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Another day, another giant backward step for the future of North Carolina. This morning we got the conformation of what we’ve been expecting to see for months now – North Carolina will be the latest state to consider school vouchers.

In an “exclusive interview” with the John Locke Foundation, Paul Stam laid out his $90 million plan to bleed our public schools of money while enriching corporations, all at the expense of our children.  And his reasoning for this program? Why, to save money, of course.

It now costs state and local governments $6,745 to educate a typical child in public school, and $8,414 when including federal allocations, according to Stam. The average opportunity scholarship is expected to be $3,990, according to a fiscal analysis memorandum by the legislative Fiscal Research Division.

Keep in mind that North Carolina is already near the bottom (two from the bottom, actually) of what we spend on a per-pupil basis. Stam’s proposal would further reduce our spending by more than $17 million for the 2013-2014 school year, and more than $25 million in the next school year, according to the fiscal analysis.  Read More

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Two things to contemplate on this lovely, globally warm afternoon:

1) Sue Sturgis at Facing South has a fine new post about the questionable industry folk who shepherded North Carolina lawmakers on a fracking “fact” finding mission last fall. As you can imagine, the main company in question is a real paragon of public-spirited corporate virtue.

2) Here’s how the dialogue should have gone between Rep. Becky Carney and House Speaker Tillis  in the aftermath of her accidental and deciding vote in favor of the fracking bill (and how it would have gone had Tillis ever tried to live up to his pledges about transparency of honest government):

Rep. Carney: “Mr. Speaker, I need to raise a point of order: I accidentally voted ‘aye’ when I meant to vote ‘no.'”

Speaker TilisRead More

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Be sure to check out the Fitzsimon File today. In it, Chris does a great job of exploring and explaining the lame explanations and recent grumpiness of the chief sponsor of the marriage discrimination amendment, Rep. Paul Stam.

You see, those of us who raise questions about the amendment’s breadth are worrying about nothing. According to Rev./Rep. Stam we (and the law professors who echo our concerns) are “loopy.”

As Chris notes:

“In Stam’s world, no dissent goes un-insulted. He has to be the smartest person in the room and he wants us to trust him, even when it comes to writing vague language about discrimination in the state’s fundamental document.

No thanks.”

You can read the entire piece by clicking here.

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The watchdogs at Democracy NC released the following sad but not surprising report earlier this morning:

For Release Tuesday, February 28, 2012 — Contact: Bob Hall, 919-489-1931

Amended Report from Speaker Thom Tillis Reveals Large Donations from Industry He Helped

A revised campaign disclosure report filed by House Speaker Thom Tillis earlier this month reveals that he received more than $20,000 last October from a special-interest group whose priority legislation he pushed through the House despite stiff opposition from consumer advocates and the United States military. Read More