Monday numbers

Monday numbers

- in Must Reads

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On taxes…

80 – Percentage of North Carolina taxpayers who would see their taxes rise under the tax plan announced by state House leaders last week (“North Carolina’s Tax Shift Saga Continues: House Tax Plan gives the wealthy a tax break while 80 percent of North Carolinians pay more,” the N.C. Budget and Tax Center, May 2013)

20 – Percentage who will see their tax bill decline (Ibid)

9 to 10% – Portion of their income currently paid in state and local taxes combined by lower and middle income North Carolinians (Ibid)

6.5% – Share currently paid by state’s wealthiest 1% of taxpayers (Ibid)

35% – Portion of proposed state personal income tax cut in House plan that would go households with an average annual income of $940,000 (Ibid)

$1.2 billion – Estimated decline in state revenue that would result under the House proposal over the next five years (Ibid)

$573 million – Amount that state revenue could decline on annual basis upon full implementation of the House plan (Ibid)

On health care spending…

Thousands and thousands – Number of low-income, pregnant women who will be kicked off of the state Medicaid plan and forced into the private insurance market under the Senate budget plan (“Senate budget plan kicks pregnant women off of Medicaid,” The Progressive Pulse, May 23, 2013)

25 – Years since former Republican Governor Jim Martin helped launch a major statewide effort to reduce North Carolina’s infant mortality rate (which was then highest in the nation) by expanding eligibility to Medicaid for low-income pregnant women (Ibid)

185% of the federal poverty level (or about $20,000 per year for a single person) – Income eligibility threshold for Medicaid health insurance for pregnant women that was ultimately enacted as part of that successful effort (Ibid)

From 13 per 1,000 to 7.2 per 1,000 – Amount infant mortality rate has fallen in North Carolina during that period (Tom Vitaglione, Senior Fellow for Health and Safety at Action for Children N.C)

133% of the federal poverty level (or about $15,000 per year for a single person) – Income threshold under the budget adopted by the North Carolina Senate (The Progressive Pulse, May 23, 2013)

Extremely low –Likelihood that a woman trying to live on, say $1,400 per month would purchase a private health insurance to cover her pregnancy at a cost of 15-20% of her income.

On school spending…

1,000 – Number of old, high-mileage North Carolina school buses that would normally be replaced for the coming school year but won’t under the budget adopted by the Senate (“Senate budget slashes funding for school bus replacement,” N.C. Policy Watch, May 30, 2013)

42% – Proposed reduction in school bus replacement budget in the Senate plan (Ibid)

From 200,000 to 250,000 – Proposed hike in mileage limit for buses (Ibid)

Dozens – Number of safety, environmental and ergonomic changes made to school buses over the last two decades (current law allows buses to remain in service from up to 20 years) (Ibid)

$2.25 million – Amount that the Wake County school system ultimately had to spend to clean up messes in its system brought about by previous efforts to pinch pennies in the county transportation budget (Ibid)

On justice system spending…

102 (plus a handful of fill-ins) Number of official court reporters currently employed by the North Carolina courts system(“Silencing the court reporters,” N.C. Policy Watch, May 30, 2013)

50% – Proposed reduction in this number under the budget adopted by the North Carolina Senate (Ibid)

225 or more – Words per minute that a skilled court reporter can accurately record in a typical court proceeding. (Ibid)

$1 million – Amount Senate budget writers claim the move will save the state by shifting resources away from permanent employees and toward new electronic recording equipment and private contractors (Ibid)

Roughly double – Level to which costs per case can soar when employing private contractors rather than permanent employee court reporters (Ibid)

Less than 0 – Amount experts in the field predict in savings given the documented problems with transcribing electronically recorded court proceedings and installing new systems in old courtrooms and finding quality private contractors willing to the do the work as the Senate budget contemplates (Ibid)

About the author

Rob Schofield, Director of NC Policy Watch, has three decades of experience as a lawyer, lobbyist, writer and commentator. At Policy Watch, Rob writes and edits daily online commentaries and handles numerous public speaking and electronic media appearances. He also delivers a radio commentary that’s broadcast weekdays on WRAL-FM and WCHL and hosts News and Views, a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina.
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