NC JUSTICE NEWS: State Budget + Family Leave Insurance + Pots and Pans Protest

May 15, 2012

STATE BUDGET: Together NC proposes ways to generate revenue

Last week, Governor Perdue unveiled her proposed adjustments to the 2012-2013 state budget, outlining her plan for restoring deep cuts to public schools, prekindergarten, and universities and community colleges.

The Governor paid for the expansion items by partially reinstating a sales tax increase by three-quarter cents that expired last year. The Budget and Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center, and Together NC, a coalition of more than 120 partner organizations, both applauded Governor Perdue for recognizing the need for North Carolina to restore and build upon the state’s public investments. Yet the groups also noted areas of the state budget that experienced deep budget cuts that weren’t fully addressed in the Governor’s proposal. Adjusting the sales tax is effective at raising adequate revenue, the groups pointed out, but should be used in concordance with the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, which would offset the regressive nature of the sales tax.

Together NC unveiled their own plan for dealing with the state’s fiscal challenges at a press conference on May 14. The “North Carolina’s Worth It Campaign” – a plan to raise over $1 billion to restore deep cuts to education, health care, and environmental protection – would temporarily extend the penny sales tax, add a new income tax bracket on households earning more than $1 million annually, and expand the state EITC. Read more about the "North Carolina's Worth It Campaign" here.

FAMILY LEAVE: NC leave policies for caregivers are outdated

In time for Mother’s Day, the NC Justice Center released a brief on the importance of Family and Medical Leave Insurance, a policy that can increase job and economic stability while North Carolina’s parents are raising the next generation. Current workplace policies are out of step with the caregiving responsibilities of many North Carolina workers, and introducing Family and Medical Leave Insurance would create cost-saving solutions for employers as well as saving valuable public resources.

The report finds that seven out of 10 North Carolina families with children have both parents in the labor force, nearly 1.2 million North Carolinians are caregivers for an individual suffering from chronic illness, and most of these caregivers are also working at paid positions. Yet despite the reality that most workers will have caregiving responsibilities at some point in their working years, only 11 percent of private-sector workers in the South Atlantic region have access to paid family leave.

Paid family and medical leave lets workers keep their jobs when life events arise, and promotes economic security and a healthy workforce. Workers are more likely to stay at their jobs, resulting in smaller gaps of unemployment, which can lower lifetime employment and earnings. Paid family and medical leave benefits everyone, and it’s time North Carolina’s lawmakers established policies that invest in its families and the economy as a whole.

CAMPAIGN FOR BETTER CARE: Luncheons in Apex, Goldsboro

Join the NC Justice Center and AARP NC on Wednesday, May 30 and Thursday, May 31 for the next Campaign for Better Care community luncheons and make your voice heard on one of the most important, complex issues in North Carolina today.

The Campaign for Better Care aims to make improvements in the health system for vulnerable older adults and to build a strong, lasting consumer voice for better health care. Come and share your experiences about what you think needs to be changed in our health system, and take advantage of the expertise offered from the AARP and the Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP). The first free event will be held from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at Holland Chapel AME Zion Church in Apex on May 30. To reserve your seat, call Holland Chapel at 919-362-7831 or 919-387-1987, or email at holland.chapelamez@att.net

On May 31, another free event will be held from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at First African Baptist Church of Goldsboro. Reserve your seat today by calling Betty Lewis at 919-734-4935 or fabc803@ncrrbiz.com; or Ophelia White at 919-734-6043.

PEOPLE OF COLOR LOBBY DAY: Save the Date – May 23

Speak up for education equality, economic justice, goods jobs, workers' rights, and equal protection under the law at the HKonJ People of Color Justice and Unity Legislative Day on May 23.

The event kicks off with an opening session at 9:00 a.m. at the First Baptist Church Family Life Center at 109 S. Wilmington Street in downtown Raleigh. The HKonJ People of Color press conference will begin at 11:00 a.m. in front of the NC General Assembly State Legislative Building on Jones Street. For more information, contact HKonJ at 919-682-4700 or NCACDC at 919-831-9710.

POTS AND PANS PROTEST: Make some noise at the legislature

State lawmakers return to Raleigh this week for the 2012 “short” session and a new a different kind of demonstration will be there to welcome them. A coalition of progressive groups is calling on protesters to gather across from the Legislative Building at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 16 for a “Pots and Spoons protest” – modeled on the cacerolazo protests that frequently occur in Spanish-speaking countries – to protest the antics of North Carolina’s state legislature.

“It is time to bring the spirit of the cacerolazo to North Carolina, where our out-of-control state legislature has busied itself since the 2010 election with catering to corporate interests and right-wing ideologues, adding a hate amendment to our constitution, gutting funding for public education, and attempting to restrict our voting rights,” the event’s Facebook page reads. "In April 2011, some 300 people stood on Bicentennial Mall in total silence for 15 minutes in solemn protest of the efforts here and elsewhere to silence workers by taking away our rights. In May 2012, we will return – but this time to make such a noise that no politician on Jones Street will be able to ignore us.”

The event will be held on the Bicentennial Mall, at 16 W. Jones Street in downtown Raleigh.

 

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