WHEN LEGISLATORS SAY THERE ISN'T MONEY, THEY MEAN CORPORATE TAX CUTS ARE MORE IMPORTANT: Corporate tax collections were nearly $1.33 billion in the 2014 budget year. This year collections will be about half that. If corporate tax revenues simply remained the same as they were in 2014, there would have been an additional $2.3 billion available for important needs over the last five years. While Rep. Horn observed: “We simply don’t have the money,” he’s not quite correct. The money is there. It is just that Horn and most of his fellow legislators would rather not spend it on programs that, say help children get ready to learn when they start school. It’s far more important to spend it on tax cuts for businesses. Don’t believe it? Just check with the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce.
MURDER CONVICTIONS IGNORED THE WIDER THREAT TO MUSLIMS: I can put this no more eloquently than Deah Barakat’s brother, Farris, who said in court, “This is as much a dispute over parking as Rosa Parks was an argument over a bus seat.” It has been clear to the family and supporters of Deah, Yusor, and Razan that one of the reasons why Hicks was charged with murder, rather than a hate crime (or domestic terrorism, for that matter), was that the shooter was a white man, and his victims were Muslim. We see this refusal to acknowledge Muslims as victims in the way that Congress reacted to the victims’ father when he testified at the House Judiciary Committee on White Nationalism. In his testimony, Dr. Abu Salha identified “bigotry and hate” as the motivations for the execution of his daughters and son-in-law. Yet the responses of several Representatives nonetheless reinforced the link between Islam, terrorism, and anti-Semitism. “Did you teach your children, your daughters, hatred?” asked Representative Jackson Lee. “Does Islam teach Muslims to hate Jewish people?” inquired Representative Hank Johnson. There was no room for Mohammad Abu Salha to be a grieving father, warning his country about the threat of white nationalism. Instead, his Muslim identity became sufficient grounds to put him on trial for the crimes of radical jihadists.
COOPERATION, NOT CONFRONTATION, WILL CONTROL STATE HEALTH PLAN COSTS: Today more than 700,000 North Carolina government workers, retirees, teachers and their dependents are less certain about how much they’ll be paying for health care. They were promised they’d pay less and the State Health Plan would reap big savings. Unless there is a dramatic change soon, the bungled approach taken by State Treasurer Dale Folwell likely means greater out-of-pocket costs for those who depend on the plan to cover their health expenses. Folwell said he was going to reduce payments to providers by $300 million to $400 million – and those providers were told to take it or leave it. Absent any dialogue and negotiation, nearly every provider opted to leave it. Now the entire State Health Plan is in jeopardy. This is not how good employers treat their employees. That’s not how to get control of a health care system that nearly everyone agrees is plagued by high costs that need to be reduced.
WE JUST DODGED A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS WITH THE CENSUS: It is important to understand just what a radical course of action the administration was flirting with. The attorney general of the United States declared that he had been in regular contact with the president about the question, which the president was determined to see featured on the decennial survey. “I agree with him that the Supreme Court decision was wrong,” Attorney General William P. Barr said. Thankfully we are not going to find out for certain, but what is the possible import of insisting that the Supreme Court got it “wrong" here? Barr’s affirming of Trump’s repeated assertion that the court had erred, while promising to produce some executive remedy for the error, portended a response that was not faithful to the court’s mandate. Certainly, such a course would not have been out of character for the headstrong and constitutionally uninformed president. Such a response would have been tantamount to challenging the bedrock principle of Marbury v. Madison that “it is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”
IT WAS NEVER ABOUT BUSING: That we even use the word “busing” to describe what was in fact court-ordered school desegregation, and that Americans of all stripes believe that the brief period in which we actually tried to desegregate our schools was a failure, speaks to one of the most successful propaganda campaigns of the last half century. Further, it explains how we have come to be largely silent — and accepting — of the fact that 65 years after the Supreme Court struck down school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education, black children are as segregated from white students as they were in the mid-1970s when Mr. Biden was working with Southern white supremacist legislators to curtail court-ordered busing. During the late 1950s and early ’60s, white politicians used every possible means to challenge the legitimacy of the Supreme Court and subvert its integration mandate. They siphoned state tax dollars — dollars that black residents also paid — to fund a separate system of all-white private schools that came to be known as segregation academies, paying teacher salaries and offering white children tuition vouchers to attend. All-white legislatures shuttered schools and entire school systems rather than allow a single black child to attend a “white” school.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
SENATOR SAM SEARCY: WE NEED TO UNITE ON THE BUDGET: Instead of continuing the partisan back and forth on the budget, we need to engage in good faith negotiations that focus on what is best for all North Carolinians. Our focus needs to be on education and healthcare, two of the main driving factors of a strong economy. We need to properly invest in our teachers and schools to provide our children the resources and skills they need to move our economy forward. We should capitalize on today’s historically low interest rates to pass a school bond to help build new schools in a fiscally responsible manner. We need to give our teachers competitive pay to keep the best and brightest in North Carolina. I believe our budget should include closing the Medicaid coverage gap, which would give nearly 600,000 North Carolinians access to the healthcare coverage they need. Expanding Medicaid would also stimulate our economy by bringing 40,000 jobs to the state, many created in rural areas that need stable well-paying jobs. This can all be accomplished with no additional taxes.
LEE A. GABLE: RAPINOE DISSES TRUMP, BUT NOT OUR COUNTRY: President Trump believes that Megan Rapinoe, voted the most valuable player in the Women’s World Cup, is being disrespectful to our country because she has said clearly that she would not come to the White House if invited. But Ms. Rapinoe does not disrespect our country, she disrespects him. There is a big difference. A great many Americans dearly love our country but do not respect him. Most people, even most Trump supporters, will tell you that they cannot respect a pathological liar, which this man is. If you use his reasoning to determine whether someone disrespects our country, then you would have to agree that there were many people who disrespected our country when President Obama was in office. He couldn’t say a thank-you without being criticized and vilified by many of the same people who support Trump. President Trump, who, most of the time, sees everything as being about him, needs to recognize that, in this case, it is indeed about him, not the country. But sadly, he is incapable of doing that.
BOB AND SUSAN B. MCCLANAHAN: IN A DEMOCRACY, VOTERS CHOOSE THEIR REPRESENTATIVES: There is a growing consensus that partisan gerrymandering is wrong. In the recent Supreme Court decision, the court majority decided they do not condone gerrymandering, but they simply lack the power to make things right. A majority of NC House legislators (67 out of 120, including Republicans and Democrats) have sponsored one of six pending redistricting reform bills in this General Assembly session. Three powerful men hold the keys to whether or not these bills will receive any consideration: NC House Speaker Tim Moore, NC Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, and Representative David Lewis (Chairman of the NC House Redistricting and Rules Committees). In 2009, back when Democrats were drawing the maps, each of these men sponsored an Independent Redistricting Commission bill. It is hypocritical for them to now prevent these bills from being discussed and voted upon. No matter which party is in the majority, it is time for voters to choose their representatives, instead of the other way around. Please call these leaders to insist that they allow our legislators to discuss and vote on these bills: