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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC CHAMBER PROTECTS BUSINESS TAX CUTS OVER QUALITY EDUCATION FOR KIDS: When dozens of the state’s most prominent business leaders signed onto a brief supporting full-funding of a consensus plan to assure every child has access to a quality education – a right guaranteed in the State Constitution – the state Chamber issued an over-the-top attack on the court order under the guise that the group’s current chair had not given her permission to have her name listed. Three former state Chamber chairs are among the signers and the current chair, according to Tom Bradshaw (one of those former chairs) Sepi Saidi, told him she agreed to be listed and offered to provide financial support for the effort. After release of the names last week, the state Chamber issued an over-heated statement saying she’d not given her permission while also denying – not that it had even been suggested – that the state Chamber supported the order. Quickly after she made it known that she did not want her name included among the signers, it was removed from the list. The N.C. Chamber knows the public education needs of the state but has chosen to ignore them and placed their financial gain above doing the best for our school children. This goes deeper than just a he said, she said issue; it reveals the corrupting influence of the NC GOP and the post-truth phenomena of Trumpism. But every time they rewrite history, their shaky facade of morality weakens.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-nc-chamber-protects-business-tax-cuts-over-quality-education-for-kids...

Daily dose

Trying this again, posting this email from Capital Broadcasting Company, without including all the links. You can subscribe to CBC's daily email here.

CBC Editorial: Monday, Aug. 8, 2022; editorial # 8780
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

Last week North Carolinians learned what the leaders of the N.C. Chamber paid to eliminate the state’s corporate income tax – abandonment of support for public education and obedience to the powerbrokers in the General Assembly.

When dozens of the state’s most prominent business leaders signed onto a brief supporting full-funding of a consensus plan to assure every child has access to a quality education – a right guaranteed in the State Constitution – the state Chamber issued an over-the-top attack on the court order under the guise that the group’s current chair had not given her permission to have her name listed.

Three former state Chamber chairs are among the signers and the current chair, according to Tom Bradshaw (one of those former chairs) Sepi Saidi, told him she agreed to be listed and offered to provide financial support for the effort. After release of the names last week, the state Chamber issued an over-heated statement saying she’d not given her permission while also denying – not that it had even been suggested – that the state Chamber supported the order. Quickly after she made it known that she did not want her name included among the signers, it was removed from the list.

Not only didn’t it support the order, but it went on to say it opposed any court action requiring the state to pay any damages for its failure – since a state Supreme Court order in 1997 – to fulfill its Constitutional promise.

It can only be concluded that’s the price the state Chamber’s paying to the leaders of the legislature in return for taking the N.C. corporate income tax rate from -- 6.9% in 2011, down to 2.5% now and zero by 2030.

While the Chamber has, echoing the leadership of the General Assembly, tried to contend the issue is partisan the truth is to the contrary.

It was a unanimous court that issued the first Leandro ruling that the state failed to provide all children with access to a quality education. In 2004 Republican Justice Robert Orr wrote the unanimous decision further reinforcing the 1997 ruling that it was the state’s obligation to make sure every classroom is led by a well-trained, competent teacher; that schools are run by well-trained, competent administrators and that all schools have the resources to meet the needs of ALL children – including those who are “at-risk” – so they all have the opportunity for a sound basic education.

Since our nation’s founding – and reinforced in North Carolina by our State Constitution, there are co-equal branches of government. It is the role of the courts – in principles enshrined since the famous 1803 Marbury v. Madison decision -- to determine if the administrative and legislative branches of government are acting according to the law. If they aren’t, it is the job of the courts to tell them how to fix it – and even with specific remedies.

We’ve come to understand well that the current leaders of the legislative branch of government believe they are a power unto themselves. They’re testing that proposition – the so-called “independent state legislature” theory -- contending state courts cannot review the legislature’s action concerning congressional redistricting.

There was a time when the state Chamber offered leadership on behalf of public education and North Carolina’s school children. Governors like Jim Holshouser, Jim Hunt and Jim Martin could rely on the Chamber for advice, support and leadership in their efforts to provide needed resources for our schools.

The N.C. Chamber knows the public education needs of the state but has chosen to ignore them and placed their financial gain above doing the best for our school children.

NOTE: Among the signers of the business leaders’ amicus brief is James F. Goodmon, chair and CEO of Capitol Broadcasting Company.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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TELL US WHERE YOU STAND. BAN ABORTION? MORE LIMITS? VOTERS MUST KNOW NOW: Just this week in conservative Kansas, voters overwhelmingly rejected – 59% no to 41% yes --- an effort to amend the state’s constitution to so legislators could further restrict and even ban abortions in the state. Regardless of the issue, but especially in a matter that touches nearly every North Carolinian so personally and directly, offering broad platitudes and generalities won’t cut it. It is evasive and intended to mislead rather than dealing fully, honestly and plainly with those who will be most impacted by what legislators do. Voters deserve to know, and candidates are obliged to express in detail, where they stand. North Carolina voters must know, before they cast ballots this fall, in specific detail where every legislative candidate stands. Do they stand with extremes (Moore’s description) like the Republican legislators who want the State Constitution to say life starts at fertilization and anyone who willfully tries or destroys a life is accountable for attempted murder? No voter should wonder where their candidates for the General Assembly stand on Roe v. Wade and the rights of women to make critical decisions concerning their health and life. This is a "yes or no" question, and anything in-between should not even be printed or reported. Women deserve the truth, not calculated deception.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-tell-us-where-you-stand-ban-abortion-more-limits-voters-must-know-now...

Daily dose

Trying something new this morning, posting this email from Capital Broadcasting Company, without including all the links (which is a major amount of work). After doing BlueNC off and on for 16 years, I confess I've gotten lazy. But I figure it's better for you to see this digest from CBC and find the links yourself, than to not see the stories at all.

You can subscribe to CBC's daily email here.

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Monday, Aug. 1, 2022

TODAY'S COLUMN

BUSINESS LEADERS: Court must order state to fulfill Constitution's promise to NC children

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following are highlights from the friend of the court (amici curiae) brief signed in support of implementation and funding of The Comprehensive Remedial Plan in the Leandro cases to assure that North Carolina meets its constitutional obligation to provide every child with access to a quality education. It was signed by 54 of the state’s top business leaders including the current chair of the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce and three former chairs. The complete list of signers follows is at the conclusion of these highlights. You can read the full text of the brief, prepared by counsel for the business leaders Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, here.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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COURT MUST AFFIRM LEANDRO ORDER AND PLAN, NC MUST FUND IT: CNBC recently lauded North Carolina as the #1 state in the country for business, yet we hear from business leaders that they struggle to find enough qualified candidates for the jobs in our state. Businesses need strong graduates from our K-12 programs, community colleges, and universities. We have countless research studies pointing to the importance of investing in public education for the long-term success of students and our economy. In North Carolina, it is the state’s responsibility to fund public education. Yet our state lawmakers make decision after decision failing to invest sufficiently in our future -- in our kids and their schools. It did not have to be like this. But years of imprudent policy and funding decisions have led to this point. The state has a significant budget surplus, $6.5 billion just this year. We have the money - and when considering the return on investment, is there a better way to spend our surplus than to invest in our students? And as long as Republicans in the General Assembly continue to low-ball education funding, NC's rural-urban divide will broaden. State funding can be the great equalizer, harmonizing the education quality of all 100 counties. But when you force those counties to supplement teacher pay, only the ones with a larger property tax base can afford to do so. Rural counties are forced to make do, and that was surely not the intent of those who wrote and approved our state's Constitution.
https://www.wral.com/mary-ann-wolf-court-must-affirm-leandro-order-and-plan-n-c-must-fund-it/20394060/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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CANDIDATES, TELL VOTERS CLEARLY AND FULLY, WHERE YOU STAND ON ABORTION: It is a question every candidate for the General Assembly should be asked and one that every candidate – regardless of political affiliation – should answer in full and complete detail. Most Democratic candidates, including incumbents, have declared their support – at a minimum -- for laws that affirm the state’s current abortion laws and support for the standard in Roe v. Wade – essentially leaving the decision to the woman during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Voters need to demand and end equivocations and vagaries, like those offered up by Berger. On one hand Berger says he wants some period of “autonomy” for woman. But then, just hours after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, said: “Senate Republicans will determine whether other steps are appropriate to strengthen our pro-life laws.” Further, Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore demanded that state Attorney General Josh Stein “take all necessary actions to lift the injunction currently barring full enforcement of our state’s abortion restrictions.” This is no time for vague sloganeering that offers pacification to the partisan base while hiding specifics from more skeptical voters. The sad truth is, most of those who historically vote Republican don't want to know. They would prefer the comfortable deniability that ambiguity provides, safely avoiding the moral crossroads. It's not so much the extremism we should fear as it is the apathy that allows it to fester.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-candidates-tell-voters-clearly-and-fully-where-you-stand-on-abortion/...

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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IT'S TIME TO STOP. NOTHING "FICTIONAL" ABOUT JAN 6 INSURRECTION: Phil Berger can’t have it both ways – as he seems to try to do during his meandering reply to reporter Travis Fain’s question about the Jan. 6 committee hearings. In one breath, Berger says: “I generally steer away from fictional readings … What’s going on there is an effort to paint a picture that is an exaggeration, in many respects, of what happened. And, clearly, in many respects it is an exaggeration of what, or maybe even just a fictional account what someone’s perceptions is of people’s motivations.” He suggests that in 2000, Democrats did the same thing. While Democratic nominee Al Gore’s campaign sought a detailed recount of the close results in Florida, Gore also, on Dec. 13, 2000, conceded the election to George W. Bush. Democrat Hillary Clinton, in the early-morning hours after Election Day 2016, conceded to Trump. It was an act of faith in the law and our nation that American’s have yet to see from Republican Donald Trump. Aside from the fact that we all watched the insurrection as it took place, the most damning testimony dealing with "motivations" has come from within the Republican Party fold; a brilliant move by Congressional Dems. And just like with gerrymandering, Berger's, "Democrats did it too!" falls flat for lack of relevance.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-it-s-time-to-stop-nothing-fictional-about-jan-6-insurrection/20372563/

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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LEGISLATURE GRASPS AT A SOLUTION IN SEARCH OF A PROBLEM: The State Constitution has, since 1943 had a state Board of Education largely appointed by the governor with confirmation by the legislature. With no notice in the waning hours of the current legislative session, House leaders introduced and forced through the committee system and on to the full House floor a plan to change the State Constitution to take the appointment power away from the governor and have voters elect the board members. Further, it would align the board’s representative districts with the state’s congressional districts. Given the legislature’s hyper gerrymandering of congressional and legislative districts – which has been the subject of endless litigation over the last decade and continues to this day -- it would guarantee a partisan majority of Republicans on the board. Amending the state Constitution and altering the way public education is administered by the state should not be the result of a slap-dash solution concocted in secret and forced onto the ballot in the closing moments of a legislative session. Since Roy Cooper was first elected almost six years ago, Republicans have systematically usurped his powers, and even laughed about it. It's long past time the voters took them to task for such arrogant and despotic behavior.
https://www.wral.com/editorial-legislature-grasps-at-a-solution-in-search-of-a-problem/20359285/

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