DEMOCRACY NC SEEKS CRIMINAL PROBE OF MCCRORY CAMPAIGN OVER VOTER CHALLENGES: A voter-rights organization hopes to persuade state and federal prosecutors to investigate whether former Gov. Pat McCrory’s campaign and the state Republican Party conspired in late 2016 to falsely accuse hundreds of voters of fraud. Nearly all protests were prepared by attorneys with the firm Holtzman Vogel Josefiak Torchinsky, based in Warrenton, Virginia, whose clients have reportedly included Republican strategist Karl Rove's American Crossroads organization and other GOP groups. Disclosure reports on the state Board of Elections website show that the Pat McCrory Committee and Pat McCrory Committee Legal Defense Fund paid the firm $98,000 in late November and December.
VP PENCE ISSUES MORE THREATS TO NORTH KOREA: From the wind-swept deck of a massive aircraft carrier, Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday warned North Korea not to test the resolve of the U.S. military. "The United States of America will always seek peace but under President Trump, the shield stands guard and the sword stands ready," Pence told 2,500 sailors wearing blue fatigues and Naval baseball caps on a sunny, windy morning aboard the carrier at the U.S. Yokosuka naval base in Tokyo Bay. "Those who would challenge our resolve or readiness should know, we will defeat any attack and meet any use of conventional or nuclear weapons with an overwhelming and effective American response," Pence said.
GEORGIA DEMOCRAT JON OSSOFF APPEARS HEADED FOR RUNOFF ELECTION: A Georgia congressional election in a historically conservative district is headed to a runoff that raises the stakes in an early measure for President Donald Trump and both major parties ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Democrat Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old former congressional staffer, fell a few percentage points shy of an outright victory amid an 18-candidate scramble in Georgia's 6th Congressional District. Republican Karen Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, finished a distant second, qualifying for the June 20 runoff.
JERRY TILLMAN UPSET VOODOO ECONOMICS WASN'T USED IN CALCULATING TAX CUT'S CONSEQUENCES: The state Senate’s proposal to cut $1 billion in taxes over the next two years will lead to budget shortfalls starting in the 2018-19 fiscal year, according to an analysis produced by the General Assembly’s Fiscal Research Division. “The problem with those projections is they’re going to be based on past growth,” Sen. Jerry Tillman, a Randolph County Republican, said Monday night. He had not seen the specific estimate predicting the impacts from Senate Bill 325 – which supporters have labeled the Billion Dollar Middle Class Tax Cut bill – but said such projections don’t account for the economic boons that are courted by tax cuts. “Tax cuts spur more growth. They certainly have in the last six years.”
EDITORIAL: LEGISLATURE SHORTCHANGES NC SCHOOL KIDS WITH UNFUNDED MANDATE: The current leadership in the General Assembly loudly proclaims that North Carolina is, at last, being run like a business. The evidence, however, is sadly lacking. The failure to provide adequate funding and other resources for our public schools is, unfortunately, example number one of their mismanagement. The legislature’s enacted a reduction in class size for the lower (K-3) grades but failed to adequately fund the mandate. Schools now face dramatic cutbacks in other areas of instruction and increasing class size in the upper grades. Additionally, the legislature failed to consider the significant added costs of building the necessary new classrooms. So, when it comes to education, the legislature’s effort seems aimed at running the business into the ground. Local school officials throughout the state already are warning that layoffs are coming. Notices are being distributed now. Schools are in a desperate quest to find ways to avoid laying off as many as 4,500 music, art and physical education teachers around the state.