A legislative committee looking at school construction needs heard proposed legislation for a new array of potential revenue streams for school construction including a real estate transfer tax. The legislation, presented to the House Select Committee on Public School Construction, would also increase regulatory authority, allowing counties to set up adequate public facility ordinances.
Each county would have to hold a referendum on whether to opt in to the new system. Counties that already have local option real estate transfer taxes and and special impact fee arrangements would have to choose either the new system or their current one.
The Adequate Public Facilities ordinances would allow counties to tie construction permits to available seats in the classroom.
UPDATE This just in: A resolution was presented to the NC Farm Bureau in December and will go before the NCFB Board in February 2007 to be voted on.
Be it resolved: The North Carolina Farm Bureau shall solicit full support and direct involvement of the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) to defend eastern North Carolina farmers from the U.S. Navy’s proposed Outlying Landing Field (OLF) by providing direct lobbying assistance, elevation to AFBF priority status and to take any other action that is appropriate and effective.
I'll look into this later today, but it looks like the NCFB may be finally getting into gear on this. The February vote will be the test. Let's keep a close eye on it. That said, where the dickens has the Farm Bureau been for the past three years?
Back to our regularly scheduled programming . . .
Over the next couple of days, I'll report on several different angles of how your United States Government is working overtime to screw farmers and destroy the environment in northeastern North Carolina. But before all that, let's focus on the spectacularly miserable performance of the North Carolina Farm Bureau and its likely collusion with own own back-stabbing senior senator, Elizabeth Dole.
The North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation was organized in 1936, with the goal of protecting the interests of farm and rural families across the state. For the first time, an organization would give farmers a unified voice on agricultural issues. Now, as then, N.C. Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization, serving as a legislative advocate for our members at the local, state, national and international levels. From the county courthouse to the halls of Congress, N.C. Farm Bureau provides powerful and effective representation for agriculture and rural communities.
That all may have been true back in 1936, but in 2007 the North Carolina Farm Bureau appears to be just another arm of big business, big money, and the Party of Greed. At a time when the Farm Bureau could have stood strong to support the hundreds of farmers in Washington and Beaufort Counties, they stood silent instead.
Today's Insider is reporting that Joe Hackney is building support for his bid to be House Speaker and that Joe Tolson is expected to announce he's out of the race and supporting Hackney.
Hackney, meanwhile, declined to say how many commitments he has for speaker. The Orange County Democrat did say that he has steadily been picking up support. "Starting to roll," Hackney said.
House Democrats are getting together Wednesday for the decision. Hackney told me several weeks ago he would win because of his history as a consensus builder. He's not one to count his chickens before they hatch, so "starting to roll," is a pretty upbeat comment.
The News and Observer’s Sunday edition featured yet another investigative story detailing the dangerous condition of the state’s mental health system. This time the problem revealed is the placement of people with mental illness in rest homes where the staff has no training to take care of them.
That puts everyone at risk, the patients with mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, the other rest home residents, and the staff and visitors. And that’s not just a potential problem. There have been scores of reported incidents including rapes and other violent acts.
The N&O reports that there are now more than 6,000 people suffering from mental illness in the state’s rest homes, a 15 percent increase in the last four years. The culprit, not so indirectly, is the way the state’s mental health reform efforts have been conducted, downsizing state mental hospitals without providing enough funding for community programs to provide services.
I just returned from two days with good people from Washington and Beaufort Counties. These are salt-of-the-earth farmers and environmentalists who are fighting back while the US Navy runs roughshod over one of the world's most precious natural resources. They are the people of NO OLF, and the story they have to tell will just about make you sick. And then it will make you mad.
Over the next few days, I'll be reporting some of what I know of the saga. I'll also be asking you to contact your representatives in Congress with a very specific request - and to do it urgently:
Eliminate all appropriations for any Department of Defense activities related to Site C. No funds for continuing the Navy's environmental impact assessment process. No money for land condemnation or acquisition. No money for nothing. Stop this sucker in its tracks. Now.
You'll understand why and how I've reached these conclusions when you read about:
How Elizabeth Dole may have sold out North Carolina farmers in a back-room deal with John Warner.
How the US Navy "reverse engineered" its Environmental Impact Statement to justify its preferred location for the OLF.
How the US Navy threatened a family farmer by saying "we are going to own your land old man."
How the Navy may have illegally trapped red wolves living on the proposed OLF site in violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act
How the North Carolina Farm Bureau abandoned family farmers for what appears to be nothing but political expediency
How the Bush administration threatened a senior US Fish And Wildlife Service officer for obeying the law when he turned over FWS records in response to a Freedom of Information Act
How two brave women organized 400 family farmers to fight this insanity
Submitted by Betsy Muse on Mon, 01/08/2007 - 10:15pm
The News & Observer is reporting that NC Senator Robert Lee Holloman has died. He is the second legislator from his area to have died in as many days. Senator Holloman died at home after a brief illness. We thank him for his service to our state and we thank his family for the sacrifices they made which allowed him to serve.
The process for naming a successor is the same. Democratic officials from the counties he represented will gather to make a recommendation to Governor Easley. He will appoint someone to serve the remainder of the term. The following is a profile that was written here in August.
Ed Ridpath announced today that he's back in the race for the NC House (District 37). Good on him.
Fuquay-Varina, NC - Ed Ridpath today announced his 2008 candidacy for the North Carolina State House, District 37. In 2006, Ridpath, a Democrat, won 43% of the vote as a newcomer to politics in his bid to unseat three-term Republican incumbent Paul “Skip” Stam, now the Republican Minority Leader in the NC House. Ridpath made the following statement:
“After a relaxing holiday break to take time for quiet thought and much discussion, I have decided to serve again as the Democratic candidate for the North Carolina House, District 37 in 2008. Family, friends, neighbors, and supporters across North Carolina have urged me to continue to build on the many successes of our 2006 campaign.
Submitted by George Pence on Mon, 01/08/2007 - 6:12pm
Republican NC Senator Harris Blake said that his top priority in the next legislative session is to "...free the counties from the obligation of Medicaid costs." Is it cynical to wonder if Sen. Blake has an alternate method of funding in mind to cover these costs? Could he just be wanting to do away with Medicaid obligations?
Did you know that Rep. David Price is co-chair of the Democratic Party committee that establishes the calendar for presidential primaries? Price is quoted in The New York Sun as saying that California could move its primary up to February 5th without running afoul of party rules.
Today’s New York Times has a classic, class warfare argument from a Congressional Budget Office analysis from 2004 tax data that purports to show “Bush Tax Cuts Offer Most for Very Rich” but actually shows that the top 1 percent of income earners paid about 37 percent of all federal income taxes—a big jump from prior years.
And do you know why that is? Here's a hint. The top 1% saw their incomes jump by 18 percent in 2004, for a total of 53 percent of the income growth. That means one out of every two dollars in higher wages that year went to one percent of the population.
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