Whither Kansas, & Will NC Follow?


“Hope you’ll visit us in Kansas. We need your sales tax revenue.”

So said Annie McKay, Executive Director of of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth at yesterday’s Crucial Conversation held by NC Policy Watch. The room was packed with North Carolinians concerned for our state’s financial health in the wake of drastic tax changes enacted by NCGA leadership.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Don't drink the water

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There goes the neighborhood:

Most of the private wells tested near Duke Energy’s North Carolina coal ash ponds show contaminants above state groundwater standards, state regulators said Tuesday.

Of 117 test results mailed to power plant neighbors in recent days, 87 exceeded groundwater standards, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said.

And every one of those neighbors needs to be compensated and/or have potable water made available to them by Duke Energy, at no cost to the homeowners, the state, or other Duke Energy ratepayers. You break it, you buy it. But as long as DENR continues to run interference for Duke Energy, people are going to suffer:

Soon to be breaking: North Carolina prohibits training doctors to do abortions

This story is not true as of today, however it will likely be true before the end of this week. Congratulations, North Carolina. You're leading the way in ignorance and bigotry.

RALEIGH, NC -- The North Carolina General Assembly today approved extreme new legislation designed to limit abortion rights. Effective May 1st, any institution that receives state dollars or tax benefits will be prohibited from (1) training doctors to perform abortions, (2) training nurses to assist with abortions, and (3) providing any kind of abortion-related services or care.

NC lawmakers push nullification of Federal firearms laws and regulations

Talk about having a "chilling effect.":

§ 1‑641. Certain federal law regulating firearms invalid.
A federal law, including a statute, an executive, administrative, or court order, or a rule, that infringes on a law‑abiding citizen's right to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution or Section 30 of Article I of the North Carolina Constitution, is invalid and not enforceable in this State. A federal law that infringes on a law‑abiding citizen's right to keep and bear arms includes a law that does any of the following:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

The GOP's great tax shift continues:

This is what happens when you realize your previous "bad idea" won't go unnoticed, so you switch to another "really bad idea" and hope that one won't hurt you come election time.

Daily dose: Not so Secret Service edition

A Pulitzer for Secret Service reporting (Washington Post) -- For Washington Post reporter Carol Leonnig, (who once was covered N.C. government and politics for the Charlotte Observer) patience, timing and some extraordinary effort paid handsome returns. Leonnig spent months gaining the trust of normally reticent Secret Service agents to produce a series of bombshell stories last year about lapses in presidential security. In the wake of her reporting, which shook the faith in what was commonly viewed as an elite and selfless agency, President Obama replaced more than half of the service’s senior leadership, including its director. On Monday, Leonnig, 49, was awarded journalism’s highest honor, the Pulitzer Prize, for her revelations about the Secret Service.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/washington-posts-carol-leonnig-wins-pulitzerprize-for-...

Vacated.

The US Supreme Court rejected the NC Supreme Court's ruling upholding the NC General Assembly's racially-motivated redistricting scheme, and sent the case back to the lower Court for a second look. This doesn't mean the redistricting itself has been rejected, but it is a step in that direction. Film at eleven. Actually, they don't allow filming in the Supreme Court, which is why we see those all those fancy sketches. And I doubt if we'll know more by eleven...*sigh* You know what I'm talking about.

Family adds "Don't vote for Hillary" to father's obituary

Move aside Florida, North Carolina idiots are getting jealous of your notoriety:

A North Carolina man's obituary asked two things of friends and family: instead of sending flowers for the funeral, give the money to charity. And don't vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016.

Upright's daughter, Jill McLain, said the rock-ribbed Republican was passionate about politics. She says that recollection prompted his family to ask obituary readers to reject Clinton's presidential bid. Mike Upright said his deceased father voiced his opinions regularly.

Good job, you've just succeeded in making your dead father seem like an asshole to tens of thousands of people he never met. What's next, a Jeb Bush yardsign on his grave?

Daily dose: McCrory's tripping edition

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McCrory discloses financing for trips he said he didn’t need to reveal (Raleigh News & Observer) -- NC Gov. Pat McCrory has filed, again, another new ethics disclosure report, which includes eight trips he took last year. McCrory initially didn’t think he needed to report trips like these.
http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/politics-columns-blogs/under-the-dome/article18...

Private profits, public burden: What's missing in the low-wage debate

Keeping the minimum wage down is a costly mistake:

The report estimates that state and federal governments spend more than $150 billion a year on four key anti-poverty programs used by working families: Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food stamps and the earned-income tax credit, which is specifically aimed at working families.

“The low-wage business model practiced by many of the largest and most profitable employers in the country not only leaves many working families unable to afford the basics, but also imposes significant costs on the public as a whole,” Sarah Leberstein, a senior staff lawyer with the National Employment Law Project, testified recently before Connecticut lawmakers.

Something as simple as this shouldn't be difficult for people to grasp, but it is. Even some liberal friends & family of mine will argue vehemently against raising the minimum wage more than just a little bit, partly because they're prone to navel-gazing, but also because we (as a country) have been bombarded with Capitalist propaganda since early childhood. Hard work pays off, be smart with your money, plan for the future, yada yada yada. It's not necessarily wrong, but it blinds us to the realities of the global economy. I actually stumbled across this Berkeley study a few days ago, which only reinforced what I already knew: Employers have been sucking a lot more from the government teat than most people realize, by shifting their worker's pay to taxpayers. I even tried to 'splain it to some Conservatives on Facebook:

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