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Business groups and their conservative allies have been holding forth a great deal in recent weeks about their plans for altering some of the basic components of North Carolina’s tax and safety net systems. Today, Governor-elect McCrory even made the remarkably ill-informed and radical statement at an NC Bankers Association event that he didn’t know if he would allow North Carolina to accept federal unemployment insurance funds approved as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal

If you’re looking for alternative points of view that explore how we can modernize these critical systems without slashing essential services or harming working families, you owe it to yourself to attend next Monday’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation: “How North Carolina can fix its unemployment insurance system without harming workers and their families or the economy, featuring national employment law expert George Wentworth.”    

Click here for more information.

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These are interesting and confusing times in North Carolina politics. And with the hostile takeover of state government by chain store magnate Art Pope virtually complete, it looks like the lines will only get blurrier and more confusing. Check out this rather remarkable excerpt from a fundraiser sent out by the Pope-Civitas Institute on New Year’s Eve: 

Dear Friend, 

Big changes are happening here in the “Old North State”.

We have a new governor, and a more conservative legislature.

But that’s not the only news, two former Civitas staff members are now in responsible positions in state government. And we plan on holding them accountable! Read More

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Art popeWhen the rumor surfaced yesterday that arch-right-wing money bags and politcal attack ad king Art Pope would be Pat McCrory’s new budget director, there was a lot of denial amongst the folks we talk with over here at Policy Watch. Folks simply couldn’t believe that the new Guv would take such an outrageous and politically risky step.

This would be like a President Romney appointing the Koch brothers as his directors of the EPA and IRS.

But, here we are, 24 hours later, getting our arms around the idea that the man actually did it! Today’s edition of the Fitzsimon File will explore this momentous decision in more detail so be on the lookout, but here is a preliminary take:

In one fell swoop, before he’s even taken office, Pat McCrory has done at least three very ill-advised things: Read More

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We still don’t know a whole lot about North Carolina’s new Secretary of Health and Human Services-to-be Aldona Wos, but it does appear that she can be a compelling TV interview. Be sure to watch all three-plus minutes of the video below to see how convincing she was to an Estonian TV personality (a guy who seems to be some kind of Estonian Jon Stewart) as she extolled the genius of George W. Bush during her tenure as ambassador to the small Baltic nation.

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Looks like North Carolina’s Governor-elect  Pat McCrory is not interested in playing the silly Bev Perdue and Raleigh-bashing game enbraced with such gusto by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and the conservative shock troops at Americans for Prosperity.

In the first question at today’s press briefing. Jon Camp of ABC 11 asked McCrory for his thoughts on Perdue’s busy last few weeks in office and the hubbub in some circles surrounding her decision to lease the Dorothea Dix campus to the City of Raleigh.

Here’s what he said:

“She’s the governor. That’s how I feel about it. She has the authority to make those moves. And I uh…I’d expressed my opinion earlier on the Dix — I wish we could’ve waited. I’m, I’m all for the park.” Read More