Original Commentary

Original Commentary

Progressive Voices Top Story

New budget with old agenda falls short

By now the strategy is familiar – the strategy used by the N.C. General Assembly’s Republican chiefs to try to make a fundamentally flawed state budget appear, well, not that bad. Or at least tolerable. Or better than it could have been and perhaps even worth supporting.

Here’s how it works:

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

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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Fitzsimon File

The Follies of the inadequate, spiteful and scandalous budget

Republican legislative leaders are desperately trying to shift the focus off the details of their mean-spirted and inadequate budget by absurdly demanding that Governor Roy Cooper sign it, trying to make the governor the issue instead of the stunningly bad decisions lawmakers made.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Final budget fails to strengthen the foundation of North Carolina’s public schools

The final budget that lawmakers have proposed fails to strengthen the foundation of North Carolina’s public schools. While the public schools area of the budget seems to have a lot going on – one could argue that a ...
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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Don’t be misled by the headlines or the spin; the final budget is far worse than it looks

Most of the initial headlines about the final budget agreement announced Monday afternoon by legislative leaders were ones they could have written themselves, touting raises for teachers and state employees, a cost of living increase for state retirees and hundreds of millions of dollars more in funding for education.

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Top Story Weekly Briefing

The General Assembly’s war on the poor hits another new low

Unexplained, backroom maneuver would rob already underfunded anti-poverty program

There’s no denying that conservative ideology plays a big and important role in driving the North Carolina public policy debate these days. In battle after battle, Republican lawmakers have justified their positions and decisions – from cutting taxes on the wealthy and profitable corporations to reducing environmental protection efforts to privatizing public education to an array of other actions – with the claim that they were vindicating the overarching philosophical cause of downsizing government and “unleashing the private sector.”

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Progressive Voices Top Story

State lawmakers expand funding for anti-abortion centers, even as women’s health suffers

Women and their access to health care has been in the news these past few months, as the plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made headlines for, among other things, what it potentially leaves out of women’s health care coverage. Under the bill passed by the U.S. House known as the American Health Care Act, it’s quite possible that insurance companies could revive their old rules that treated sexual assault, domestic violence, postpartum depression, pregnancy, and Caesarean sections as “preexisting conditions,” and thereby charging women who have experienced them more or denying coverage entirely.

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Monday numbers

755 million---amount in dollars of the increase in education funding in the budget proposed by Gov. Roy Cooper (2017 - 19 Governor's Recommended Budget, Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 257, Appropriations Act of 2017, as passed by the Senate; Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 257, Appropriations Act of 2017, as passed by the House)

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

GOP pulling out all the stops to maintain its unconstitutionally elected majority

Legislative leaders are scrambling for their political lives after the conservative U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the legislative districts they drew to lock in the power they gained in the 2010 election were unconstitutional because they were racially gerrymandered.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Poor, rural schools likely the big losers with lawmakers’ planned cuts to central office staff

Among the elements necessary for a well-functioning school district, central office staff is often overlooked. However, a functioning central office is vital. These professionals ensure that money is spent in accordance with the law, provide technical assistance to ...
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Top Story Weekly Briefing

A plea to responsible North Carolina gun defenders

Please, please, please ask your hardcore allies to calm down

As anyone paying attention to policy debates in North Carolina in recent days is well aware, the age-old battle over guns and gun violence is front and center right now. Thanks to a proposal narrowly approved by the state House of Representatives last week, North Carolina is a step closer to deregulating the carrying of concealed weapons.

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Progressive Voices Top Story

Federal courts: Racial gerrymandering in NC must end

What a relief and cause for celebration it would be if North Carolina’s legislative chiefs collectively slapped their brows and exclaimed, “Oh, now we get it! We’re not allowed to draw voting districts on the basis of race! We’ll get busy right away and fix the problems!”

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Fitzsimon File Top Story

Monday numbers

7---number of days since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that legislative districts drawn by the General Assembly in 2011 were unconstitutional because of racial gerrymandering but declined to order 2017 elections, leaving that up to the lower courts (“U.S. Supreme Court affirms racially gerrymandered legislative districts, vacates remedial special elections, Progressive Pulse, June 5, 2017)

0---number of dissenting votes on the Supreme Court in the decision to affirm the lower court ruling that the legislative districts were racially gerrymandered (Ibid)

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