BlueNC @
Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 9:56am

TAX-FREE WEEKEND DEMISE MEANS DIGGING DEEPER FOR BACK-TO-SCHOOL NEEDS : Have you been waiting for the first weekend in August to go out and outfit the kid you’re sending off to college? Looking to upgrade your computer, add a printer or get a tablet? Thanks to the tax overhaul enacted last year by the General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory you’ll be paying an additional 7 percent more than you’d have paid a year ago. Remember back a year ago, there was the sales tax holiday in North Carolina. But that’s been abolished. However, depending on where you are, or if you’re willing to travel a bit, our neighbor states – South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Georgia -- still have their sales tax holiday. You can go online to: http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/rate/sales_holiday.html, to get more details for each state.

Here’s some typical items and how much more you’ll pay this year (based on 7 percent state and local sales taxes).

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BlueNC @
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 8:24am

THE SPILL
N.C. voters want stronger actions from lawmakers on coal (Weekly Independent) -- A poll taken last week found that most North Carolina voters want lawmakers to do more to get Duke Energy to clean up its coal ash. Public Policy Polling, a Raleigh surveying group, found in a poll of 519 voters that more than 75 percent of North Carolinians don’t think the Legislature has made Duke Energy do enough to clean up coal ash pollution at the state’s 14 coal ash power plants. The view was consistent across party lines and the poll found that weak leadership on environmental issues was tied to low favorability numbers for Governor Pat McCrory and House Speaker and U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis. 31 percent and 39 percent of respondents said their impressions of McCrory and Tillis were “very unfavorable,” respectively, and 63 percent said Tillis's handling of remaining coal ash threats to the state's waterways make them view him less favorably.
http://www.indyweek.com/triangulator/archives/2014/07/28/nc-voters-want-...

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BlueNC @
Monday, July 28, 2014 - 7:58am

THE SPILL
Environmentalists: coal ash bill badly flawed (Asheville Citizen-Times) -- While proposed legislation would require Duke Energy to close ash ponds at its Asheville plant and three other facilities within five years, environmentalists contend the bill has serious flaws. The Southern Environmental Law Center and other groups outlined their concerns with the legislation pending in a conference committee in a letter to Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tom Tillis. The letter states that following the Feb. 2 spill from a Duke ash pond that coated 70 miles of the Dan River with toxic sludge, lawmakers promised a “robust solution” to coal ash pollution. “Instead, the current legislation inexplicably attempts to weaken our state’s existing groundwater protection laws in favor of Duke Energy while allowing Duke to continue polluting state waters and putting our communities at risk,” according to the letter.
http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/07/27/environmentalis...

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BlueNC @
Saturday, July 26, 2014 - 9:27am

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES
· Thursday July 24: McCrory On Budget Stalemate: 'We're Making Headway' (WUNC-FM) -- “I did present both the Senate and House caucuses, I think, breakthrough plans on how to work out our differences.” McCrory Said.
http://wunc.org/post/gov-mccrory-budget-stalemate-were-making-headway

· Friday July 25: McCrory Says He Could Veto State Budget (WUNC-FM) -- "I’ve clearly communicated my issues and concerns and I will stand by those issues and concerns. If the budget doesn’t address my issues and concerns, I’ll definitely consider vetoing the budget like I would consider vetoing any other bill," said McCrory.
http://wunc.org/post/governor-mccrory-says-he-could-veto-state-budget

THE SPILL
Enviro groups unhappy with ash legislation (Charlotte Observer) -- Several environmental groups wrote N.C. Senate leader Phil Berger and House speaker Thom Tillis
http://obsearthenergy.blogspot.com/2014/07/enviro-groups-unhappy-with-as...

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BlueNC @
Friday, July 25, 2014 - 9:40am

Thus begins the mismanaged care of the poor:

Senate Tentatively Passes Medicaid Overhaul Bill (WUNC-FM) -- Lawmakers in the state Senate have tentatively approved a bill that would overhaul North Carolina's Medicaid system. The measure would create an independent agency to oversee the state's health care system for low-income residents. The bill would also contract out Medicaid to managed care and provider-led organizations. They would receive a set amount of money per patient to provide care. Republican Senator Ralph Hise is a sponsor of the bill. He says it's necessary to help control ballooning Medicaid costs. "We go through this budget over and over again, it looks like a spaghetti plate, budget is so intertwined with everything else in health care, in public health, that it's very difficult to get a handle on what it costs to run a Medicaid department," said Hise.
http://wunc.org/post/senate-tentatively-passes-medicaid-overhaul-bill

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BlueNC @
Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 10:09am

GERRY COHEN: Celebrated as the Legislature’s ‘Consummate Professional' (WUNC-FM) -- One of the most respected and beloved figures at the General Assembly is about to retire. Gerry Cohen will soon finish his current job as the special counsel for the state legislature, where he was first hired as a staff attorney back in 1977. Later, he became head of the bill drafting division, where his encyclopedic memory and reputation for fairness made him a favorite among Democrats and Republicans alike. … "We have a non-partisan central staff, which is the model in like 40-plus states, where central staff works for both parties and both houses," said Cohen. "That was a really good experience, I liked doing that. Some states have separate House and Senate staffs, some states have separate Democratic and Republican staffs."
http://wunc.org/post/consummate-professional-lawmakers-celebrate-retirin...

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BlueNC @
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 9:55am

Just don't undercook the fish:

THE SPILL
Health officials OK recreational use of Dan River (Greensboro News & Record) -- People can fish and swim in the river without fear of skin irritation or other potential health problems linked to coal ash, N.C. health officials said.
http://www.news-record.com/news/article_dbfd143e-11d7-11e4-aa1a-001a4bcf...

Daily dose
457
BlueNC @
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 8:35am

THE SPILL
94 percent of Duke Energy coal ash still in Dan River (Danville Register & Bee) -- A Charlottesville-based environmental group has criticized Duke Energy following its clean-up of a 2,500-ton coal ash deposit at Schoolfield Dam, saying the company has not accounted for the remainder of its 39,000-ton coal ash spill into the Dan River. "Where are the other 37,000 tons?" said Kathleen Sullivan, senior communications manager for the Southern Environmental Law Center, in an email to the Danville Register & Bee last week. "They have not accounted for 94 percent of the coal-ash waste spilled into the Dan River. Duke has removed about 6 percent of the coal-ash waste it spilled and at just two places: at the spill site itself and the Danville dam. It is hard to believe that the coal ash hasn’t collected elsewhere in places in the river where it could be removed."

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400
BlueNC @
Monday, July 21, 2014 - 10:34am
2014 election cycle donor survey:
2014 elections
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BlueNC @
Monday, July 21, 2014 - 8:34am

THE SPILL
Environmentalists Not Satisfied As Dan River Cleanup Ends (WFDD-FM) -- Duke Energy announced last week that it has completed its cleanup of the Dan River following a massive coal ash spill in February. The cleanup operation began May 6, and Duke Energy says that two-and-a-half tons of coal ash and river sediment were removed. The cleanup was monitored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but some environmental groups are unhappy with the result. Frank Holleman is senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center. He says too much of what was dumped into the Dan River is still there.
http://wfdd.org/post/environmentalists-not-satisfied-dan-river-cleanup-ends

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