Fitzsimon File

Fitzsimon File

Fitzsimon File Top Story

The most shameful thing about the Senate budget

The most shameful thing about the disastrous budget passed by the Senate two weeks ago is not the vindictive 3:00 a.m. budget cuts to education programs in Democrats’ districts.

It’s not the paltry raise given to state workers after years of neglect or the cruel refusal to give state retirees any cost of living increase at all.

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Fitzsimon File

Monday numbers

2.8 billion---amount in dollars of needs in communities across the state for rebuilding efforts from damage sustained from Hurricane Matthew (“The word is in: It is up to NC policymakers to lead on Hurricane Matthew recovery,” Progressive Pulse, May 11, 2017)

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An offensive, belligerent and vindictive display in the halls of government

The last week has featured some of the most offensive, belligerent, and vindictive behavior by elected officials in generations---and that is not a reference to President Trump and his associates in Washington, though the characterization fits there too.

No, this startling episode came in the middle of the night last week in Raleigh when furious Republican leaders of the state Senate interrupted a debate on the state budget with a recess to meet with legislative staff.

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Monday numbers

22.9 billion---amount in dollars spent in the 2017-2018 fiscal year by the budget passed by the Senate last week (“N.C. Senate Would Have State Stand Still in Face of Uncertainty, Growing Needs,” N.C. Budget & Tax Center, May 2015)

2.5---percentage increase in spending in Senate budget over current fiscal year (Ibid)

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The Senate budget: unwise tax breaks, petty partisan attacks, and inadequate investments

Senate leaders are trying hard to convince people that their anemic budget proposal moves the state forward by making big new investments in education and providing a middle class tax cut for most North Carolinians.

The numbers tell a much different story.

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Monday numbers

3---number of days until the state Senate is scheduled to pass its biennial budget according to Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger (“NC Senate on track to pass its budget plan next week,” Associated Press, May 4, 2017)

28---number of days since the last meeting of the full Senate Appropriations Committee (Ibid)

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A revealing turn in the push to take health care away from millions of people

The battle in Washington over repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act has taken a revealing turn in the last few days with members of the North Carolina congressional delegation playing major roles.

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Monday numbers

22.5 million---number of workers in the U.S. who would directly benefit from an increase in the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 (“Raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024 would lift wages for 41 million American workers, Economic Policy Institute, April 26, 2017)

3.10---amount in dollars of the average increase those workers would receive in their hourly wage in current dollars (Ibid)

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Another look at Cooper’s doggedly impressive start

As the national pundits weigh in on President Trump’s first 100 days in office and the General Assembly careens toward its self-imposed crossover deadline for legislation, it’s worth considering how Governor Roy Cooper has fared in his first ...
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Monday numbers

3,000---minimum number of K-3 teachers that school districts will have find to comply with the General Assembly’s unfunded class size reduction mandate adopted last year for the 2017-2018 school year (“Class-Size Chaos: Districts are scrambling to meet new requirements by initiating layoffs and eliminating enhancement teachers, N.C. Justice Center, April 2017)

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The truth about the Senate leaders’ tax plan from their own staff

The wisdom of the plan by Senate leaders to cut taxes by $839 million was called into question this week by an important source, the nonpartisan legislative staff that works for them and inadvertently by a powerful Senator himself.

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Monday numbers

24 million---the number of people in the United States who would lose health care coverage by 2026 under the House Republican health care bill, the American Health Care Act, or AHCA (“State Reports: House Republican Health Plan Would Mean More Uninsured, Costlier Coverage,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, April 13, 2017)

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Almost absolute power is corrupting in Raleigh, absolutely

Here is something you may not know about the way the General Assembly works these days. The odds are that your senator and representative have almost no say in what happens to controversial legislation. None.

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Monday numbers

2---rank of North Carolina among the 50 states with the highest percentage of workers who earn below a poverty level wage (“Prosperity Watch Issue 65, No. 1: The Working Poor make up one-third of the North Carolina workforce, N.C Budget & Tax Center, September 13, 2016)

30---percent of workers in North Carolina’s smaller cities who earn poverty wages (Ibid)

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After partial HB2 repeal NC remains woefully behind on anti-discrimination protections

Now that HB2 has been partially repealed, enough for the NCAA and ACC anyway, a lot of folks in Raleigh are hoping the issue of discrimination in North Carolina goes away for a while, at least for the four years that local governments must now wait before protecting LGBTQ people from being fired or denied services because of their sexual orientation.

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Monday numbers

1 billion---estimated amount in dollars of loss of state revenue over the next two years if the latest Senate tax plan becomes law (“Still walking the path to zero: The Senate tax plan will harm North Carolina’s goal of building a stronger, inclusive economy, N.C. Budget & Tax Center, March 2017)

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