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Updated: 2 hours 30 min ago

The rich get richer: Public utility CEO gets $14.4 million “severance”

Tue, 12/15/2015 - 08:07
Another day in the absurdly unequal American economy, another one percenter (this time, the boss of a regulated “public” utility) getting paid to do nothing. The Charlotte Observer has the latest such story: “Piedmont Natural Gas Chief Executive Officer Tom Skains will receive nearly $14.4 million in severance pay when Duke Energy completes its purchase ...

N.C. prosecutor who sent five to death row: It’s time to end death penalty

Mon, 12/14/2015 - 14:27
[This post originally appeared on the blog of the NC Center for Alternatives to the Death Penalty.] N.C. prosecutor who sent five to death row: It’s time to end death penalty By Kristin Collins Twenty five years ago, as an assistant district attorney in Forsyth County, Vince Rabil helped put Blanche Taylor Moore on death ...

Burr calls Trump’s proposed Muslim ban a “huge mistake” (video)

Mon, 12/14/2015 - 09:54
Republican Senator Richard Burr, who chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering our country would be bad for national security. Click below to watch the segment that aired Sunday: View More: Live News|More News Videos

New “must read” series puts poverty back in focus

Mon, 12/14/2015 - 08:00
It appears that journalists at the Fayetteville Observer have produced a new “must read” series on the disastrous consequences of poverty in North Carolina’s sixth largest city. “Poverty’s Price” debuted yesterday and will run through the week. Click here and here, respectively, to read the first two installments: “Poverty: What Fayetteville can learn from Baltimore” ...

Best BTC Reads of 2015

Mon, 12/14/2015 - 02:03
If you are like me, one of the great activities of December is scouring the year-end lists for the great reads, music and tech developments of the past year.  So here is one more list to add to the pile that features Budget & Tax Center publications that are must reads from 2015.  Happy Reading! ...

Children continue to work in NC fields

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 17:39
Although agriculture is one of the most hazardous occupations in the U.S., federal and North Carolina law continue to allow the employment of minors in farmwork.  This week, Human Rights Watch issued a follow up to their 2014 report on the dangers to children employed in tobacco.  The new report, Teens of the Tobacco Fields, features interviews ...

This Week’s Top Five on NC Policy Watch

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 14:30
1. Starving the schools Teacher assistants, textbooks, services slashed as per-pupil spending plummets Barbara Dell Carter is not a social worker. Nor is she a nurse, psychotherapist, nutritionist or a special needs educator. Carter is a second grade teacher. But in today’s classrooms in North Carolina, she’s expected to take on much more than planning ...

UNC Board of Governors face protest, chooses new board chair and interim president

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 14:08
It was a busy day at the final meeting of the year for the University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors meeting. A half-dozen group of student and faculty protesters disrupted Friday’s meeting with their objections to the selection of Margaret Spellings as the next UNC president, according to WRAL. Protestors outside the #uncbog meeting ...

Company gets economic development dollars, as it moves jobs from one NC city to another

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 12:40
Earlier this week, the McCrory administration announced what seemed to be a big win for the state – Corning Optical Communications is moving its headquarters to Charlotte, bringing 650 people to work in the area. The fiber optic cable manufacturing company ‘s new headquarters will have space for 150 new workers, a designation that makes ...

Environmental advocate: Duke Energy needs to change its two-faced approach to solar power

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 10:58
The following essay was written By Rachel Morales, Clean Energy Organizer at Environment North Carolina. Don’t let North Carolina’s commitment to solar power fade By Rachel Morales Solar power has been an enormous success in North Carolina. During each of the last two years, North Carolina has ranked fourth in the nation in the amount ...

Spellings critics: Partisan ideologue is unfit to lead UNC

Fri, 12/11/2015 - 07:38
[Editor’s note: Protesters, demanding reconsideration of the UNC Board of Governors’ recent decision to name Margaret Spellings as UNC system President, are expected to demonstrate at today’s board meeting. The following essay in support of the protest was written by frequent N.C. Policy Watch contributor Michael C. Behrent, a Professor at Appalachian State, and Ralph ...

Immigrants in North Carolina: Where do things stand? Where do we go from here? (Video)

Thu, 12/10/2015 - 14:40
We had a standing room only crowd at yesterday’s excellent Crucial Conversation luncheon: “Immigrants in North Carolina: Where do things stand? Where do we go from here?” For those who couldn’t be in attendance to hear from our experts, Patrick McHugh and Raul Pinto, here is the video of the event:

Time for McCrory to disavow, sever ties with Franklin Graham

Thu, 12/10/2015 - 11:51
A certain presidential candidate has been generating a lot of heat of late with his incendiary comments about Muslims. Sadly, however, there is an important public figure in North Carolina who loudly and proudly beat him to the punch — the Rev. Franklin Graham. Indeed, as several news outlets reported yesterday, Graham is even bragging ...

Some uncomfortable questions about Eden’s looming brewery closure

Thu, 12/10/2015 - 09:05
State Senate Leader Phil Berger has some questions about the news that MillerCoors is going to close its long-time facility in Eden, Rockingham County, laying off 520 people in the process. Last night, he and fellow Rockingham legislator Bert Jones sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights ...

Lt. Gov Forest needs a better proofreader

Thu, 12/10/2015 - 06:52
Malapropisms, misstatements and mangled verbiage are almost unavoidable in the fast moving world of policy and politics. When you have to think and talk on your feet on a wide array of subjects with a lot of people listening, it’s human nature to make mistakes. Americans understand this. They elected George W. Bush twice despite ...

Deep divide over affirmative action at SCOTUS

Wed, 12/09/2015 - 15:55
The U.S. Supreme Court took a second look at admissions at the University of Texas Wednesday morning and by most accounts, the prognosis for its affirmative action policy is not good.   The case before the justices, Fisher v. University of Texas, had already been heard in 2012 after a white student denied admission to the school lost ...

Magistrate recusal law lands in federal court

Wed, 12/09/2015 - 10:50
Nearly six months and 32 recalcitrant magistrates later, three couples have sued the state in federal court, challenging the law that allows magistrates to refuse to perform marriages based upon a self-professed religious objection to same-sex marriage. In the lawsuit, filed in Asheville and assigned to U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., the couples allege that ...

Report: Tillis the top recipient of NRA support among Senators voting against gun control proposals

Wed, 12/09/2015 - 09:51
Reporter Scott Bixby at posted a fascinating story last Friday about the 50 U.S. Senators who voted down two proposals to restrict gun purchases in the aftermath of the San Bernardino tragedy. According to his analysis of various NRA-related expenditures, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis has received more NRA money than any other senator: According ...

Editorial: Magistrates same-sex marriage opt-out law is unconstitutional

Wed, 12/09/2015 - 08:15
This morning’s lead editorial in the Charlotte Observer hits a home run with its take on North Carolina’s discriminatory law that allows magistrates to opt out of marrying couples when to do so violates their “religious beliefs” and a new lawsuit being launched to challenge it. Here’s the Observer: “The complaint to be filed Wednesday ...

As Trump defends Muslim ban, support grows among conservative NC voters

Wed, 12/09/2015 - 05:00
The latest survey by Public Policy Polling finds support for presidential hopeful Donald Trump growing stronger among North Carolina Republican primary voters. According to PPP’s latest poll (conducted Dec. 5th -7th) , 33% of Republican voters support Trump compared to to 16% for Ted Cruz, and 14% each for Ben Carson and Marco Rubio. Other ...