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Last night, the DREAMers did it again. They took a hopeful message and their own personal stories to a new audience, asking members of the Winston-Salem City Council to support a resolution on in-state tuition for North Carolina high school graduates, regardless of immigration status. The DREAMers keep insisting that our public policies must reflect our deepest values of fairness and equal opportunity, showing that the power of people is stronger than inhumane laws and a broken immigration system. Read More

Jordan lakeIt’s gotten to the point where scarcely a day goes by at the North Carolina General Assembly in which the honorables don’t work to repeal some basic environmental protection law or rule. Yesterday the good people at the Sierra Club were forced to issue two statements decrying actions by lawmakers to reverse modest, common sense rules to help protect our air and water:

#1 - NC Sierra Club Statement on House Passage of H 201, Building Code Rollbacks Read More

This is the first of a four-part blog series presenting voices from other states that have unsuccessfully pursued versions of comprehensive tax “reform.”

gbpi

Commentary provided by Alan Essig, Executive Director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute in Atlanta, GA.

As North Carolina considers major tax reform, it’s useful to take a look at a similar effort in Georgia a few years ago, because what started out as a plan to overhaul the state’s tax system in a responsible way that preserved important state investments quickly devolved into a proposal that put ideology and politics above the welfare of Georgians.

The core of Georgia’s problem was similar to what you are now seeing in North Carolina: the pursuit of drastic income tax cuts paired with a failure to replace this with another revenue source makes it impossible for a state to provide the services that people and businesses depend on every day, like roads, schools, and safe communities. Georgia wisely chose to reject such a proposal in 2011, just as North Carolina should this year. Read More

Comprehensive tax reform remains vague and “short on details” as the 2013 legislative session is beyond its halfway point. Nevertheless, stand-alone bills continue to make their way through the legislative process that would provide tax cuts to the state’s wealthiest individuals. Policymakers have just voted in the House to eliminate the estate tax and both the Senate leadership and the Governor have stated their commitment to do the same.

Proponents of eliminating the estate tax argue that the tax punishes small businesses and small farms in North Carolina. Evidence shows this claim to be false. The estate tax applies to a small number of taxpayers in North Carolina – less than one percent. For tax year 2011, only 23 North Carolina tax filers were subject to the estate tax, according to the North Carolina Department of Revenue. The reality is that the overwhelming majority of small businesses and small farms will not a pay an estate tax while heirs of the wealthiest estates in the state will. Read More

Student protest 2It’s beginning to look more and more like this will be a spring and summer of protest and direct action against the ongoing corporate takeover of state government. This week featured multiple demonstrations and 20 arrests of peaceful demonstrators in Raleigh.

Now, organizers are calling for another mass demonstration next Tuesday May 7 at 3:00 pm at the General Assembly. Stay tuned for more details.

Meanwhile, click here for information on how you can contribute to the legal defense fund for the students arrested yesterday. You can read more about the students’ positions and decisions by clicking here.