareholder meeting, to demand an end to their practices that are bankrupting our economy and wrecking our climate. Read More

On tax day, here’s some news that will make your blood boil – Citizens for Tax Justice re-released its report about Fortune 500s federal tax payments from 2008 through 2010, adding new information for 2011. One of our NC based companies – Duke Energy – paid a net federal tax bill of negative 3.5% for those years.

Duke Energy just received a big fat rate increase, is looking for another one this year and would love for the legislature to give them the ability to get even more money out of ratepayers to pre-fund nuclear power plants – plants that even Wall Street won’t invest in.

The report also shows that if companies actually paid the 35% corporate tax rate, it could help reduce the nation’s deficit.  If the Fortune 500s had paid the full 35% corporate tax rate between 2008 and 2011, we’d have $78.3 billion more in federal tax income.

Thanks to NC WARN for bringing this report to my attention.

If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to check out today’s edition of the Fitzsimon File. In it, Chris looks at the good, bad and ugly aspects of some of House Speaker Thom Tillis’ recent tax talk. 

He notes that Tillis is actually right about broadening the base of the sales tax, but, he also notes, Tillis is way out in right-wing fringe land when it comes to the income tax.

This is from a story in the Davidson County Dispatch from last week that helped prompt Chris’s column: Read More