Is that a cheerleader in your pocket?

Like a well-oiled graft machine, the new "public private partnership" for economic development in North Carolina is running full tilt, with a board full of McCronies and a Department of Commerce secretary who appears to be nothing but a glorified cheerleader. Chris Fitzsimon at NC Policy Watch chronicles the sad state of affairs, with a column full of questions and not a single answer in sight.

One board member said the new board would be the single point of contact for corporations looking to come to North Carolina. But isn’t that what the Commerce Secretary and her top staff do? Now we have a private and less accountable entity playing a role interacting with corporations, many of whom will receive financial incentives to move to North Carolina or expand if they are already here.

Don't worry folks. All is well. North Carolina's economic development program is now run by an army of lobbyists who can't wait to get their hands on your hard earned money. Meanwhile, Decker dances on the sidelines, pretending as though she has a real job. As I've been saying all along, there's no need to privatize up the Department of Commerce. Just kill it.

Burlington Mayor details damage from state government meddling

Feeling the heat from the GOP's great tax shift:

In Burlington, where I am mayor, the repeal of the privilege-license tax will mean losing $564,612. The estimated proceeds from changes to sales-tax collections will not even cover 30 percent of those losses. Small towns like Calabash on the southeastern North Carolina coast will see losses that, as percentages of their budgets, will well exceed the multimillion-dollar losses in some of the state’s largest cities. To make up for the $141,488 loss in Calabash, the town would be forced to double its property tax rate, and earlier sales-tax changes will hardly make a dent in the deficit.

Haw River, Morrisville, Carolina Shores, Pineville, Siler City and Morganton are just a handful of other cities and towns that will experience significant losses.

I've already been in several Facebook brawls over this, as the Teabillies are gearing up to viciously fight against any property tax increase. The most frustrating issue in trying to discuss this with them is their inability to grasp the connection between this big-government move by the NCGA and local elected officials figuring out how to cope with it. The bottom line is, elections have consequences. If you elect arrogant power-mongers to state government, they are going to flex their muscles without a care to the problems it will create. In this case, the burden is shifted from businesses to homeowners, and blaming local government for that is simply idiotic.

Daily dose

October General Fund Monthly Report – As Gov. Pat McCrory ponders brining the General Assembly into special session to free up money for economic development projects, the state’s treasury – more accurately the flow of revenues into it – may not be cooperating. North Carolina’s revenue picture continues to be dominated by red – as this fiscal year’s individual income tax collections for the first third of the fiscal year are running $477.1 million behind the same four-month period a year ago, according to figures released in the monthly financial report from the Office of the State Controller. Corporate income taxes are $46.5 million behind. All revenues – tax and non-tax, are $378.6 million behind the same period a year ago – and an increase of $57.1 million in the last month. “The Fiscal Research Division estimates that General Fund revenues through October are $148.6 million below the consensus revenue target. The revenue targets are monthly projections based on the fiscal year consensus forecast and previous monthly connection trends.”

How NCDP Chair Randy Voller Denied Union County Dems the right to vote in the Democratic Party political process

Imagine being accused and punished for something, but your accusers never clarify their charges. Ever. They just accuse you of committing "irregularities," without offering proof of any kind or specifying their charges in any way. This is exactly what happened to the Union County Democratic Party when NCDP Chair Randy Voller coordinated with then (2011 - 2013) UCDP 1st Vice Chair Diane Little, to abruptly end our 2013 County Convention, denying nearly 100 Democrats who were gathered the right to vote for UCDP officers and delegates to the 8th and 9th District Conventions.

Please contact Berger Burr Jones McCrory McIntyre Price Tillis A.S.A.P.

Ron Sutherland updated us by email that the lawsuit to stop N.C. State from selling Hofmann Forest got picked up by the North Carolina Supreme Court, by-passing the Court of Appeals.


Ron relayed:

As you will recall, NCSU has signed a sale agreement with corn farmer Jerry Walker, his unknown co-investors in Hofmann Forest LLC, and RMS, a timber management group also representing an unknown group of investors - but so far [THANKS TO YOU!] NCSU and the buyers haven't been able to exchange the deed and money.

Pisgah-Nantahala forests at risk of wholesale logging

And once again, SELC is coming to the rescue:

In what conservation groups flag as a dramatic shift, the U.S. Forest Service is proposing industrial-scale logging in the vast majority of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forest in western North Carolina – about 700,000 acres, or an area bigger than the Great Smoky Mountain National Park – instead of protecting popular backcountry recreation destinations and conserving the Blue Ridge landscapes treasured by residents and tourists from across the United States.

“Under the law and for everyone who enjoys America’s forests, the Forest Service’s first priority should be fixing the mistakes of the past – restoring the parts of the forest already damaged by prior logging,” said DJ Gerken, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “But the misguided logging plan proposed by the agency will repeat those old mistakes, causing more damage and putting the healthiest forests we have left on the chopping block. The people who use and love these forests won’t stand for cutting them down.”

:( We need to put a stop to this plan, like pronto. There are sustainable methods for harvesting trees from forests such as these, but logging companies left to their own devices simply can't be relied upon to use those methods.

New report highlights progress for NC river, calls for more success stories

New report highlights progress for North Fork First Broad River, calls for more success stories

Raleigh, NC.-On the eve of the close of the public comment period for the new Clean Water Rule, a new report tells the story of how the bedrock environmental law has helped to restore and protect the North Fork First Broad River from development and pollution.

Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center, along with small businesses, released Waterways Restored, a series of case studies highlighting the success of the Clean Water Act in protecting places like the North Fork First Broad River, and calling for a new rule to restore protections for more than 135,000 miles of the state’s rivers and streams.


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