Vicki Boyer's blog

Changing horses in mid-stream?

Thanks to NC Policy Watch and Lindsay Wagner for attending today's Education Appropriations Committee meeting and for her interview with Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph).

“They [private schools] are not regulated and we don’t know what they teach there, do we? Do you know?” said Tillman at the conclusion of Tuesday’s joint education appropriations meeting. A proponent of “school choice,” Tillman said he prefers the charter school model over private school vouchers.

SCOTUS plays Dictionary

Will North Carolina ever see the establishment of an independent commission to draw boundary lines for redistricting? Polls say 70% of our citizens would support an impartial effort. But what happens at the Supreme Court Of the US this year may be more important than the bill currently in our legislature. (SB 92)

State & local taxes: Who pays the most?

Allowing the rich to pay less taxes does not result in job growth. Business do not hire new workers unless they absolutely have to do so, and what creates that need is a demand for their services or products. The kind of demand that comes from a vibrant middle class with money in its pockets to spend. NCGA needs to re-address its 'tax reform' and come up with better ideas.

Misogynist GOP Healthcare Plan

NC's own, Senator Richard Burr, is working on the health plan Republicans plan to propose as a replacement for Obamacare. One of the things setting the two plans apart is maternity coverage: Obamacare requires it, the Burr plan does not. Evidently, Senator Burr doesn't think health insurance needs to cover maternity care, even though about 54% of registered voters in North Carolina are women.

Love Your Local Blogger!

Political bloggers got a pat on the back today from an elected official. (I'm not going to share their name.)

Advocacy no longer works the way it once did, where a group would ignore the elected officials already committed to their cause and those already adamantly against that cause, and focus on trying to persuade those officials who were on the fence. That doesn't work any more.
Our political parties have a 'brand,' a platform they are known to support. And they are hardened in their stance on issues. Interest groups can't reach them. Who can? The people who put them into office.

The best way to put pressure on elected official is to let their constituents know what is going on. Bloggers who attend meetings and write on what they see and hear can make a big impact on individual voters. It is the voters who will reach their representative and influence the vote.

Continue blogging. Attend those meetings and keep writing. It does make an impact.

Please continue to drink & smoke

Who knew it would come to this? Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has put forward a plan to raise taxes. In a very minimal sort of way, but an increase none the less. It will begin to address the revenue shortfalls he created in last year's budget. Will North Carolina learn from his mistakes??

Kansas would nearly triple its cigarette tax, raise taxes on alcohol and slow down promised income tax cuts to balance its budget under proposals Republican Gov. Sam Brownback outlined Friday.

To Broadband, or Not To Broadband….

When President Barack Obama spoke about his plan to maintain Net Neutrality on Wednesday, he noted Wilson, NC, as an example of great broadband operation… Wilson set up a town-operated broadband wifi system accessible to all residents. Wilson calls its system Greenlight. It provides a fiber network to each subscriber, and offers video, high speed internet, and phone (local service). Issues are resolved locally, not through a long-distance, hard to reach unidentified person. Wilson is North Carolina's Gigabit City.

Disruptive Innovation & Education

I was not surprised to see the NCGA Repubs were holding a closed meeting Thursday on education issues. Held behind closed doors In Kannapolis and not open to the public, they had several presentations, mostly from entities that favor the privatization of public schools.

I sat in on the NCGA Education Oversight committee meeting last Tuesday, where only one bill was brought forward. That draft bill will fix a situation where a retired educator is asked to come back to work temporarily, but IRS regs forced the school system to give them a bronze-level health care plan, whereas in retirement, they have a gold-level plan. Many were not heeding the call for temp employment so they did not lose the higher level of health insurance. The proposed bill (no number for it yet) will fix that situation.

Public Schools, Private Gains

In a Civitas article appearing today, Mr. Hood notes the value added to education by, and the reasons some schools are successful as:

..a shared vision, a dynamic leader, rigorous curriculum, community support

None of which can be measured by test scores.

As to policy makers, he says:

Rent too damn high

Rent is too damn high, especially if you work for minimum wage. Tell me again why we shouldn't raise the minimum wage?

The Raleigh-Durham area joins several mid-size metros as having the highest rent increases in 2014, according to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal.

The report, based on data from real estate research firm Reis Inc., looks at apartment rents in the fourth quarter 2014 compared to the previous year. Nationwide, the average increase was 3.6 percent; Raleigh rents rose 4.8 percent.

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