Archives

lunch

Here are some of the important policy matters we’re watching at mid-week:

Wos Watch: Reporters Laura Leslie of WRAL, Joe Neff and Lynn Bonner of the News & Observer have the scoop on the latest wacky hire at the Department of Health and Human Services. Meanwhile, Travis Fain of the Greensboro News & Record has compiled a list of what might be termed Aldona’s Greatest Hits (or Misses).

Greed and inequality watch: There’s another report out panning the so-called “Trans-Pacific Partnership.” According to researcher David Rosnick of the Center for Economic Policy Research, most U.S. workers would actually experience a net negative impact from the proposed trade deal that’s currently under negotiation And, of course, you can learn lots more about this critical but underreported story at next Thursday’s NC Policy Watch Crucial Conversation luncheon with global trade expert Lori Wallach of the group Public Citizen. Some seats still remain – click here for more info.

Greed and inequality watch – Part II: National Common Cause chairperson and veteran economic justice advocate Robert Reich appears to be garnering quite a bit of well-deserved attention for his new flick: “Inequality for All.” You can watch the official trailer here and an extended interview with Jon Stewart here.  

Knuckleheaded bigot watch: Read More

From the good people at Common Cause NC:

North Carolina kills pre-registration law as Colorado enacts its own.

As North Carolina repeals the law allowing 16 & 17 year olds to pre-register to vote, Colorado becomes the 9th state in the nation to adopt such a law.

Earlier this month, Governor Pat McCrory signed into law the bill (H589) to end the pre-registration program, five days after Colorado’s new law went into effect.

“It’s a real mystery why the legislature and the Governor feel a program that enhanced high school civics education and allowed 16 & 17 year olds to pre-register to vote has to end,” said Bob Phillips, Common Cause North Carolina executive director.  

“The program was virtually cost free and helped young people understand the importance of voting. How can that possibly be a bad thing?”   Read More

The tax deal authored by Gov. McCrory and legislative leaders may be on the way to becoming law, but it is being greeted with great skepticism by folks in the know.

Raleigh’s News & Observer:

“This is not reform. This is not revising the tax code to plug holes and ensure fairness and create a system whereby there is reliable revenue from one year to the next. This is simply cutting taxes for the people most able to pay them and pandering to the business lobby. The governor also continues to hype the notion that, by cutting taxes,North Carolina will signal it is “open for business” and be more competitive with neighboring states.”

The Charlotte Observer: Read More

Yesterday marked th fourth annivesary of the date on which Raleigh’s’ News & Observer reported the following about an attack on the leadership of the General Assembly by then-Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger:

“Senate Republican leader Sen. Phil Berger said it’s another example of Democrats’ incompetence that the state doesn’t have a budget 14 days into the fiscal year.

‘For the average person, when they have a deadline and they need to get something done, they are held accountable,’ said Berger, an Eden Republican, at the weekly Republican news conference.”

The attack, of course, came during a time in which leaders were grappling with a huge budget crisis brought on by the worldwide Great Recession. No word yet on whether Berger plans to apologize this week for his  2009 remarks in light of the failure of the 2013 session to reach a budget deal during a period of what are, by comparion, good economic times.

The newest (5th version) of the Senate tax plan is said to be a modified version that addresses various concerns in early versions of the plan. Nevertheless, the bill maintains its core elements – huge tax cuts for the wealthy and profitable corporations and significant revenue loss – and returns to expanding the sales tax to more goods and services (though not as comprehensive as one of the earliest versions) in an effort to reduce the revenue loss slightly from the prior $1.3 billion to now nearly $1 billion.

The repeated claim made by Senator Berger and proponents that all taxpayers would see an income tax cut under the modified tax plan is simply not true. Cutting the personal income tax rate may appear to benefit all taxpayers but it doesn’t and the tax plan has many other moving parts that will shift the tax load to low- and middle-income taxpayers. For example, by eliminating the personal exemption allowance, the state EITC, and the additional standard deduction allowance for seniors, many taxpayers fare worse under the newest Senate plan compared to current tax laws.

Below are examples of particular taxpayer profiles in which the taxpayer would pay more in income taxes under the newest Senate plan. Read More