New economic development group starts up, but private donors’ identities still unknown

Commerce privatization

North Carolina handed off its job recruitment efforts to a newly established public-private partnership last week, in hopes that privatizing much of the state’s economic development work will bring more jobs to the state. Just a week into operation, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina is already struggling with questions about transparency [Continue Reading...]

How accessible should conflict-of-interest forms be? N.C. Ethics Commission to decide


North Carolina’s ethics commission pulled the plug this summer on an online database of public officials’ financial disclosure forms as it wrestles with questions about what information should be accessible with a click of a computer mouse. The commission, established in 2006 after the state saw a series of public corruption scandals, decided [Continue Reading...]

Poor families facing cuts to child-care program

Photo from flickr user familymwr (, (CC BY 2.0,

Fewer working families will be eligible for child-care subsidies, if proposals in both the state House and Senate budget to change the income thresholds of participating families are adopted. The changes could affect up to 11 percent of the families that currently receive help, with legislative fiscal staff estimating nearly 12,000 of the 110,000 children [Continue Reading...]

State’s jobs czar without economic development experience, faced questions in past job


The Raleigh businessman and “change agent” selected to steer the McCrory administration’s privatization of the state’s job recruitment efforts came into the high-profile job with no economic development background and a checkered work history. Richard “Dick” Lindenmuth, 69, will be taking charge of an entirely new method of economic development in the state [Continue Reading...]

DHHS looking at cuts to program for disabled babies, toddlers after ENC consolidation plan falls apart


The state health agency’s cost-saving plan to shut down three offices serving developmentally delayed babies and toddlers has unexpectedly derailed, leaving questions about how deeply services will be cut. With the offices now staying open, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services still needs to find $10 million worth of cuts the [Continue Reading...]

State tax policy adds confusion, costs, and complications for NC’s same-sex couples


Marie Baker and Amanda Niles received yet another reminder this tax season that their family isn’t recognized, much less embraced, by the state of North Carolina. When they began to consider how to file their taxes this year, the Durham couple realized that North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriages meant the couple would be filling [Continue Reading...]

On Sunshine Week: Public records, diligence reveal problems in DENR/Duke Energy relationship


In fighting for the clean-up of coal ash ponds around the state, the Southern Environmental Law Center has depended on an unusual weapon, North Carolina’s public records law, to make its case about the dangers posed by the lagoons of toxic sludge that dot the state. The group has filed multiple requests for public documents [Continue Reading...]

New state economic development group outside of ethics laws


The new public-private group that will run North Carolina’s business recruiting and economic development efforts won’t be subject to North Carolina’s ethics laws,  the set of rules requiring public servants, elected officials and state board members to disclose financial interests and avoid conflicts of interest. The board members for the Economic Development Partnership [Continue Reading...]

Food stamps backlog nearly met, but some still facing hardship


State officials say they’re closing in on what was up until recently a massive backlog of thousands of low-income North Carolinian households waiting weeks or months for food stamps. At a legislative committee hearing Tuesday, N.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos told lawmakers that a “herculean effort” from state and county [Continue Reading...]

State studies how virtual charters should work


High numbers of withdrawals, unchecked truancy and low graduation rates can thwart success at virtual high schools, two online school providers told a state study group developing recommendations for how the controversial schooling choice could operate in North Carolina. “High school is a nightmare,” said Mary Gifford, the senior vice-president of education policy [Continue Reading...]