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Things aren’t looking so great in North Carolina policy and politics these days, but here’s one good thing:

We aren’t Florida or Colorado or Michigan or one of several other states that have regressive tax initiatives on their ballots this fall.

The folks at Citizens for Tax Justice have compiled the list and this post on Think Progress this morning highlights the three worst: Read More

In case you missed them, there were two very different but equally powerful history lessons that were made available online in recent days:

#1 – The first came from a professor of history, Duke University’s William Chafe, whose op-ed in Raleigh’s News & Observer provided a refresher course on the close link between the rise and fall of the middle class and our ebbing and flowing societal commitment to public investments.

#2 – The second came from author Larkin Warren whose piece for the New York Times (“I Was a Welfare Mother”) provides a powerful refutation of those who seek to “divide and conquer” or simply ignore the Americans who find themselves, at times, “dependent” on public assistance.

Great stuff.

If you’re trying to make sense out of this constantly shifting debate about the supposed percentage of Americans who are “dependent,” check out this post by Mike Konczai at The Next New Deal .

In it, he explores where some of these numbers that are getting thrown around came from and what the people behind them are really trying to accomplish. 

“The right is splitting over whether or not the 47 percent argument is worth defending. It’s important to understand that, while it is true that 47 percent of households don’t pay a federal income tax, the distribution of the tax burden isn’t what the 47 percent theory is about. The 47 percent theory is all about grand political battles. My colleague Mark Schmitt has one examination of where this theory comes from hereBrian Beutler also investigates the background of the 47 percent meme, and Kevin Drum does a history of the EITC here. Read More

Today the Budget & Tax Center released a brief, “North Carolina’s Earned Income Tax Credit: A Support to Working Families with Widespread Benefits”, that presents county level data on the number of working families receiving the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Among the facts offered about the credit:

  • The state EITC provides workers earning low wages with a credit to offset their total state and local tax contributions. The state EITC was worth 5 percent of the federal EITC to a family claiming the credit in 2010.
  • Recently available data from the N.C. Department of Revenue show that more than 883,000 North Carolinians claimed the credit in 2010 and that they live in every county in the state.
  • National research on the EITC finds that the credit has reached nearly half of workers with children at some point and the majority received it for a short period of time.

Click here to read the brief and to see how the credit boosts the economies of each of the state’s 100 counties.