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Abortion protestIt’s hard to say what’s most outrageous and offensive in and around the North Carolina public policy world these days: the blatant special interest vote buying, the astonishing greed of giant corporations and their hired gun lobbyists, the not-so-thinly veiled racist pandering that oozes out of some of the far right advocacy groups, the raw political ambition that underlies the Phil Berger-Thom Tillis fight or Gov. McCrory’s ongoing impression of The Invisible Man.    

Here’s another leading candidate for today, however: the just plain meanness and nastiness of the folks running things on Jones Street. This has been evident on numerous occasions throughout the year — in the contempt for the democratic process and the right to be heard that’s constantly on display, in the way legislative leaders (particularly Senators like Tom Apodaca and Jerry Tillman) use rude, bullying language and tactics vis a vis their fellow lawmakers and members of the public, and in the dramatically ramped-up presence of law enforcement officers brandishing handcuffs, cameras and snarls on their faces.

This latter phenomenon was in full swing this morning as several hundred frustrated citizens — a large proportion of them moms toting their infant children — gathered in and around the Senate chamber to listen and watch as Senators finished off the dirty and disingenuous deed they commenced last night to make abortion a virtual impossibility in North Carolina.  Read More

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Phil BergerAt some point, you’d think the conservative elected officials behind North Carolina’s stingiest-in-the-nation unemployment insurance cuts would at least have the courage and decency to stand up, look straight in the camera and take responsibility for the the pain they are about to inflict on 170,000 jobless workers and their families. And indeed, while they’re at it, they would also do well  to note the impending damage to the state’s economy as a whole as it is forced to do without $600 million in federal dollars and endure an estimated overall decline in economic activity of around $1.2 billion.

Unfortunately, as next Monday’s benefits cut-off deadline  fast approaches, courage and decency are in short supply on Jones Street and spin and blame deflection appear to be the order of the day. Last Friday afternoon, in fact, a paid flak for Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger set what might be a new low in this department with a letter to members of the press corps that literally overflows with inaccuracies and downright falsehoods.

Here, in the interest of setting the record straight, is the staffer’s letter interspersed periodically with the actual truth. Our corrections and additions appear in bold italics.

——– Original message ——–
From: “Amy Auth (President Pro Tem’s Office)” <Amy.Auth@ncleg.net>
Date: 06/21/2013 3:39 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: “Amy Auth (President Pro Tem’s Office)” <Amy.Auth@ncleg.net>
Subject: Unemployment Insurance Reforms

Dear Members of the Press Corps: Read More

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It looks like there will be big numbers once again at today’s Moral Monday protests. Friends report (and this article confirms) that two busloads of outside agitators will be coming from Asheville alone this afternoon.

Click here to watch Rev. William Barber’s response to the Civitas Institute’s offensive mug shot website about the protesters.

NC Budget and Tax Center

This is the second of a six-part blog series. (See Part 1)

What would the House tax plan mean for North Carolina taxpayers? In these blog posts, we highlight the experience of sample taxpayers under the House tax plan. In conjunction with a distributional analysis of the tax plan which gives a better picture of the full impact, these fictional but true to life profiles will demonstrate that middle-, fixed- and low-income taxpayers would lose under this plan while the wealthiest will gain.

Who really benefits from House tax plan?

Angela and Todd live in the coastal region of North Carolina and the married couple has two kids, one which has a disability. Todd works as an assistant manager at a manufacturing plant and Angela is a stay-at-home mom and cares for their disabled child as well as their 3-year old son. Angela started a home-based hand crafting business last year and together the couple earns around $41,000 in income.

Under the House tax plan, this household would see its tax load increase compared to what it would pay under current tax laws. Under the House tax plan, elimination of the personal exemption allowance would increase the family’s taxable income by about $4,000 and expanding the sales tax base to include  more good and services means the couple would also spend a larger share of its income on sales taxes. As the couple works to meet their family’s needs, they wonder who actually benefits from the tax plan that is touted as a great thing for North Carolina.