NC Policy Watch's the Progessive Pulse

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Updated: 1 hour 28 min ago

Powerful graph explains how ALEC-inspired constitutional amendment ignores reality

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 12:15
At the heart of the Senate’s controversial “TABOR” constitutional amendment is the notion that state spending growth would be limited from year to year to the combined rates of population growth plus inflation growth. Inflation is defined as the percentage rise in the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index (CPI). At first blush, ...

TABOR: Wrong for women and families

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 11:33
More evidence is mounting everyday that the investment-killer known as TABOR would be disastrous for North Carolina. Now, NC Women United has compiled a tremendous list of reasons that TABOR will jeopardize the future of NC’s women and families. By imposing artificial spending limits that aren’t related to economic reality, we will miss the chance ...

Governor McCrory: Obsessing over the arrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 08:47
Sometimes, you have to wonder how Governor Pat McCrory prioritizes the issues to which he will devote his attention. Right now, the General Assembly is in the midst of one of the momentous — and potentially damaging — stretches in recent state history. An interminable and increasingly destructive budget impasse, the serious consideration of a ...

How long could proposed constitutional budget amendment impact education spending? “Forever.” (w/video)

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 20:28
The Senate gave final approval Wednesday to a proposed constitutional budget amendment that could sharply restrict state spending in future years, if the measure passes the state House and wins approval by the voters next year. Senate Bill 607, which passed on 3rd reading 31-14, would cap the state’s personal income tax rate at 5 ...

Sweepstakes industry corruption: How far does it go? What should be done?

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 15:34
NC Policy Watch presents a Crucial Conversation luncheon — Sweepstakes industry corruption: How far does it go? What should be done? Click here to register Featuring Bob Hall, Executive Director of Democracy North Carolina It’s been almost a decade since the efforts of a determined group of nonprofit watchdogs, led by Democracy North Carolina Executive ...

LaRoque gets delay in prison report date

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 11:21
Stephen LaRoque has a bit more time before he needs to report to prison. LaRoque, a former Republican state representative from Kinston, was supposed to head to prison within a month of his July 8 sentencing. But it appears he’s been given an extension. The U.S. Marshals Service and U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh both ...

Amazing graph shows what NC would look like had Senate’s constitutional amendments been enacted in 1992

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 10:26
Now that experts have had at least a few hours to begin to analyze the North Carolina Senate’s radical ALEC-inspired proposal to impose permanent, constitutional changes to North Carolina’s budget and tax structure, some remarkable findings are emerging.  Consider the following from the numbers wonks at the Budget and Tax Center: “If the spending formula ...

Yet another editorial weighs in against Senate’s ALEC-inspired constitutional amendments

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 09:20
This morning, it’s the Fayetteville Observer that’s blasting the North Carolina Senate’s radical plan to enshrine artificial and debilitating spending caps in the state constitution. Here’s the excellent conclusion: “What happens in the next big financial turndown if revenues drop precipitously and there isn’t enough money to maintain our public schools? Do we just start ...

Senators advance constitutional amendment, reject proposal to focus on teacher pay (video)

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 06:10
State senators  are expected to give final approval this afternoon a constitutional amendment that would have voters decide next year on placing strict limits on future spending while capping the state’s personal income tax rate at five percent. On Tuesday, Senator Terry Van Duyn sought to amend Senate Bill 607 to hold off on enacting ...

Statement on tentative approval by Senate of suite of flawed constitutional amendments

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 16:10
The radical changes to the state Constitution passed out of the Senate today puts policymakers’ primary responsibility of creating a budget each year on auto-pilot. These arbitrary and flawed formulas for spending growth and income tax collections will reduce revenue by nearly $2 billion annually and restrict access to the state’s rainy day fund in ...

Rainy days would be here to stay

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 13:33
Last night on the Senate floor, the initial debate about a suite of constitutional changes that would undercut our state’s economy focused on having North Carolina voters weigh in on all three changes in one vote in March 2016. These changes would: Limit investments in education, health, and other services through a rigid, arbitrary, and fundamentally ...

School voucher proponents renew marketing efforts as lawmakers consider program’s expansion

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 11:20
The push to get folks to sign up for North Carolina’s controversial school voucher program — now ruled constitutional by the state’s highest court — is back on with new mailers and a video encouraging parents to get a private school education for their child at the taxpayer’s expense as lawmakers consider expanding the program nearly ...

Environmentalists highlight legislation that could undermine gains made in protecting NC water quality (w/ video)

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 10:50
This morning in Wake Forest, the mayor of Morrisville is joining the Upper Neuse Riverkeeper and a prominent water resources scientist near the dam at Falls Lake to highlight water quality protections that could be jeopardized by pending legislation in the General Assembly. Here’s more from the NC Sierra Club: The policy in question is ...

Groups ask U.S. Justice Department to investigate solitary confinement in North Carolina

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 10:25
Just in from the ACLU of NC: “A coalition of human rights groups yesterday sent a letter asking the United States Department of Justice to open an investigation into the use of solitary confinement in North Carolina prisons. The letter comes weeks after President Obama ordered the Justice Department to review the use of solitary ...

Another editorial blasts “zany” Koch Brothers/ALEC-inspired tax proposal

Tue, 08/11/2015 - 07:57
Yesterday, the Charlotte Observer labeled the Senate’s latest plan to amend the state constitution to impose tax and spending cuts “a stink bomb” and  “a gimmick” and urged lawmakers to “let it die.” This morning, Raleigh’s News & Observer is equally complimentary: “The notion of constitutional amendments to cap the state income tax rate at 5 ...

Medicaid reform bill will not deliver on quality or predictability

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 15:54
Last week the Senate released it’s latest version of Medicaid reform calling it a compromise measure with the House. There are some changes to the Senate’s original proposal. Under the amended plan a new Department of Medicaid is created but it remains within the Governor’s purview. It also allows for regional provider led entities to ...

The Heien Effect

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 15:23
Remember the Heien case? That’s the case first reported by Policy Watch in April 2014 in which a Surry County Sheriff’s Officer pulled over a car for having a broken brake light and then — under the guise of a legitimate traffic stop — searched the car, found some cocaine and arrested the driver and the car’s owner, ...

One speech NC lawmakers should hear before finalizing the state budget (video)

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 14:15
In case you missed it last week, UNC-Chapel Hill chancellor Carol Folt addressed the National Press Club and delivered a powerful reminder of why state lawmakers must do more to make sure college remains accessible to low-income students. “We know that the lifetime earnings of someone with a college degree are considerably greater, ” explained ...

Portrayal of House Speaker as moderate shows how far out of whack things have gotten

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 12:06
Raleigh’s News & Observer ran a big profile of House Speaker Tim Moore over the weekend in which it highlighted the fact that Moore’s tenure has not quite matched the hard right ideological fervor of his predecessor, Thom Tillis, or the current leadership of the state Senate. At times, he’s even worked with Democrats to ...

The five worst decisions by the General Assembly in the past five years

Mon, 08/10/2015 - 08:28
Columnist Myron B. Pitts of the Fayetteville Observer has an excellent, if sobering, essay this morning about the North Carolina General Assembly. It’s entitled “State’s decisions, from bad to abysmal” and it attempts to rank the worst decisions made by North Carolina lawmakers over the past half decade. Admittedly, Pitts has carved out a daunting ...

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