NC'S MIDDLE CLASS WILL PAY HIGHER STATE TAXES THANKS TO TRUMP: Many North Carolinians will be paying more taxes to the state because of the federal tax changes signed into law by President Donald Trump before Christmas, officials said Wednesday. That's good news for the state budget, where lawmakers expect to see an additional $120 million in revenue over the next two years, but not so great for taxpayers. North Carolina uses federal adjusted gross income as a starting point to calculate state taxes. Because AGI is figured after the smaller deductions but before the standard deduction, the state stands to gain because some people will have a higher starting point to figure their taxes.
RE-SEGREGATION ON HOLD FOR NOW IN NORTH CAROLINA: State lawmakers who are looking into how to break up North Carolina's school districts agreed Wednesday that additional study is needed before legislation is considered to split up any school systems. Leaders of a state legislative committee said Wednesday they didn't have enough time to address all the issues that would come up if any of North Carolina's 115 school districts were split into smaller ones. The committee adopted a report that says additional study is needed before the General Assembly creates a process for the public to try to break up large school districts. "It did not seem that we could do a responsible procedure to break up a school system within the time frame we had," said Rep. Bill Brawley, a Mecklenburg County Republican and committee co-chairman.
NOTORIOUS CONVICTED FELON GERALD HEGE WILL BE ALLOWED TO RUN FOR SHERIFF AGAIN: The Davidson County Board of Elections voted 3-1 on Tuesday to grant Gerald Hege permission to run for sheriff. Hege pleaded guilty in 2004 after authorities accused him of racial profiling, taking county money and driving his car at high speeds when there was no apparent emergency. Hege had been ineligible to run, but a law that went into effect last December reduced from 15 to 10 years the time those convicted of non-violent felonies must wait to request to have the crimes wiped from their records. Hege said he plans to run a "military" office again if he's elected. Last month, Angela Anderson filed a challenge to Hege's candidacy, saying his expungement doesn't make him qualified to run for sheriff, according to the 2010 N.C. constitutional amendment that states a convicted felon cannot run for sheriff "whether or not that person has been restored to the rights of citizenship in the manner prescribed by law."
TRUMP GROWS INCREASINGLY ANGRIER OVER HIS SITUATION: The Russia collusion probe. The Stormy Daniels allegations. Escalating tension with Moscow. The tempests that have buffeted the White House for months merged into a maelstrom this week and threatened to engulf President Donald Trump, who on Wednesday railed against members of the Justice Department by name and used Twitter to threaten military strikes in Syria and taunt a nuclear-armed power. While alarmed aides and allies worried that Trump was the angriest he'd ever been, the president saw conspiracies in the challenges facing his administration and hinted at more chaos. And as Trump's party was rocked by upheaval on Capitol Hill, White House staffers explored whether he has the legal authority to fire the men leading the investigation into his administration and, as underscored by the seizure of documents from his private lawyer, his business and personal life.
ZUCKERBERG'S CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS EXPOSE LAWMAKERS' LACK OF INTELLIGENCE: House lawmakers were a bit tougher on Zuckerberg than their colleagues in the Senate, many of whom seemed confused by the company and what it does. Some of the House members curtly cut him off in questioning, trying to make the most of their four minutes each. Zuckerberg mostly held his composure, repeating many of the same well-rehearsed answers: He is sorry for the company’s mistakes. He is working on artificial intelligence technology to weed out hate speech and at the same time ensure that they don’t block people for the wrong reasons. People own their own data, as far as he sees it. And he’s come a long way since he created the platform in his dorm room almost 15 years ago. Some of the lawmakers talked to Zuckerberg, 33, as they would their children or grandchildren, and were occasionally befuddled by the complexities of his company. Wrapping up his four minutes, Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., commended the platform, saying “it’s wonderful for us seniors to connect with our relatives.”