NC JUSTICE NEWS: Unemployment Insurance + Poll Shows Support for Public Investments + The Governor's Budget

May 22, 2012

UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: Don't cut benefits for workers

At a time when North Carolina's unemployment rate is among the highest in the country and there are more than 3 unemployed workers vying for every available job, it is critical to maintain and strengthen North Carolina's unemployment insurance.

  • Unemployment insurance is a lifeline not just for those without jobs, but for their communities and the economy.
  • Unemployment helps jobless workers meet their families’ housing, food, energy and other needs. 3.2 million Americans avoided poverty in 2010 because of unemployment insurance.
  • Unemployment insurance helps employed workers and businesses by pumping money into the economy when there is a downturn.

The North Carolina Justice Center and allies will host a press conference on unemployment insurance on Thursday, May 24 at 10:30 a.m. in the press conference room at the General Assembly's legislative building. Rep. Larry Hall, Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the Budget and Tax Center, and North Carolina workers will discuss how cutting unemployment benefits would hurt those that need help the most.

TOGETHER NC POLLING: Voters support raising revenue

North Carolinians support raising revenue to restore budget cuts to key public services such as education, ensuring that corporations and wealthy households pay their fair share, and extending North Carolina’s Earned Income Tax Credit, according to a poll released by the Together NC coalition this morning.

80 percent of those polled supported requiring profitable out-of-state corporations to accurately report and pay their state taxes, and 62 percent of those polled supported increasing the tax rate on those who make over $1 million per year. In addition, more than 60 percent of individuals polled supported extending North Carolina's Earned Income Tax Credit, and more than half of those polled supported reinstating the temporary one-cent increase in the sales tax, which expired in 2011.

The results come a week after more than 85 local elected officials called on legislative leaders in to consider raising new revenues to restore funding for schools, infrastructure and other public investments. "As you return to Raleigh to adjust and finalize your state budget for FY 2012-2013, we urge you to put all options on the table, including revenue ideas such as reinstating temporarily the penny sales tax to restore deep budget cuts to education, health care and infrastructure," reads the letter. "The budget shortfall could have been closed with a combination of careful cuts and smart revenue solutions. But instead, the budget gap was closed with a cuts-only approach."

BUDGET PROPOSALS: Gov. budget raises revenue, restores funds

Governor Bev Perdue's proposed state budget would raise much-needed revenue and restore significant funding to North Carolina's public schools, with a 3/4-cent extension of the state sales tax raising a projected $760 million in revenue. This revenue could restore $562 million in funding to public schools – a huge boost during a time when North Carolina's schools face immense financial challenges.

A new report from the Budget & Tax Center, a project of the NC Justice Center, finds that spending will remain below pre-recession levels under the governor's proposal, but the budget will also be an important step in restoring state investment in public services. The governor’s budget also includes $200 million in one-time money to address the current year’s shortfall in funding to pay Medicaid claims.

House appropriations subcommittees at the General Assembly released possible revisions to next year's budget last week. According to Budget & Tax Center estimates, North Carolina House budget targets would cut 0.7 percent, or $136 million, from the 2012-13 budget and drive spending 13.1 percent lower than pre-recession investment.

WORKERS' RIGHTS: "Know Your Rights" trainings across the state

The Justice Center’s Workers’ Rights Project has been traveling around the state to present "Know Your Rights" training for workers. As part of the NC Families Care coalition, we’ve been from the mountains to sea to talk to workers about rights we have and rights we need. Interactive workshop topics include:

  • Wage and hour laws and wage theft protections
  • The FMLA and the need for paid leave
  • At-will employment
  • Discrimination protections

Contact Ajamu Dillahunt at 919-856-3194 or Ajamu@ncjustice.org to talk to us about a workshop at your organization, church or community group.

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.

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.

 

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