New from the numbers wonks at the Budget and Tax Center:

Allowing the state Earned Income Tax Credit to expire would harm veterans, active-duty military, a new analysis finds

RALEIGH (July 2, 2013) – About 64,000 veteran and active-duty military families in North Carolina would be impacted by current tax plans, all of which allow the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit to expire. New analysis by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and state-level analysis by the Budget & Tax Center found that tens of thousands of military families in North Carolina would be affected.

The Senate tax plan (HB 998, Fifth edition) being debated later today allows the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to expire, increasing the tax load on tens of thousands of low-income soldiers, veterans, and their families while the wealthiest taxpayers and profitable corporations get a tax break. Read More


The next time someone asks you how it is that North Carolina’s elected leaders are undermining the public education in our state (not to mention the basics of democratic governance), direct them to this morning’s lead story on the main NC Policy Watch site by Education Reporter, Lindsay Wagner. Here’s the lead:

For two years now, Arapahoe Charter School in Pamlico County has been fighting the State Board of Education for approval to expand from a K-8 school to a K-12 school. After the Board denied its request, Arapahoe appealed, and the case remains pending before the state Office of Administrative Hearings.

Rather than wait for that process to play out, however, Arapahoe’s director, Tom McCarthy, tried a different approach. Read More


greenwayLast week I wrote about the large and immediate cut to pedestrian and bike greenway funding in the NC Senate’s version of the budget.  Well that budget cut is still in the final version.  It’s delayed for some current projects, but puts NC on the road (not bikeway) to funding elimination.  Some folks who have contacted their Senators are getting the usual attempt-to-confuse-the-issue answers from their representatives.  The particular line is the old unpopular budget cutter’s saw, “flexibility.”  As in:  “Oh, we are giving cities flexibility to fund greenways out of other pots of money, so this really isn’t a cut that hurts.”  Well, there is a cut, it is to greenways, and it will mean less money for building stuff other than roads.

Don’t believe me?  Look at NC Senator Apodaca’s quote in Bruce Siceloff’s N+O story yesterday.  I’d say it about sums it up:

Read More


SenateOne thing that’s become increasingly clear about the Senate “budget” bill that received final approval this morning is this: it’s a heckuva lot more than just a budget. As today’s edition of the Fitzsimon File highlights powerfully, a more apt moniker for the Appropriations Act of 2013 would be something like “the Right-Wing Legislative Catchall Act of 2013.” 

The darned thing includes a secretly-authored provision to move the State Bureau of Investigation, a new scheme to discourage hybrid and electric cars, a provision to funnel money to fake medical providers at so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” a provision to eliminate meaningful legal representaion for incarcerated individuals that had been ordered by the courts, a provision to repeal the law that mandates “Education Lottery” proceeds go to education,  as well as disastrous plans to decimate early childhood education and the health care provided to pregnant women. There are, of course, dozens of others.

The bottom line: While no one is denying the conservative majority in the Senate its right to pass whatever legislation it wants to put forth, Senator Berger and his cronies ought to at least have the decency to hold timely, publicly-noticed discussions of the ideas that they are acting to make the law of the land before they’re passed.

Failing that, they ought to at least alter the inaccurate and incomplete name attached to the massive statutory overhaul they just passed.


This just in from the Budget and Tax Center:

BTC Statement: Senate budget “fiscally irresponsible”
This budget harms the foundations of economic growth, sets stage for tax plan which will force most to pay more

RALEIGH (May 23, 2013) — The budget passed by the Senate today is fiscally irresponsible. Senators approved a spending plan without details on how they will pay for it. Instead, they put in a place-holder for their tax plan that will cost $770 million over two years, meaning higher taxes for middle- and low-income North Carolinians, and cuts to investments that are vital to our state’s economy.  Read More