NCGA

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.
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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:

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.

Don't you hate it when unwelcome guests drop in unexpectedly?

Gee, Pat, you could have called first.

Gov. Pat McCrory made an unusual visit to the legislature Thursday to "touch base" with House and Senate lawmakers as the budget stalemate drags on.

McCrory tried to duck public notice by cutting through a meeting room, but a House Rules meeting was underway in the room at the time, leading to an awkward moment for the governor and his retinue.

Caught off guard, Prevaricating Pat reverted to his natural tendency: lying.

Governors in general are not often seen at the legislature, but he denied that his visit was unusual. "I come here often just to have interaction. I cut through here on the way to the house, back and forth to the house often," he insisted.

Right, Pat. Like you visit the Moral Monday protests "all the time".

Trying his best to minimize the awkwardness, Pat moved on.

Coal Ash Wednesday: about those fish...

Why leaving the vast majority of the coal ash in the Dan River is dangerously negligent:

Most species of aquatic insects live in the sediment, collecting, filtering, and grazing upon minute particles of food. Nothing goes to waste down there, not even the arsenic and selenium from coal ash. Heavy metals get lodged into the tissues of any insect that eats them. When minnows eat the insects, they consume the toxins. Larger fish get toxins from every minnow they eat. As you climb higher in the food chain, the amount of arsenic or selenium you find multiplies progressively. This process is called biomagnification and it has impacts on a food web from bottom to top.

NC's Department of Public Health has lifted its recreational advisory (they have yet to post the press release on their website, but I will link to it when they do), telling people it's okay to swim and fish in the River. But they're apparently still advising people to not eat the fish they say it's okay to catch. Which is a contradiction I'm still trying to wrap my mind around. Anyway, back to the science:

Tuesday Twitter roundup

We'll start today's entry with a complicated issue:

Quite possibly too complicated for our current leaders:

The puppet and his master doth protest too much

Denying the blatantly obvious:

“He drives the budgetary policy goals of the administration,” said one Republican lobbyist in town who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order not to anger either man. “The governor yields to Art. His real power, his influence in state government, is really having that turf all to himself.”

“My job, my role, my goal is not to influence and direct the governor,” Pope said emphatically. “My job is to analyze, to provide advice, facts, what the alternatives are. I present the information, and the governor decides.” McCrory said Pope defers to him, while often catching mistakes in the calculations made by state departments and legislative staffers. “We need more nerds like him in state government,” McCrory said.

The proper term is "wonk." Somebody who can explain how Senator Palpatine subverted the Republic's form of government is a nerd. But you know, Pope isn't just a wonk, either. A wonk usually writes or translates legislation for somebody else, without putting his or her influential twist on the language. That should be called "wanking." Making Art Pope a wanker.

Tillisberger the defendants

Apparently the Tillisberger's jobs program consists of full employment for the lawyers defending the many lawsuits filed against the NC GOP's unconstitutional laws.

It's hard to keep track, but Tillisberger is being sued for at least:

  • School vouchers;
  • The voter suppression law (with plaintiffs including at least the US Department of Justice, ACLU, NAACP, League of Women Voters and college students and other individuals);
  • The marriage oppression law;
  • The unconstitutional legislative building rules; and
  • Teacher career status revocation.

Add to that list the possum torture lawsuit. PETA has filed suit again, this time over the new law that Tillisberger passed in response to the previous lawsuit.

Chronicling NC's great Republican tax shift

The only thing trickling down is the tax burden:

Adding salt to the wound is the state-imposed utility tax, which went from 3 percent to 7 percent as of July 1. The tax increase comes from Raleigh’s effort to protect a threatened minority (wealthy people and large corporations) and redistribute wealth (from the lower and middle classes to the wealthy).

Gov. Pat McCrory takes credit for that. He got a 2 percent cut in individual income tax and even larger cut in corporate state income tax, and said “other taxes have gone up to make up the difference. It was tax reform with a move to more of a consumption-based tax. You pay tax on a newspaper now, lawyers have to pay tax, there are a host of other new or increased consumption taxes and we closed up a lot of loopholes.”

Remember that the next time your Republican lawmakers say they cut your taxes.

Even if they do remember most of the Republicans' base is afflicted with the "Democrats did it too!" method of rationalization. And usually they're screaming that from under the bus their heroes have placed them.

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