Posmo's blog

Budget shenanigans

After grabbing headlines about a 7% teacher raise that seems to be...er...misleading at best, the Tillisberger released the budget under cover of darkness. Senators got copies on theirs desks at 8:30 a.m. and were expected to vote on the 260-page bill at 10:15 a.m.

It's no wonder that Phil & Thom want to keep the budget secret, because it has all kinds of sleazy little personal pet provisions in it, including:

  • Moving the SBI from the Attorney General's control to the control of the governor whose administration is being investigated by the SBI (something the wing nuts have been trying to do for a long time);
  • Moves the ABC & ALE to new places too;
  • Eliminates 4 badly needed special judges;

Income inequality breeds greater income inequality

Because the poor get poorer, the rich get richer.

Let’s start with the backdrop: Essentially, the lower-income Americans that are the target customers of dollar stores have gotten too poor to buy anything other than food (a vivid illustration of Piketty’s point about income inequality). That has depressed margins and profits at these [Family Dollar and Dollar Tree] discount retailers.

So the people who own and manage these discount stores are going to end up hurting right? Hahaha, no, remember, the rich get richer.

John Skvarla uses DENR to line his own pockets

What good is being Secretary of Destroying the Environment if you can't use your position to advance your own interests?

In just five months this winter, the McCrory administration rewrote those [river and stream buffer] rules with the help of private companies that had a financial stake in the outcome – including the company where state Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary John Skvarla once worked.

Yes, five years in the making, river and stream buffer rules were protecting our water quality. John Skvarla and DAG McCrony weren't about to stand for that. So they got a group of 7 people together and rewrote the rules in secret. In case you were wondering whether the 7 people consisted entirely of environmental exploitation profiteers and industry-biased government employees, the answer is (SURPRISE!) yes.

Art Pope continues his "community service"

Southeast Raleigh has lacked a good supermarket for quite some time, since a Kroger store closed more than a year and a half ago.

Southeast Raleigh is recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a "food desert," an urban area where the poverty rate is at least 20 percent and at least 33 percent of residents have limited access to a supermarket or large grocery store. After the Kroger store closed, residents had to trek several miles – sometimes on foot, sometimes taking various buses – to get to the nearest supermarket.

Art Pope to the rescue!

Art Pope’s Variety Wholesalers has purchased the vacant Kroger store in Southeast Raleigh with plans to establish the company’s first standalone grocery in an area that badly needs one.

How do you say thank you?

Is $70,000 a sufficient way to show appreciation for being appointed to the UNC Board of Governors?

Tillis’s Super PAC, Grow NC Strong, Raised $105,000, Including $70,000 From Three Men Tillis Appointed To The UNC Board Of Governors.
...
An Appointment To The UNC Board Of Governors “Is One Of The Most Prestigious And Sought-After Appointments In North Carolina Business And Political Circles.”

Maybe $70K is enough, but why not give a few thousand more, just to be sure?

A controversial pick for the UNC system’s Board of Governors backed by House Speaker Thom Tillis gave another $5,000 toward the Tillis campaign effort.

NC taxpayers subsidize discrimination

In addition to keeping the salaries of for-profit charter school employees secret, the NCGA's charter school bill allows discrimination against LGBT students.

Back in June, after a two-day battle over amendments that would have banned charter schools from discriminating against students on the basis of sexual orientation, House Republicans advanced a compromise provision that said "charter schools shall not discriminate against any student with respect to any category protected under the United States Constitution or under federal law applicable to the states."

That amendment was added to the bill on a 115-0 vote.

But when the measure went to conference committee for a compromise deal, Senate negotiators successfully pushed to have the clause removed.

Rep. John [sic] Hardister, R-Guilford, the lead House negotiator, said he agreed to the change out of concern that "it could have broad effect." Asked for clarification, he couldn't explain further.

Smart educators

Asked to make a false choice between two unpalatable budget options, an NC educator deftly demonstrated that he is smarter than the NC GOP wing nut idealogues who claimed that they wanted to hear from him.

At a budget meeting earlier this month that House members invited superintendents to attend, Cumberland County Superintendent Frank Till, when asked to choose between higher teacher raises and fewer teacher assistants or smaller raises where the assistants kept their jobs, said he would “do something to raise revenue.”

Bravo Dr. Till! NC citizens prefer option three also. The GOP legislative loons refuse to acknowledge the elephant in the room.

They're off to see ALEC

As the Republican House and Republican Senate and Republican Governor all carp at each other and make no progress on a budget, after weeks of grandstanding, many of the NCGA members will skip town next week to attend the annual ALEC meeting.

Speaker Thom Tillis dismissed the state House on Friday saying that the chamber was not expected to hold any sessions next week, a strong indicator no deal is imminent.

Many of the state's top GOP leaders are scheduled to attend the annual conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council that starts Tuesday in Dallas, Texas, and lasts into the weekend. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory is on the agenda to speak at the opening luncheon of the conservative group.

Cost of Art Pope's tax cut balloons to $690M

Earlier estimates put the cost of the NC GOP's tax giveaways to millionaires at nearly half a billion dollars.

Turns out those estimates were low -- we're now pushing three-quarters of a billion dollars in revenue shortfall because the NC GOP puts Art Pope's tax cut above every other policy objective.

New figures from legislative analysts confirm the 2013 cut to individual income tax rates is costing the state far more than originally projected.
...
According to a memo Thursday from legislative analyst Brian Slivka and chief economist Barry Boardman, the updated cost of the tax cut is $690 million for the current tax year.

That's $205 million, or 43 percent, higher than the original projection of $475 million.

That's for this year. And like the Energizer bunny, the NC GOP's fiscal irresponsibility just keeps going and going.

Corporate welfare, NC GOP style

When Bev Perdue was governor, the NC GOP said that cash payments to corporations, job creation notwithstanding, were a bad thing. It's wrong for government to pick winners and losers, said the wing nuts.

Now with the GOP in control of all three branches of NC government, coupled with the slow realization that they're positively destroying the jobs climate in the state, the GOP has slightly revised their position on corporate welfare: cash payments to corporations are now a good thing, and they have no problem at all with picking winners and losers.

Now, with a Republican governor at the helm, some GOP lawmakers want to expand state incentives and create a so-called “closing fund” that will allow cash grants to seal a deal with large corporations that promise to add jobs.

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