NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 54 min ago

Still no evidence that tax cuts lead to prosperity

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 15:42
We still don’t know exactly what kind of tax and budget deal will emerge from the legislature when it wraps up business in the coming weeks, but it will likely include another round of tax cuts for large multi-state corporations. We’ve also seen an alarming push to bake further tax reductions and spending limits into ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 15:00
1. Disappointing news about a budget that’s almost two months late The news this week that legislative leaders will miss another deadline in their efforts to pass a two-year state budget that is now eight weeks overdue didn’t come as much of a surprise even though it’s disappointing and inexcusable. Schools began Monday across the ...

While state budget talks continue, new online college could get an invite (and state money) to come to NC

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 11:16
It’s certainly not the highest-profile issue, but the new $21.74 billion state budget (whenever it does get passed) could usher in a new approach to higher education in the state. Earlier House and Senate versions of the budget endorsed giving Western Governors University, an online-based higher education system, a bigger footprint in the state, and ...

‘Simplistic and inflexible’ TABOR would handcuff future NC legislatures

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 11:00
The latest warning about the proposed Taxpayer Bill of Rights comes from the editorial board of the Fayetteville Observer. Editors warn in Friday’s paper that the proposed constitutional amendment (that must still pass the House) might sound alluring, but would have many unintended consequences: The concept is a lot like mandatory sentencing, which took away ...

Why the smear campaign against Planned Parenthood is backfiring

Fri, 08/28/2015 - 08:16
This morning’s North Carolina news media “must read” comes from Greensboro News & Record  columnist Susan Ladd. In her column, Ladd explains exactly why the latest manufactured smear campaign against Planned Parenthood is just that: “Because of its nationwide network of providers, Planned Parenthood is the largest provider of abortion services in the country, but abortions ...

Raises resolved, time to focus on educators’ other two Rs: Resources and Respect

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 19:20
$750. That’s the pay raise state workers and most teachers can expect this fiscal year. Budget negotiators ended the suspense Wednesday in announcing the one-time bonuses. (Starting teachers can expect to earn $35,000 annually.) State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson now wants lawmakers to finish the rest of the budget so public school districts ...

Australia’s positive experience with stronger gun regulations

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 15:23
Scott Lemieux of The Guardian has written a fine article about yesterday’s horrific murder-suicide tragedy in Virgina that’s worth your time. Here’s one of the best parts: “It is true – as apologists for the status quo will be sure to point out – that it is impossible to know whether today’s murder specifically could ...

Legislators approve third extension of temporary budget as negotiations continue

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 10:45
Legislators approved a third budget extension today as the House and Senate leadership continue efforts to iron out a final budget deal. The existing temporary budget, known officially as a Continuing Resolution, is set to expire on Monday. If signed by the Governor, the newest extension will keep public programs and services operating through September ...

If you like latest state pay “raises,” you’ll love ALEC-inspired TABOR amendment

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 09:35
A one-time, $750 “bonus.” That’s what most North Carolina state employees will get as a “pay increase” as a result of the new budget deal at the General Assembly. That’s about $10 per week after taxes. Not much, we know, but if the state Senate has its way, such a “raise” may soon seem downright ...

ICYMI: Sweepstakes industry corruption: How far does it go? What should be done? (Full Video)

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 06:25
If you weren’t able to attend NC Policy Watch’s Crucial Conversation with the Executive Director of Democracy North Carolina, that full program is now available online. This week’s event featured watchdog Bob Hall discussing the large and potentially illegal campaign contributions from individuals affiliated with the controversial “sweepstakes” industry to some of North Carolina’s top ...

TABOR would guarantee a permanent place at the bottom for North Carolina

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 16:08
State lawmakers would like to amend North Carolina’s state constitution in ways that would undermine our ability to adequately meet the needs of a growing and changing state and impede our ability to build today for a strong economy for the future. These amendments would reduce annual state revenue by nearly $2 billion if implemented ...

Public School Forum’s new study group to seek solutions to racial inequity in schools

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 15:51
The Public School Forum of NC announced Wednesday it’s forming a new study group — and, possibly, a new center — to seek solutions to racial inequities and unfair funding formulas found in North Carolina’s schools. Using the following question as the foundation for its work, “what would it take to provide every child in North Carolina ...

Just in: House, Senate reach deal on teacher & state employee pay raises

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 14:59
The News & Observer is reporting that House and Senate leaders have reached an agreement on how much to pay teachers and state employees next year. Making good on last year’s promise, beginning teachers will see their base pay rise to $35,000 per year, up from $33,000 that was enacted last year. All other experienced ...

Medicaid expansion: the state-by-state picture

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 14:08
The legislative debate over Medicaid reform over the last two weeks once again revealed the Senate’s misplaced priorities – profits over people. The health of North Carolinians was not only compromised by pushing reform that employs commercial insurers and dismantling Community Care North Carolina (CCNC), but also by failing to expanding Medicaid to the half ...

Actual North Carolina unemployment still in double digits

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 13:37
As state leaders deride the unemployed as lazy good-for-nothings and slash their insurance benefits, the news about finding a job job remains discouraging for a large swath of North Carolinians. Here’s the latest sobering news about the “Carolina Comeback” from economist Patrick McHugh: “Unemployment is still a major problem in North Carolina. The headline unemployment ...

New video explains destructive impact of wood pellet industry in eastern NC

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 11:02
This new video from the folks at the Dogwood Alliance is worth four-plus minutes of your time: Read more by clicking here.

The terrorism that actually threatens America

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 09:23
[This post has been updated to correct a duplicate link.] The gun insanity continues. Another average morning, another whirlwind of horrific stories about innocent people in and around us dying (or having their lives endangered) senselessly because criminals and crazy people have easy access to killing machines: In Virginia, two young journalists gunned down in ...

Veteran reporter blasts Guv, lawmakers over unemployment insurance cuts

Wed, 08/26/2015 - 08:20
Veteran Raleigh News & Observer political reporter Rob Christensen, a confirmed centrist who has sometimes frustrated progressives down through the years with his extremely high tolerance for conservative policy blather, is right on the money this morning with a new and powerful takedown of the state’s Scrooge-like unemployment insurance policies. In addition to explaining and ...

Minority leader: Ongoing budget delays will cost North Carolina qualified educators (Audio)

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 14:31
Could a third continuing budget resolution be on the horizon? Some of the state’s top budget negotiators acknowledge they may not have the budget finalized by their August 31st deadline, prompting lawmakers to pass a third continuing resolution. House Minority Leader Larry D. Hall of Durham tells NC Policy Watch some have suggested that school ...

North Carolina’s waning support extends to both ends of education pipeline

Tue, 08/25/2015 - 13:03
As North Carolina students embark upon a new school year, lots of media coverage has focused on waning state-level support for public schools. This waning support extends beyond public schools to both ends of the education pipeline – early childhood and higher education. Whereas North Carolina should be boosting investments in its entire education pipeline ...