Fitzsimon File

Fitzsimon File

Fitzsimon File Top Story

Americans want the Affordable Care Act improved not undermined

Here is something you probably haven’t heard much lately, if at all, given the shocking news from Charlottesville and the disturbing reaction by President Trump.

Roughly 80 percent of Americans believe that Trump and his administration should do all they can to make the Affordable Care Act work while only 17 percent believe they should try to make the law fail so they can replace it.

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Monday numbers

3---number of states that adopted new state Earned Income Tax Credits in 2017---Montana, Hawaii, and South Carolina (“State EITC Wins Help Spread Prosperity,” Off the Charts Blog, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 10, 2017)

80,000---number of low and moderate income families in Montana who will benefit from a new state refundable EITC (Ibid)

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The Follies

Lawmakers vote to protect themselves and illegal districts

The big story in Raleigh this week was the adoption by a joint House and Senate redistricting committee of the criteria lawmakers will use to redraw legislative districts in the next few weeks after the federal courts found the current districts were illegally gerrymandered using race.

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The scandalous special sessions that subvert our democracy

The General Assembly will convene a special session next week but most people in North Carolina, including the vast majority of the members of House and Senate, have no idea what legislation they will consider while they are in town.

Last week lawmakers met in a one-day special session supposedly to consider overriding a series of vetoes by Governor Roy Cooper. That was the stated purpose anyway.

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Monday numbers

2,466---amount in dollars that per-student state funding in the UNC system is less than the funding level in 2008 when adjusted for inflation (“Funding Down, Tuition Up: State Cuts to Higher Education Threaten Quality and Affordability at Public Colleges, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 15, 2016)

20---percentage decline in per-pupil funding for the university system from 2008 to 2016 when adjusted for inflation

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UNC Board vote on Civil Rights Center the latest move in an ideological crusade

Two and half years ago, the UNC Board of Governors voted to fire widely respected UNC President Tom Ross.

The move by the handpicked board of the Republican legislative majorities came with no public notice and there was no reason given for forcing Ross to resign.

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Monday numbers

56---number of days since the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed with a lower court ruling that General Assembly districts drawn in 2011 were illegally gerrymandered based on race (“U.S. Supreme Court agrees NC legislative districts were illegally gerrymandered based on race,” Progressive Pulse, June 6, 2017)

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Health care for millions and democracy itself is now at risk

It is not just health care for 30 million people at stake these days. Democracy is hanging by a thread too-in Raleigh and in Washington.

First, consider the spectacle of Sen. John McCain, arriving back in Washington Tuesday for the first time since being diagnosed with brain cancer.

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Monday numbers

73---number of days since the Senate passed its version of the state budget that spent $22.9 billion with no massive across the board cuts to the Department of Justice (N.C. General Assembly, Senate Bill 237 bill status history)

52---number of days since the House passed its version of the state budget that spent $22.9 billion with no massive across the board cuts to the Department of Justice (Ibid)

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Sorry Republicans, facts matter—in Raleigh and in Washington

It’s not an original thought to point out that the Trump Administration is a larger version of what has been happening in North Carolina for the last seven years, a takeover by far-right ideologues hell-bent on dismantling the fundamental institutions of the government they lead, without regard to the suffering their decisions will inflict on the people they are supposed to represent.

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Monday numbers

5.0---percentage of overall state spending in the 2017-2018 budget passed by the General Assembly as a share of the state’s economy (“New Budget, Same Missed Opportunities for North Carolina,” N.C. Budget & Tax Center, July 2017)

4.9---percentage of overall state spending in the 2018-2019 budget passed by the General Assembly as a share of the state’s economy (Ibid)

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A nonpartisan confirmation of the dangerous new normal in North Carolina

State legislative leaders this week dismissed a report by their own nonpartisan legislative staff showing the latest round of tax changes will create a budget shortfall of more than a billion dollars in two years, growing to $1.4 billion two years after that.

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Monday numbers

41---percentage of North Carolina municipalities that experienced a population decline from 2010 to 2016 (“Examining Decline in North Carolina’s Municipalities,” Carolina Demography at the Carolina Population Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, July 5, 2017)

35---percentage of North Carolina municipalities that experienced growth lower than 6.4 percent, the overall state growth rate since 2010

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Monday numbers: Summing up the Senate healthcare debate

22 million---number of people the Congressional Budget Office says would lose health insurance coverage under the health care plan currently being considered by the U.S. Senate (“CBO: Senate Bill Would Raise Premiums, Deductibles, or Both for Most Marketplace Consumers, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 26, 2017)

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Fitzsimon File

The gloomy, blustery and vindictive session drawing to a close

As the 2017 General Assembly session draws to a close, reporters, pundits and partisans will all soon be putting their session wrap-ups together, reminding us all of what has happened in the last six months at the Legislative Building in Raleigh. It would be a mistake to start the review in January when the session formally convened. This session really started a month before that, in December when Republicans adjourned a special session called for hurricane relief and immediately convened another one---with no notice or warning---to take power away from newly elected Governor Roy Cooper who would be sworn into office a few weeks later.

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Monday numbers

18---percentage of people in North Carolina who receive health care coverage from Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (Medicaid in North Carolina, Kaiser Family Foundation, June 2017)

35---rank of North Carolina among the 50 states in Medicaid spending per enrollee (Ibid)

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