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Together NC is a coalition of scores of small and large nonprofits throughout the state. Here is their take on the budget “compromise” working its way through the General Assembly: 

“RALEIGH (July 24, 2013) — The budget compromise between the North Carolina House and Senate likely to be passed this week and signed by Governor McCrory is indeed a compromise. This budget compromises our valued public investments such as K-12 education, community colleges, universities, and the quality of life in our state.

The tax plan signed into law today exacts over a $600 million price tag to our state at the same time that the budget proposes to cut teachers and teaching assistants, increase class sizes, increase tuition at community colleges, reduce NC Pre-K slots, defund drug treatment courts and cut funding for affordable housing projects. These are only a few of the damaging cuts this budget enacts.

The path to prosperity and competitiveness for North Carolina takes a devastating blow by underinvesting in education at all levels and our state will now have a deeper hole to dig itself out of to get back on track.”

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On Friday of last week, the good people at Together NC delivered an open letter to Gov. McCrory, House Speaker Tillis, Senate President Pro Tem Berger and the other members of the General Assembly regarding the ongoing behind-closed-doors negotiations over the state budget. Here’s the opening:

“We are more than 100 North Carolina groups and thousands more North Carolinians who want to make North Carolina a better place. We aren’t a national organization and we don’t have significant resources to secure your vote; but what we do have is a commitment to our state and a belief that North Carolina can be the best place in the country to live, work and do business if we invest in our schools and communities.

As you negotiate a tax and budget plan this weekend, we urge you to reject the current proposals – they are bad for North Carolinians and bad for our economy. North Carolinians are proud of our state’s long tradition of coming together to invest in families, communities, and our state’s future. That’s why the people of North Carolina have asked for your leadership in identifying solutions to the state’s economic challenges that don’t undermine our neighborhood schools, world-class universities, and safe communities.

Cutting taxes for the rich and profitable corporations is not a job creation strategy and it won’t address our economic challenges. Instead we should be focusing on investments to support emerging research and technology, strengthen new industries, and train and educate our children and workforce for the jobs of the future….

Read the entire letter by clicking here.

NC Budget and Tax Center

The Senate budget proposal currently being discussed in the Senate chamber will be passed without a review of the Senate tax plan. What we do know of that plan, however, is that it will subject food and prescription drugs to an increased sales tax, thereby further shifting the responsibility for funding government onto middle- and low-income families. As the graphic below from Together NC illustrates (click on it to see a larger version), middle- and low-income families pay a much higher percentage of their income on food and medicine than do wealthy individuals, meaning a much harder hit on their pocket books.

FoodMedicine2 (3)

NC Budget and Tax Center

The North Carolina Senate’s tax reform plan released today is long on promises and short on details. It is unclear how fair the purported “Tax Fairness Plan” will prove to be. Several red flags are raised by this plan, which should raise the alarm for all those concerned with a budget and tax system that supports economic opportunity and the foundation of economic growth.

One red flag is the surprising lack of details about how tax cuts will be offset by expanding the sales tax base enough to keep our vital services and infrastructure in place.

Another red flag is that this plan does not purport nor attempt to raise the same level of revenue as the state is currently taking in. The plan as outlined by Senator Berger will result in at least one billion dollars in revenue loss—revenue that could be dedicated to important and necessary services and infrastructure in the state. For example, one billion dollars is equal to the entire community college system budget in North Carolina. Read More

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The good folks at Together NC will be holding a series of public forums over the coming days about state fiscal policy decisions and the impact they will have on local communities throughout the state. 

This is from the announcement:

Ever wonder how statewide budget decisions impact schools in Wake, Mecklenburg, Durham or Cumberland County? This is your chance to find out. Please join Together NC and our local partners for a public forum to learn about the impacts of funding decisions in these counties and across North Carolina.

WAKE COUNTY: Tuesday, October 9, 6:00 p.m., Crosspointe Church, 6911 Carpenter Fire Station Road, Cary, NC Read More