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.

Republicans screw up charter school laws even more

Privatization going off the rails:

And when you're doing something really unwise, cutting off the debate is SOP:

Daily dose

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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Another Case for Reparations

We often talk about social justice at BlueNC, but we rarely talk about reparations. I'd like to take a step in that direction this morning. I'm not an expert on the subject and until recently didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it. This article in the May issue of The Atlantic by Ta-Nehisi Coates helped me get over the hurdle of understanding the necessity of reparations.

Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.

Part of what kept me from embracing the idea of reparations was the enormity of what needs to be done and the knowledge that it won't be enough.

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.

Gun-toting pig-farmer arrested trying to enter Congressional office building

You're not in South Carolina anymore, Toto:

U.S. Capitol police arrested a 59-year-old Camden, S.C., man Wednesday as he tried to enter a congressional office building with a loaded 9mm Ruger handgun in his bag. Officers discovered the weapon as they stopped Ronald William Prestage at about 9:20 a.m. as part of a routine search of visitors at the Rotunda entrance of the Cannon building

He was charged with carrying a pistol without a license and taken to the Central Cell Block, a facility of Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department. The State newspaper, a McClatchy publication in Columbia, S.C., reported that Prestage is a veterinarian, hog farmer, and president of Prestage Farms in Camden.

Well, that's one approach to lobbying reform. But it's kind of hard to write legislation when you've got a Ruger stuck in your ear. Prestage is also (big surprise) a deep-pocketed GOP donor, which earned him a seat on North Carolina State University's Board of Trustees:

Daily dose

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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Kochs purchase Thom Tillis

The recent Patriot Majority advertisement says that Thom Tillis is like one of the family to the Koch brothers, and Thom's recent campaign finance reports bear that out.

Charles Koch, his wife, son and daughter-in-law each gave Tillis the maximum $2,600 contribution, according to his campaign finance report made public Wednesday. Tillis, the House speaker, reported the combined $10,400 in donations on June 26 and 27. Earlier this year, he reported a $5,000 donation from the Koch Industries PAC.

Of course, all that pales in comparison to the millions in dark money that the Kochs have already spent on Thom's behalf.

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