On June 30th, over 70,000 long-term unemployed workers were abruptly cut off from their unemployment benefits and North Carolina became the only state to lose out on 100% federally-funded emergency benefits.

This “unemployment cliff” was created due to the June 30th implementation date of massive and unprecedented cuts to the state-funded unemployment benefits.  These cuts ran afoul of federal rules for emergency benefits, which require that states maintain existing benefit levels as long as the emergency federal benefits are available. States that flout these rules are no longer eligible for the federally-funded benefits.

And so, on June 30th, 70,000 jobless workers in North Carolina lost the benefits on which they relied to pay their bills and feed their families. Another 100,000 or so will not receive the emergency benefits the federal government has offered through the end of the year.

There is a rumor floating about that there is no point in further discussing the effective date of the UI benefit cuts since HB4 has been passed and signed by the governor. In truth, there is still time for the legislature to act. Read More


Gov. Pat McCrory seems to be repeating his mistakes, at least when it comes to explaining how and why 70,000 North Carolinians were cut-off from federal unemployment benefits on July 1.

The Republican governor told a Wilson Times reporter Wednesday that Democratic President Barack Obama could have made an exception for North Carolina and prevented the July 1 cut off, a not-so-accurate take on the situation that the governor gave  to reporters two days prior. (This was the same interview where McCrory said he routinely mingles with Moral Monday protesters though there have not been any reported sightings of him at the high-profile events.)

The problem is, McCrory’s blame on federal officials for North Carolina’s decision to cut off benefits for 70,000 unemployed residents isn’t accurate (as my colleague Chris Fitzsimon pointed out in his weekly Friday Follies column). It’s also not the first time McCrory was corrected about his mistake, after he made similar comments at a press conference Monday and his spokesperson acknowledged those mistakes that day.

Here’s a more detailed breakdown of who said what, who reported what, and when. Read More


Pat McCrory 4Say what?!

Yesterday I had a conversation with Wilson Times reporter Janet Conner-Knox who read me a quote from Gov. McCrory that I simply could not believe I heard. This morning she reported it in this story. Here’s the excerpt:


McCrory said he has come out to hear what protesters are not happy about on the Moral Monday protests.

‘I go out in the crowd all of the time,’ McCrory said. ‘Frankly, yesterday I went out and talked to several of them and they were not very respectful. They did not represent the majority of those who call themselves moral by cussing me out. But that’s the way things go some times.’”

Got that? According to the Governor, he has been a regular attendee at Moral Mondays. Read More


From this morning’s NYT:

“Every Monday since April, thousands of North Carolina residents have gathered at the State Capitol to protest the grotesque damage that a new Republican majority has been doing to a tradition of caring for the least fortunate. Nearly 700 people have been arrested in the “Moral Monday” demonstrations, as they are known. But the bad news keeps on coming from the Legislature, and pretty soon a single day of the week may not be enough to contain the outrage.

In January, after the election of Pat McCrory as governor, Republicans took control of both the executive and legislative branches for the first time since Reconstruction. Since then, state government has become a demolition derby, tearing down years of progress in public education, tax policy, racial equality in the courtroom and access to the ballot.

The cruelest decision by lawmakers went into effect last week: ending federal unemployment benefits for 70,000 residents. Another 100,000 will lose their checks in a few months. Those still receiving benefits will find that they have been cut by a third, to a maximum of $350 weekly from $535, and the length of time they can receive benefits has been slashed from 26 weeks to as few as 12 weeks….”

Read the rest by clicking here.


Pat McCrory 4As the national news and opinion stories about North Carolina’s recent disastrous policy turns (especially the decision to terminate federal emergency unemployment benefits) pile up, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is not good news for any political aspirations that Gov. Pat McCrory might harbor.

While conservatives will dismiss stories in the New York Times, Time, the BBC and various national magazines as merely the work of the “liberal media,” the plain truth is that no one is going to develop any kind of positive national political profile with such coverage. Oh sure, McCrory can — like Scott Walker before him — win the plaudits of Fox News and the Washington Times, but that is simply not going to cut it in the long run with the bulk of the mainstream national political establishment. This is especially true if, Read More