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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

As you have probably read in many news outlets at this point, Gov McCrory has taken the somewhat surprising step of bestowing significant pay raises on his cabinet secretaries – as large as $13,200.  While some are complaining about the fiscal impact of the decision in such tough economic times, it seems that the more apt criticism involves the message it sends to the large mass of North Carolina workers (both public and private) who, if they’ve even been able to keep a job at all, have been eking by on flat salaries for years that average far, far less than what the cabinet secretaries make.

Moreover, McCrory’s statement in defense of his action — “I’m trying to make it at least where they can afford to live while running multibillion-dollar departments,” simply doesn’t wash. Any North Carolinian who can’t “live” in Raleigh on $121,807 per year — the salaries of the outgoing secretaries in the Perdue administration — has some serious issues that bespeak a significant  disconnect from the lives lived by their fellow citizens. This seems especially true for the people in question — all of whom appear to come from comfortable upper middle class and upper class existences already.

The bottom line: This is another surprisingly tin-eared step for a new Guv who has spent so much time talking about the tough economic times that grip our state.