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Updated: 2 hours 43 min ago

New jobs bill takes wrong turn on incentives

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 11:49
North Carolina needs serious policy solutions that create real jobs, but if the new economic development legislation unveiled yesterday is the route the state is going, it looks like jobless workers are going to be kept waiting awhile. After weeks of closed-door negotiations, the House unveiled the NC Competes Act (HB 117), legislation which included ...

Bidding farewell to the highly praised NC Teaching Fellows program

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 11:37
In 2011, the North Carolina General Assembly eliminated the much-lauded NC Teaching Fellows program, which prepares and provides for students eager to enter into a teaching career in their home state. As the last of the Teaching Fellows are set to graduate this spring, the program’s sponsor has released a retrospective report on the program’s impact ...

School voucher challenge neatly summarized in one paragraph and one five-minute video

Wed, 02/25/2015 - 09:07
Be sure to check out Sharon McCloskey’s excellent story over on the main Policy Watch site this morning summarizing yesterday’s state Supreme Court argument in the school voucher case. You’ll get the history, the basics of the arguments and a blow by blow of yesterday’s proceedings. If you want to grasp what is perhaps the ...

National professors’ group calls on UNC leaders to keep Poverty Center open

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 15:57
The American Association of University Professors released a statement today calling on the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors to keep an academic poverty center run by an outspoken professor. The Chapel Hill law school’s UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, which receives no direct state funding and subsists largely off a $120,000 ...

DOT Secretary Tata jets off to Chicago to plug his novel as snowstorm paralyzes parts of NC

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 14:38
It is increasingly clear that a) North Carolina Transportation Secretary Tony Tata is a part-time Secretary who receives full-time pay ($136,000 per year) and b) Gov. Pat McCrory doesn’t give a darn. How else to explain the Secretary’s ongoing second and third jobs as a novelist and Fox News Commentator on military issues and the ...

Guilford County Register of Deeds explains his concerns with bill allowing magistrates to opt out of marriages

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 13:34
Senate Bill 2, the controversial proposal to allow North Carolina magistrates to avoid their duty to perform marriages for same-sex couples was whisked through the state Senate’s Judiciary II Committee today as thousands of North Carolinians remained stranded by an unexpected snowstorm. By my watch, the meeting featured all of eight minutes in public comment ...

Senate education committee chair: “I’ve never been for school vouchers.”

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 11:03
As the debate over school vouchers rages on before the state Supreme Court today, Senate education committee chair Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph) told N.C. Policy Watch he’s not for sending taxpayer dollars to private schools. “They [private schools] are not regulated and we don’t know what they teach there, do we? Do you know?” said Tillman ...

Who me? Yes you, Governor: How McCrory could still close the Medicaid gap

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 09:39
In case you missed it this morning, be sure to check out Adam Linker’s op-ed in this morning’s edition of Raleigh’s News & Observer. As Linker writes: “Health insurance for more than a million North Carolinians is at stake, and Gov. Pat McCrory has two options: He can take the initiative to protect the people ...

Raising wages not cutting taxes

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 08:45
Yesterday, Lawrence Mishel from the Economic Policy Institute made the compelling case that policymakers have missed the mark by focusing on tax levels rather than wage stagnation in their pursuit of improving growth rates and the economic well-being of the majority of Americans.  As Mishel points out: Wage stagnation is a decades-long phenomenon. Between 1979 ...

Four stories you can’t afford to miss Tuesday

Tue, 02/24/2015 - 05:57
#1 – School Vouchers: The North Carolina Supreme Court will hear oral arguments beginning at 9:30 a.m. this morning  in the lawsuit that challenges the legality of the state’s school voucher program.  Want to hear both sides of the argument? WRAL.com will be live streaming the court proceedings. #2 – Religious Refusal Bill: Over on ...

Two must-read pieces on vouchers

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 16:29
Curious about the real cost of vouchers? Check out these two great op-eds from Rev. Dr. Arnetta Beverly and Margaret Arbuckle in the Greensboro News-Record. Rev. Beverly focuses on why risky vouchers schemes violate the North Carolina constitution: Article IX, Section 6 of the North Carolina constitution declares that public funds for education “shall be ...

McCrory’s prison system boss confirms flaws of government on the cheap, need for new resources

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 15:58
It’s not the most riveting 20 minutes of TV you’ll ever watch, but if you’d like to see a plainspoken, common sense explanation of why North Carolinians desperately need to invest more in public structures and services and reject the notion that the problems of government can be solved via an unceasing regimen of tax ...

Trending today on Jones Street – #Monday

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 11:44
The state House convenes at 1:00pm today, with the Senate returning for a 4:00pm session. Until then, here are some of the stories trending on Jones Street this Monday: #ncga budget season starts today with a mostly blank bill filed in the House. They'll add details later. http://t.co/UjWwbDNs5m #ncpol — Colin Campbell (@RaleighReporter) February 23, ...

UNC law professors speak out against proposal to close poverty center

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 11:19
Nearly four dozen faculty members of the University of North Carolina’s School of Law signed a statement late Friday denouncing recommendations from a special committee of the university system’s governing board to cut a poverty-focused academic center. The Chapel Hill law school’s UNC Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity, which receives no direct state funding ...

The best op-ed of the weekend

Mon, 02/23/2015 - 07:34
For my money, the most thoughtful essay to appear in a North Carolina newspaper over the past weekend was authored by Ned Barnett of Raleigh’s News & Observer regarding the senseless triple murder tragedy that rocked Chapel Hill and Carrboro this month. As Barnett highlights in “The hard toll of easy guns,” the saddest part ...

Breaking: Criminal charges filed against Duke Energy in federal courts across the state

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 17:02
U.S. Attorney’s offices across the state filed a series of criminal cases today accusing Duke Energy of negligent discharge of coal ash and coal ash wastewater into rivers adjacent to company coal ash plants. In Raleigh, the misdemeanor charges were filed in connection to spills at the H.F. Lee Steam Plant. In Charlotte, similar charges ...

The good and bad in Wal-Mart’s underwhelming pay raises

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 15:50
In the giant banana republic of haves and have nots that the U.S. economy has increasingly come to resemble, any bump in the pay dosed out to front line workers by a company as huge and generally predatory as Wal-Mart — however modest — is a good thing. When a half-million people are able to ...

This week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 15:02
1. UNC Poverty Center facing closure, as university system leaders finish review of centers Three centers in the university system – including a poverty research center run by an outspoken law professor —   should be shut down, according to recommendations approved Wednesday by a special committee of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors. ...

Justice Department to seek stay of order blocking President’s immigration policies

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 14:36
The Justice Department will seek an emergency order from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowing the federal government to move forward with the President’s immigration programs while it appeals a Texas federal judge’s ruling halting those programs, according to the New York Times. The move follows on the heels of Monday’s late night ruling by U.S. District Judge ...

Expansion of grants or renewed tax credits? Wilmington region looks for the right recipe to spur economic development (audio)

Fri, 02/20/2015 - 13:50
Wilmington’s mayor along with representatives of EUE/Screen Gems Studios and the regional film commission announced Thursday they will push for an expansion of North Carolina’s $10 million film grant fund this session. Mayor Bill Saffo is hopeful that the Republican-controlled General Assembly might be more willing to expand the new grant program, rather than reinstate ...

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