The privatization shell game at Commerce

Hey North Carolina. You've been screwed again.

Taxpayers are expected to contribute $90 million over that same period. That’s if Gov. Pat McCrory’s request to transfer 67 positions and an estimated $18 million next year to the new group from the Commerce Department is endorsed by lawmakers in budget negotiations. Draft legislation had initially put the group on the hook to raise $10 million from private sources immediately, but the language endorsed by House and Senate committees will lower that to $6 million over five years, a move that Republican sponsors is more realistic for a startup group.

Saddest meeting of all

This is the saddest meeting I have attended. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education met Tuesday, June 2, to discuss the effects the Senate budget and the Governor's budget would have on education. Some of those points are listed below, followed by comments from those involved in education. Unless a remark is in " " please consider it paraphrased. Anything in ( ) is my remark/interjection.

I especially want to share the repeated pleas from those working in our education system. I even heard the phrase, Please don't do this to us. Cuts to education in NC have gone beyond 'bare bones' and into the category of 'mortal wound.' This has to stop. Between budget cuts, position cuts, the expanse of charters and the addition of vouchers, NC's public schools are on their death bed. I hope all of you are planning to attend the next Moral Monday that will focus on education. All of you.

Public Schools.

Folwell accuses Howard of angling for Board position

And it's a well-paid position at that:

Howard charged that remarks Folwell made during the session were “very disrespectful” to the committee. Folwell contended Howard was angling to get herself appointed to the Board of Review. Howard denied the accusation.

Folwell said of his "bullied" comment that Howard "has constantly told me that I got this job because of her" and that the Board of Review issue "continually comes up." Howard "continues to try to get herself appointed to the best part-time job in North Carolina's history," Folwell said of the Board of Review. "It pays $120,000 a year."

Not for nothing, but does anybody else see a huge conflict of interest here? Not with the patronage thing, which is a problem unto itself. But with three people pulling down such a sweet salary who also decide if somebody else (the unemployed worker) is deserving of monetary help. The conflict: if Board members rule in favor of too many of those workers, somebody else might take their place on the gravy train. And as far as denials go:

Thom Tillis: The very definition of a chickenshit opportunist

Listen up, asshole. Your career as a fancy consultant and squeaker of the NC House in no way qualifies you to even have an opinion about what our Commander in Chief is doing in military matters. And just because ALEC gave you some convenient talking points doesn't mean you have to use them.

Excerpts from Rick Gunn's monthly propaganda newsletter

Received a short while ago via e-mail:

SB 734 - Regulatory Reform Act of 2014

Senate Republicans recently passed the fourth regulatory reform bill in four years. This bill continues the process of reforming state rule-making processes while at the same time increasing protections for the citizens and environment in North Carolina. It removes much of the unnecessary red tape from various processes, making it easier for people and businesses to obtain permits to operate. It also removes regulations that increase the burden on small businesses but do little to serve the public interest.

Bolding mine. In true Republican doublespeak form, the bill in question does the exact opposite as Senator Gunn claims:

Charters will blossom in NC ... or else!

It was SRO today at the Senate Ed Committee meeting, and as my momma used to say, Sen Jerry Tillman was full of piss and vinegar! He paced the front of the room as the chair called the meeting to order and seemed disgruntled to see so many people packed into his meeting room.

He angrily told the head of the charter school application committee that if he did not see charter school applications getting approved as fast as he wants them approved, then he would pass the bill (SB 793) he has waiting in the wings. His tone suggested he would then shove the changes he wants to see down the committee's collective throats. He was especially upset that some out-of-state, for-profit charter management companies had their applications denied here in NC---he commented that if they had been approved to do business in other states, they were good enough to do business in NC. (Does our insurance commissioner know that?)

Coal Ash Wednesday: Smoke in the Water

SELC's Derb Carter pulls no punches in New York Times op-ed:

With a governor, Pat McCrory, who was employed by Duke for 28 years, and a Legislature rife with members who have accepted contributions from Duke and other energy companies throughout their careers, it’s no surprise that our state government has shown little interest in forcing Duke to clean up the mess it has made of our state.

In fact, even as North Carolina faces the worst threat to its waterways in a generation, state politicians have started a process to eliminate dozens of environmental protections that have kept our water safe and clean for decades.

The negligence and outright intentional destruction of public health safeguards is staggering, and they continue to probe for other damage they might cause in their anti-regulatory fervor. But it isn't just ignorance driving their behavior, ALEC and the Koch Brothers are determined to make North Carolina their model of irresponsibility:


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