NC JUSTICE NEWS: Latest Tax "Reform" + Time Running out for the Unemployed + Debunking the Medicaid is Broken Myth

June 18, 2013

NC TAX "REFORM": Latest Senate plan represents massive tax cuts for wealthy

Another week, another version of a state tax plan.

Unfortunately, the bad news continues with the latest iteration coming out of the NC Senate. The Senate's tax plan fails to address the extreme, upside down nature of our state's tax system by continuing to ask more from those with the least to give, even as the wealthiest pay far less a share of their income. It will also result in more than $1 billion in lost revenue. The revenue system will not be able to adequately fund core public investments, like public schools, health care, and other services that are needed to ensure the vitality of communities across the state.

On a more positive note, the latest plan doesn't expand the sales tax base to as many goods and services, which would have directly and negatively impacted low-income families. However, it still adopts a flat and lower income tax rate, and adds it to the outright elimination of the corporate income tax. Adopting a flat tax rate results in a huge tax cut for the wealthy, and in the latest proposal, 28 percent of the total income tax cut goes to the top 1 percent who have incomes of $940,000 on average.

This isn't tax reform. Implementing this plan will only undermine the areas we rely on for economic growth. It gives tax cuts to the wealthy and profitable corporations while everyone else pays the price.

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UNEMPLOYMENT CRISIS: Lawmakers must support unemployed workers

Last week, the North Carolina Senate once again turned its back on the long-term unemployed by refusing the take action to several federal emergency benefits.

The Senate had the opportunity to correct the decision made by the legislature and Gov. McCrory earlier this year to violate a federal agreement on Emergency Unemployment Compensation that will result in up to 170,000 North Carolinians losing access to $780 million in federal extended benefits on July 1. Instead, a majority tabled an amendment to House Bill 743 that would have saved those benefits by changing the effective date of the new law to January 1, 2014.

Time is running out, but lawmakers still have time to make this right. At a time when North Carolina's jobs deficit stands at more than half a million and the state continues to have the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country, our lawmakers must consider the lives of the tens of thousands of unemployed workers who will be directly affected by the July 1 cutoff date. Sign the petition telling lawmakers to stop North Carolina's workers from going over the unemployment cliff.

Lawmakers can still vote to extend federal benefits, and consider programs such as work sharing, which could serve as a powerful tool for responding the ongoing unemployment crisis. This optional program for employers — established and administered through the federal-state unemployment insurance (UI) system — could help maintain economic stability and avert layoffs during future business downturns, benefitting North Carolina’s workers, employers, and communities.

NC MEDICAID: The truth behind the "Medicaid is broken" myth

Last week, Ron Pollack, head of Families USA, addressed the recent scapegoating of Medicaid that has plagued Raleigh in recent months at an NC Policy Watch event. He cited the excellent care delivered by the state program and called out Gov. McCrory for committing what he called "fiscal malpractice" by turning down the state Medicaid expansion, especially at a time when eight other GOP governors chose to do the opposite.

What's the true story behind the scapegoating? Is NC Medicaid truly "broken"? The facts say otherwise. In a series of charts, Health Access Coalition director Adam Searing points out the following:

NEW BILL TRACKER: Online tool evaluates where legislation is leading NC

Our elected leaders come together every year to make public policy. We believe that public policy holds the potential for expanding access to opportunity and building a strong foundation for economic growth. We believe that our elected leaders have a particular duty to serve the common good and that means addressing inequities and exclusion of poor and low-income families and communities from the pathways to greater economic security.\

This year, we are assessing the direction that policymakers are taking — and that North Carolina is headed in — with key policy proposals. On our new bill tracker "Which Direction is NC Headed?", we have highlighted major legislation that has the potential to move North Carolina in the wrong direction or help us get ahead.

Check back frequently to see where bills stand.

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