NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 46 min ago

WRAL prepares “NC school systems by the numbers”

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 16:50
In time for the arrival of the new school year, Raleigh-based WRAL has prepared a statewide database of student performance measures in order to compare school districts. It’s another tool for number-crunchers seeking to draw some conclusions about the unvarnished state of education in North Carolina today. From WRAL: In honor of a new school ...

What can NC do to lower premiums in the Marketplace? Expand Medicaid.

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 14:18
Earlier today, the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a report showing that premiums for health insurance plans on the Marketplace were 7% lower in states that had expanded eligibility for the Medicaid program as called for by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). So not only would closing the coverage gap create ...

Strip malls, amusement parks and gated communities for the rich: America without its national parks

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 12:42
Today is the 100th anniversary of a truly great American public institution — the National Park Service. To commemorate the anniversary, the NPS itself is promoting a host of events on this dedicated website. Other groups and media outlets are also weighing in as well. This story from USA Today, which features a great three ...

Duke Energy, Ken Rudo’s leaked deposition and the rights of the press

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 09:45
The public wasn’t supposed to know about the sordid details of the coal ash contamination. Duke Energy had ensured their secrecy through a legal maneuver to seal deposition, keeping their contents out of public view. But now that the secrets, at least some of them, have been aired, first by the Associated Press, Duke wants to know ...

Today’s “must read” – Toxic waste site in Columbus County shows impact of lax environmental protection efforts

Thu, 08/25/2016 - 08:51
It seems that hardly a day goes by in Raleigh anymore in which some conservative politician, corporate lobbyist or right-wing think tanker isn’t complaining about “burdensome environmental regulations.” The result of this drumbeat over the past five years, of course, has been the dismantling of the state’s environmental protection laws and the agency that was ...

Welfare reform doesn’t reflect our best ideas about addressing poverty

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 15:07
This blog is the 4th post in a series that will detail how lawmakers have weakened Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) over the past 20 years, explain why TANF is a cautionary tale rather than a model for other work and income support programs, and map out a better way forward. As North Carolina ...

Frack-o-nomics: Short-term gains, long-term problems

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 14:17
Aubrey Hilliard had just eaten a meal of chicken-fried steak and lemon meringue pie when a friend Mitchell George entered the diner. The year was 1978, the place, Jacksboro, Texas, in the Fort Worth drilling basin. “Check this out,” George told Hilliard, himself an oil and gas guy. “We’re drilling a horizontal well.” The company ...

Wow…just wow. Lt. Governor Dan Forest explains “transgenderism”

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 11:20
North Carolina’s Lt. Governor Dan Forest (pictured at left) has never made much of a secret about his extreme positions on the issues of the day. You can click here for a partial summary. Forest’s latest statements in defense of North Carolina’s all-purpose LGBT discrimination law, House Bill 2, however, take things to a new ...

Thom Tillis tells a tall tale about telecom

Wed, 08/24/2016 - 07:45
If you get a minute this morning, be sure to check out the outstanding letter to the editor that appears in Raleigh’s News & Observer from former North Carolina state lawmaker, Bill Faison. In it, Faison, shreds the lame, lobbyist-inspired excuses proffered by U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (pictured at left) for his kowtowing to powerful ...

They cut taxes on the top 1% by how much?!!

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 15:05
Sometimes, the brazenness of conservative politicians in crafting public policy to benefit themselves and their rich patrons is just too much to be believed. Take, for instance, Gov. Pat McCrory and the North Carolina General Assembly. A new brief from the fiscal policy wonks at the N.C. Budget and Tax Center paints a truly remarkable ...

Punishing immigrants for being immigrants: Another component of U.S. welfare “reform” hits age 20

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 12:55
This is the third blog post in a series that will detail how lawmakers have weakened Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF) over the last 20 years, explain why TANF is a cautionary tale rather than a model for other work and income support programs, and map out a better way forward. Emma Lazarus’s 1883 ...

Scathing new report: Racism, bias and prosecutor misconduct plague “dying” U.S. death penalty

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 10:34
The Fair Punishment Project at Harvard Law School is out with a damning new report this morning that seems certain to put another nail in the coffin of the death penalty in the United States. This is from the release that accompanied “Too Broken to Fix: Part I — An In-depth Look at America’s Outlier ...

Editorial: NC voucher program = “discrimination tax”

Tue, 08/23/2016 - 08:49
The lead editorial in this morning’s edition of the Greensboro News & Record provides an apt characterization of North Carolina’s school voucher (aka “opportunity scholarships”) program. It calls the program a “discrimination tax.” As Chris Fitzsimon first publicized a few weeks back, the voucher program funnels state dollars to private schools that, among other objectionable ...

Twenty years later, TANF does little to relieve poverty and hardship

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 15:29
This blog is the second post in a series that will detail how lawmakers have weakened Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) over the past 20 years, explain why TANF is a cautionary tale rather than a model for other work and income support programs, and map out a better way forward. TANF does little ...

Charter advocate calls for class-action lawsuit against North Carolina counties over funding

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 15:23
Marcus Brandon—former Democratic representative in the N.C. General Assembly, Guilford County resident, and, through the group Carolina CAN, a staunch advocate for school choice in North Carolina—admits he only achieved two of his top three goals in this year’s legislative session. The so-called “achievement school district” model, a controversial means for charter takeovers of a handful of low-performing ...

Texas judge’s decision should have no impact on HB2 lawsuit

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 13:54
A decision this morning by a conservative federal district court judge in Texas purporting to enjoin the Obama administration from implementing directives to aid transgender students in the public schools should have no impact on the HB2 lawsuit that currently sits in the courtroom of another conservative federal judge here in North Carolina. As AP ...

In lambasting the left over Jeffrey Warren, Senator Phil Berger forgets about the conservative hires in higher ed

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 11:37
Senate leader Phil Berger is miffed. He can ram through legislation and help orchestrate a GOP takeover of the General Assembly, but he can’t seem to get his friends hired at UNC. Last week, NCPW reported extensively on Berger’s science adviser, Jeffrey Warren, and his bid to lead a UNC environmental think tank — the North Carolina ...

Recovery held back by fiscal austerity

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 09:55
To hear it told this election season, North Carolina’s recovery is something to behold.  Nevermind the evidence that employment levels remain depressed and hardship high. Researchers from the Economic Policy Institute released a study this weekend that suggests that were it not for the policy choices North Carolina policymakers have made (and their Congressional counterparts), North ...

The best editorial of the weekend: The truth about education spending

Mon, 08/22/2016 - 07:00
The lead Sunday editorial in Raleigh’s News & Observer is a “must read” for anyone trying to make sense of the claims suddenly emanating from conservative politicians (and flooding the TV and radio airwaves) that they just love public schools and spending big bucks on teacher pay. As the N&O rightfully points out: “Instead of investing ...

Positive spin about the NC economy is simply not borne out by the numbers (Updated)

Fri, 08/19/2016 - 15:24
Conservative think tankers and elected officials continue to make grand claims about a supposed “Carolina Comeback,” but as Dr. Patrick McHugh of the N.C. Budget and Tax Center explained in a release this afternoon, the numbers tell a different story: North Carolina still not seeing people get back into the labor market ‘We keep hearing ...

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