NC JUSTICE NEWS: Join us for a Holiday Open House + NC Policy Watch's Altered State + Protecting Working Family Credits

December 8, 2015

OPEN HOUSE: Join the NC Justice Center for a holiday open house

This holiday season, please join us for our inaugural Holiday Open House! Come see us in downtown Raleigh, where our staff spends hard days at work, fighting for the rights of North Carolinians. Enjoy our company plus great food!

Thursday, December 10, 2015
5:30 - 7:30pm

The North Carolina Justice Center is located at 224 S. Dawson Street in downtown Raleigh. Parking is available at the Municipal Building Deck, and on Dawson and Martin Streets

ALTERED STATE: NC Policy Watch looks back on five years of a weakened NC

NC Policy Watch, the news and commentary project of the nonprofit, nonpartisan NC Justice Center, unveiled a special report last week documenting the dramatic changes brought about by five years of conservative political leadership in the Tar Heel state.

"Altered State — How 5 years of conservative rule have redefined North Carolina" contains eight new news stories and three new works of commentary and analysis that document and explore the fundamental policy changes that have transformed North Carolina from one of the South’s most consistently progressive states into one of its most conservative.

The report features news stories from the NC Policy Watch team of journalists that detail ongoing assaults on many of the state’s most important public structures – from the social safety net to its environmental protection infrastructure to its systems of public and higher education. The report also explores the ongoing efforts to advance the Right’s social agenda as well as efforts to cement conservative victories by altering the makeup of the state’s courts and voting laws. Keep an eye on "Altered State" for new updates.

The Justice Center and Policy Watch deeply appreciate the support of those who sponsored the release of the report, and who attended the release party last week! See pictures at this link.

WORKING FAMILY CREDITS: Help more than 500k NC families for the holidays

This holiday season, Congress should make permanent improvements to working family tax credits that help more than 500,000 North Carolina families make ends meet and more than 1 million children meet developmental milestones.

In the coming days, Congress is likely to consider a tax extenders package that makes decisions about various aspects of the tax code that needs updating. Now is the time to ensure that improvements to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) are made permanent. Failure to do so by our federal delegation would push hundreds of thousands of families and children deeper into poverty.

Key provisions of the working family tax credits are at risk if Congress doesn’t act:

  • Not one penny of the earnings of a full-time, minimum wage worker would count toward the CTC, because the credit’s earnings exclusion (the amount of earnings ignored in determining a family’s eligibility for the CTC) would nearly quintuple from $3,000 to $14,600.
  • Many married couples would face higher marriage penalties, due to a cut in their EITC.
  • Larger families would face a cut in their EITC.

Take Action! Call on your United States Senator and Representative to make permanent improvements to the working family tax credits.

SYRIAN REFUGEES: Stand for a welcoming and compassionate NC

The United States was founded by immigrants and refugees. For centuries, our values have told us that taking in refugees in crisis is not only the right thing to do, it makes America stronger in the long run. How we treat immigrants and refugees coming to North Carolina is a moral litmus test of the highest order.

Any refugees accepted into the United States or North Carolina will face significant security checks prior to entry. Governors who reject those fleeing war and persecution abandon our ideals and instead project our fears to the world.

This should not be a partisan issue, and concern for refugees crosses ideological lines. This is about our values as Americans, and as North Carolinians. Please stand with immigrant and refugee communities for a welcoming and compassionate North Carolina. Ask your Senator and Representative to welcome Syrian refugees and reject efforts to stigmatize them.

CRUCIAL CONVERSATION: Where do things stand for immigrants in NC?

With 2016 election campaigns already well underway, immigrants and immigration policy are, for better or worse, front and center in the national and state political debates. Unfortunately, much of the discussion has more than to do with fear than truth. Given this backdrop, there is a greater need than ever for caring and thinking people to be armed with the facts.

Join NC Policy Watch for the final Crucial Conversation luncheon of 2015 on this important issue, featuring two NC Justice Center team members.

Patrick McHugh is the Budget & Tax Center’s Economic Policy Analyst. Earlier this year, he authored a special report entitled Smart Choices in an Era of Migration which examined how the growing immigrant population in North Carolina has contributed to the economic vitality of the state. Raul Pinto is a staff attorney at the North Carolina Justice Center’s Immigrants and Refugees Rights Project where he represents low-income individuals negotiating the immigration system.

Join NC Policy Watch on Wednesday, December 9 at noon, at the Junior League of Raleigh Building, 711 Hillsborough St. Space is limited – pre-registration required.

GUN VIOLENCE: Join North Carolinians Against Gun Violence for vigil

This has been a long, tragic year. In February, we were rocked by the killing of three young Muslim students at an apartment complex in Chapel Hill. In June, nine African-American worshippers were gunned down at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. October included two mass shootings at college campuses in Oregon and Arizona that left 11 people dead and 13 injured. Last week saw the death of 14 people in San Bernardino, CA, and three people in Colorado Springs, CO. Enough.

Please join North Carolinians Against Gun Violence for a vigil to honor and commemorate these victims, the victims in the Sandy Hook massacre, and the 90,000 lives that have been lost since December 2012.

WHEN: December 10, 2015 at 7pm – 8pm
WHERE: Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W Cornwallis Rd. Durham, NC 27705

Gun violence affects people regardless of age, income, location, religion, and race. Join us for a candlelight vigil as we help shed a light on this tragic toll and demand an end to the senseless violence rocking our state and nation.

CLIMATE JUSTICE: Join us for a rally, hearing to promote the Clean Power Plan

We are working in collaboration with our partners to promote a strong Clean Power Plan (CPP) for NC and we need your help to show our leaders that we need a better plan than what they have proposed. Join us in Charlotte on December 16 for a rally, march, and hearing on the CPP.

On August 3, 2015, President Obama and the EPA announced the CPP, a historic step in reducing carbon pollution from power plants, combating climate change, and giving us an opportunity to implement policies in North Carolina that can significantly help low-income utility users. Each state can develop a plan that incorporates a range of steps to reduce carbon emissions, including energy efficiency measures and renewable energy designed to help low-income communities. Unfortunately, we are concerned that the current plan being offered by the State Department of Environmental Quality is not likely to comply with carbon reduction goals required by the EPA and will also fail to take advantage of the opportunity to incorporate energy efficiency and renewable energy in ways that benefit North Carolina households struggling to pay high energy bills.

Join us on Wednesday, December 16 for this historic event. The rally is at 4:00 p.m., the march at 5:00 p.m., and the hearing at 6:00 p.m. Help fill up the hearing room so that policymakers know that more needs to be done to deliver clean and affordable energy to low-income communities in our state. RSVP at this link.

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