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Adam Searing has an important op-ed today over on the main Policy Watch site about the bogus attacks leveled against the state Medicaid program last week by Governor McCrory, HHS Secretary Aldona Wos and State Auditor Beth Wood.

Critics of North Carolina’s Medicaid program – the publicly-funded health insurance program for adults and children of low income – made some headlines in recent days by touting a new state audit that supposedly showed a large and previously unreported budget deficit. The critics, who included Governor McCrory and his State Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos, claimed that Medicaid had gone $375 over budget with state dollars and more than $1 billion over budget when federal dollars are included.

At the Governor’s news conference announcing the audit, DHHS Secretary Wos, lectured the Medicaid section of her agency: “Cost overruns will not be tolerated and will not be acceptable …There’s a budget for a reason.”

Conservatives are also using this audit as a reason for the state not to expand the Medicaid program to cover a half-million uninsured people as made possible by Obamacare (even though the expansion would be financed almost completely by the federal government).

There’s just one problem with McCrory and Wos’ conclusion: It’s bogus.

Read the entire column by clicking here.

Pat McCrory 4Any notion folks may have had that North Carolina’s new governor would be playing a leading role in crafting the state’s policy agenda this year seems to have already been partially dispelled on the first day of the 2013 legislative session.

Right out of the box, without any apparent involvement of Governor McCrory (or even a nod in his direction), Senate and House leaders have seized the initiative by introducing major, hard right proposals on such subjects as Read More

According to Raleigh’s News & Observer,  this morning, Governor McCrory made the following rather embarrassing statements to right-wing talk show host, “morals” crusader and and high-rolling casino patron Bill Bennett:

“I think some of the educational elite have taken over our education where we are offering courses that have no chance of getting people jobs.”

“If you want to take gender studies that’s fine, go to a private school and take it. But I don’t want to subsidize that if that’s not going to get someone a job.”

He also promised to advance legislation to make higher education appropriations “not based on how many butts [are] in seats but how many of those butts can get jobs.”

He went on to say that “Right now we pay based on how many students you have, not how many jobs you are getting people into.”

This afternoon, UNC President Tom Ross issued the following classy and common sense statement in response:  Read More

The 2013 debate around tax reform started in earnest last week.  After the Senate leadership recently announced its support for eliminating personal and corporate income taxes and relying on the sales tax to raise most of the more than $12 billion in lost revenue, various folks have been weighing.

We put out an analysis last week on the impact of this plan as outlined by the Civitas Institute and Arthur Laffer’s consulting firm. These changes would mean a huge shift in the tax load to poor and middle-income North Carolina taxpayers and generous benefits to the wealthiest individuals.  And the plan doesn’t generate the economic returns that are so often promised with such proposals. Read More

Take The 350 ChallengeCommunity leaders challenge Gov. McCrory to live on reduced unemployment benefits for one week

Group says Governor has no idea how much pain he will cause lower and middle class families with new law.

Raleigh, NC – A group of community leaders and advocates are calling on newly-elected Governor McCrory to literally put his money where his mouth is and commit to live for one week on the maximum unemployment benefit of $350 that is being proposed by the North Carolina General Assembly. Read More