Progressive Voices

Progressive Voices

Progressive Voices

Tax cut fever threatens core services

How many times do we have to say it? Well, it’s worth repeating – especially in the aftermath of recent income tax filing deadlines, when the subject becomes a sore point for many: None of us should have ...
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There’s no time to waste in addressing NC’s self-inflicted class size crisis

To casual observers, the recent controversy surrounding public school class-size mandates in grades K-3 might seem a bit confusing. The traditional roles seem reversed: the Republican General Assembly is advocating for smaller classes next school year against the pleas of public school advocates. When you throw in a bunch of confusing budget terms like allotment ratios, enhancement teachers, and accusations of misspent funds, the issue is muddied further. Please allow me to cut through the muck.

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Some hard truths about the North Carolina economy

Several years of tax cuts have not fixed our economic problems, and more of the same won’t either

In a yearly ritual as reliable as weird weather and parents stressing about finding summer camp for the kids, late spring finds some legislative leaders in Raleigh flogging another round of tax cuts, all the while claiming that past rounds of tax reductions have magically “fixed” North Carolina’s economy.

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House bill would bring NC abortion law in line with U.S. Supreme Court ruling

With all that’s happened politically over the least several months, it’s easy to forget there was a major U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer that reaffirmed the constitutional right to access abortion. The Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt ruling that came out in June of 2016 pushed back strongly against many of the hundreds of restrictions that states have enacted since the 1973 decision that legalized abortion; and in particular the nearly 300 restrictions that have been passed since 2011.

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“Nuclear” fallout: GOP changes the rules to put Trump’s nominee on the Supreme Court

Photo credit: White House.gov Our national politics are in an ugly place, driven by an accelerating cycle of suspicion, accusation, blame, recrimination and retaliation. The circumstances by which Neil Gorsuch takes office as a justice of the Supreme Court sadly fit the mold – to the U.S. Senate’s discredit and the court’s peril.

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Photo from flickr user familymwr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/familymwr/6277787834/), (CC BY 2.0, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)
Progressive Voices

A ray of hope in Raleigh: Senators introduce needed child welfare reform

The child welfare system is a last resort for children who are at risk of serious injury, trauma, or even death. As a society, we have a moral obligation to provide these children with a safe environment where they can begin to recover from their trauma. Unfortunately, North Carolina’s child welfare system is structurally and systemically inadequate to ensure the safety of children who come into its care and to promote their long-term health and recovery.

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Progressive Voices

Five important uncertainties for N.C. that make this no time to double down on tax cuts

Today at 1:00 p.m., the North Carolina Senate Finance Committee will take up the Senate’s latest tax cut proposal – a bill that flies under the dubious official title: “Billion Dollar Middle Class Tax Cut.” As was explained in this space earlier this week, there are a number of important reasons why new income tax cuts are a bad idea for North Carolina at this time – not the least of which are: a) their proven ineffectiveness in stimulating the economy and b) the fact that they will further shift the responsibility for funding government away from the wealthy and profitable corporations and onto individuals of low and moderate income.

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Progressive Voices

Still walking the path to zero

North Carolina Senate leaders continue to march our state down the path to a zero income tax. That goal was set by powerful outside interests who wanted North Carolina to follow their plan to establish a “tax free South.” It is a goal without purpose other than to eliminate the programs and services that have connected more people and places to opportunity over the years. It is not an economic strategy that works for our state or any other.

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Medicaid block grants: Passing the buck without passing the bucks

While it’s still a work in progress, the broad outline of proposed health care reforms is coming into focus in Congress. The measure as currently drafted holds huge ramifications for all Americans, including here in North Carolina. Many of those ramifications come from proposals to change Medicaid from its current form into a block grant program.

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Progressive Voices

Liberty, equality and democracy are under siege in North Carolina

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore recently spoke out against non-partisan redistricting, suggesting that if we are unhappy with our legislators we can just vote them out. Aside from the absurdity of suggesting that the solution to rigged elections is more rigged elections, what is most remarkable is that Moore himself sponsored non-partisan redistricting bills four times in the past, including a bill to amend the North Carolina Constitution – an extraordinary testament to the need for redistricting reform.

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Progressive Voices

ACA repeal legislation morphs into an all-out assault on people in need

In recent days, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives finally released and started “marking up” their long-promised and long-hidden bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Ever since the transformative health care law was enacted, opponents of the ACA have tried to repeal it more than 60 times. Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to “… repeal it, replace it, get something great!” Now, they appear poised to actually make good on their threat.

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Why the minimum wage ought to top the list of “women’s issues”

What do women want? Too many commentators assume that when it comes to politics, women only care about matters of sex and gender, discrimination and reproduction. That’s why so many pundits on both right and left got it ...
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Deadline or no deadline, compromise on HB2 is not worth it if it keeps treating people like dirt

The fight over North Carolina’s House Bill 2 – the law that notoriously stamps the state’s seal of approval on discrimination against lesbian, gay and transgender folks – has devolved into a form of trench warfare.

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Hope during dark times: Trump helps spur a grand progressive coalition

Like many progressive North Carolinians, the election of Donald Trump last November rocked my world to its core, and not in a good way. First came shock and disbelief, which was followed by a rage that was hard to shake over the holidays. But I finally did it, resuming the normal patterns of my life – until the dystopian nightmare of the Inaugural Address, which made it abundantly clear that this is a President only interested in playing to his base, with no thought to the rule of law, or the need to be truthful to the American people.

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Getting to the bottom of NC’s gerrymandering crisis

Our gerrymandering crisis isn’t just philosophical – “politicians choosing voters instead of voters choosing politicians.” Rather, it’s practical – gerrymandering is election rigging; certain votes “count” more than others through gerrymandering. That’s because the value of a vote lies not in the mere ritual of casting it, but in the equal opportunity for each vote to confer political power. The principle “one person, one vote” encapsulates democracy’s central promise of equality at the polls.

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Welcoming the stranger: A Christian activist responds to Trump’s immigration order

On Friday, January 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that severely restricts immigration from seven Muslim countries, suspends all refugee admission for 120 days, and bars all Syrian refugees indefinitely. Even though the courts have temporarily blocked the President’s actions on immigration and refugees, this is only a temporary halt to the ban. Meanwhile, the mere introduction of these harsh restrictions on immigration and refugee resettlement has serious, long-term consequences for our new political landscape.

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