McCrory tries to jab at Perdue; misfires on #NCGA Republican budget, McCrory attacks ‘liberal’ media outlets who endorsed his candidacy in 2012, Chris Fitzsimon takes on the ‘forgotten regressive tax shift,’ ‘The Goolsby Tax,’ Speaker Boehner encourages default showdown, low pay forces teachers into other professions in NC, GOP NC candidate has surprising words on #NCGA voter suppression measures, Presidents Obama, Clinton & Carter honor MLK, Boehner, Cantor both declined invitations to 50th Anniversary of March on Washington celebration, Immigration reform’s no. 1 enemy, Renee Ellmers in hot water with Tea Party, Gov. Corbett (R-PA) dismal numbers and Cruz rises at Rubio’s expense
I am wondering if McCrory realizes that his barb doesn’t sting only reporters. If "this is too complex for the journalists," meaning the tax bill and other changes he signed into law, then it’s probably too complex for average North Carolinians as well.We journalists are just as average as our fellow Tar Heels, after all.What’s complex are the questions of whether tax cuts that mostly benefit wealthy individuals and big businesses will improve the economy, and whether it’s a necessary part of the equation to do away with the earned income tax credit, cut unemployment benefits and refuse federal money to expand Medicaid coverage at the expense of more vulnerable people.
Gov. Pat McCrory says a pair of 24-year-old campaign staffers landed senior-level jobs in his administration because they were the most qualified applicants, beating out older candidates. But the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, where Matthew McKillip and Ricky Diaz got big promotions and raises after only a few weeks of government service, has been unable to provide any evidence their positions were ever advertised to other potential applicants or that other candidates were considered. In response to a public records request from The Associated Press, the state agency indicated there were no job postings or written skill requirements for the high-paying positions awarded to the young Republicans. McKillip, the chief policy adviser to DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos, is paid an annual salary of $87,500. Diaz makes $85,000 a year as the communications director for the massive state agency, which has about 10,000 employees and an annual budget of more than $18 billion.
A review of job descriptions for similar government positions posted online by the Office of State Personnel show McKillip and Diaz don’t meet the academic or experience requirements to qualify for even entry-level positions in the areas they now oversee. Their pay also exceeds the listed maximums for the most senior listed positions. McKillip is classified as a "Health and Human Services Senior Planner." The state job description for an entry-level Human Services Planner I requires a four-year degree in public service administration, psychology, sociology or social work, as well as two years of administrative or consultative experience in human services. A Human Services Planner IV, the highest level carrying a maximum salary of $74,719, requires a master’s degree in public or human service, along with a minimum of three years of experience.
Did Gov. Pat McCrory really say this? "I inherited a terrible, terrible budget from the previous administration and I’ve got to rebuild that budget." Yes, he did say it, in an interview with Asheville TV station WLOS. You can see the video here. He was explaining why teachers didn’t get a raise. What’s wrong with his statement? As Thomas Mills at Politicsnc notes, McCrory didn’t inherit a budget from the Perdue administration. The last budget was written by the Republican legislature.
Virtually every newspaper in the state has criticized the GOP and many, if not most, endorsed McCrory. Instead of figuring out how to mitigate the fallout from the negative stories, Republicans have attacked the credibility of the media across the state. To hear them tell it, the newspapers and TV stations have all become liberal shills. It’s laughable, but it’s their story and they’re sticking to it.
With all that going on, it’s easy to forget that the General Assembly also passed and Governor McCrory signed a massive tax shift into law this summer, a plan that will give huge breaks to the wealthy and corporations while forcing the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers in the state to pay more on average. That’s the conclusion of a new analysis on the final tax plan by the N.C. Budget & Tax Center. The report shows that two-thirds of the tax cut goes to the wealthiest one percent of people in the state who have average incomes of $940,000 a year. The great tax shift will cost the state $650 million a year when fully implemented, a long way from the revenue neutrality that Governor McCrory promised.
Today’s riddle: What has 170 mouths and persists like a bad rash? The Legislature. Lawmakers will reconvene after Labor Day to consider overriding Gov. Pat McCrory’s two vetoes. The first is House Bill 392, which would require people applying for public assistance, such as EBT cards, to undergo a drug test. At least eight states have passed such legislation; another 29, including North Carolina, introduced these measures this year. Federal courts have halted Florida’s enforcement of the law on constitutional grounds, but the fiscal wizards in North Carolina would be wise to note the cost of such a program.
Sen. Gene McLaurin sent the following letter to N.C. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos and Governor Pat McCrory, asking Wos to rescind the recently reported $22,500 and $23,000 salary increases awarded to two of her top aides, both 24 years old with minimal work experience, who happened to work previously on Governor Pat McCrory’s 2012 gubernatorial campaign.
Goolsby is one of the legion of Republican legislators arguing that the GOP budget increased funding for public schools. Unfortunately, their argument flies in the face of local headlines across the state that indicate local school systems are facing steep budget cuts. So Goolsby’s answer is essentially, “Hey, we gave you plenty. If you think you need more go get it from your local government.”
Most local lawmakers say they’ll vote during a special session, if given the chance, the same way they did the first time around on two bills that were vetoed by Gov. Pat McCrory. But Rep. Rick Catlin, R-New Hanover, said he was swayed by the governor’s decision to veto a bill that directs state health officials to administer a drug test to any applicant to, or recipient of, the Work First welfare program who the agency "reasonably suspects is engaged in illegal use of controlled substance." McCrory has said the bill is fiscally irresponsible, potentially intrusive and punitive in restricting future access to benefits. He also vetoed a bill dealing with immigration.
Just when Speaker John Boehner should be warning his members not to use the debt ceiling as a threat, he is doing exactly the opposite. Instead of reminding lawmakers that they are obligated to pay for the debts they voted to incur, he is once again waving the dull saber of default. At a fund-raiser in Idaho on Monday, Mr. Boehner repeated his old vow not to raise the debt ceiling this fall unless Republicans get an equal amount in cuts and reforms — on top of the nearly $2 trillion in cuts over a decade that they won using the same extortion tactic in 2011.
Speaker John A. Boehner says he is gearing up for “a whale of a fight” with President Obama over raising the federal debt ceiling, even though Mr. Obama has repeatedly said he has no plans to negotiate with Congressional Republicans over the nation’s debt limit and wants it lifted without a political showdown.
A funny thing happened to the Republican Party on the way to the next election.Conservatives have started expecting Republicans to actually do the conservative things they say they are going to do. When even the suspicion exists that a Republican politician is going to let them down, conservatives make their lives a living hell. Consider the fact that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has to worry even a little bit about primary challenger Matt Bevin. (Though maybe not too much, if the latest Republican poll is to be believed.) McConnell may not be the second coming of Robert Taft, but there are few obvious blemishes in his voting record from a mainline conservative perspective.
A national tea party effort is highlighting differences among North Carolina Republicans over just how to handle President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. The president of Tea Party Express, a California-based group that bills itself as the largest political action committee in the tea party movement, came Tuesday to western North Carolina to praise Rep. Mark Meadows for being one of about 80 House Republicans who have promised in writing to deny funding for implementing the health care law, despite worries from GOP leaders that it could lead to a government shutdown.
The Daily Beast: ‘Bachmannistan’ Writer: Bachmann’s Supporters Deserved an Explanation
In Bachmannistan, Waldron attempts to trace how Bachmann’s campaign went off the rails after she won the Ames Straw Poll in August 2011 and became the frontrunner in the Iowa caucuses. The campaign was defined by poor judgment, he said. Every time Bachmann had “the opportunity to make the right decision, the campaign made the wrong decision,” he told The Daily Beast. But he said those decisions weren’t the result just of strategic errors but of deliberate malevolence.
U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan hasn’t heard back from the U.S. Department of Justice yet on whether it will fight North Carolina’s recent voter I.D. and election law changes, but the department’s push back in Texas gives her hope for action here, she said Tuesday.Hagan, a Greensboro Democrat, asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to review North Carolina’s changes and take actionThat was Aug. 13, the day after Gov. Pat McCrory signed House Bill 589. The DOJ sued Texas the next week. Hagan said more recent actions by county boards of election – several of which have targeted college students – are "certainly" worth the department’s attention, too. Hagan, who is up for re-election next year, has been making the media circuit the last several days. A few things from her meeting earlier today with the News & Record’s editorial board. I’m not a member, but sat in for the news side. Syria: "At this point I do not think the U.S. needs boots on the ground," Hagan said. Beyond that Hagan said she’s waiting to hear how President Obama wants to proceed and that she’s hearing what others are hearing: cruise missiles launched from ships seem likely.
Cameron Shumay said this is the first time he hasn’t been part of back-to-school week in 13 years. "I did miss it a little bit," said Shumay, a former Carnage Middle School science teacher. After years of teaching and having to work two jobs to make ends meet, he now works for a consulting firm in Research Triangle Park.
Republican congressional candidate Jason Thigpen is speaking out against North Carolina’s new voter identification law, characterizing the measure passed by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature as a "turd." Thigpen, who will challenge Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) in next year’s primary to represent North Carolina’s 3rd District, said the measure signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory (R) earlier this month is "discriminatory." "You can paint a turd and sell it as art, but it’s still a turd," Thigpen said in an article posted to his Facebook page on Monday. "This is 2013 and any legislator that puts forth such a discriminatory bill should be laughed out of office. This is America, not Russia."
In a column for right-wing news site World Net Daily, conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly acknowledged as much, saying, "The reduction in the number of days allowed for early voting is particularly important because early voting plays a major role in Obama’s ground game." She continued: The Democrats carried most states that allow many days of early voting, and Obama’s national field director admitted, shortly before last year’s election, that "early voting is giving us a solid lead in the battleground states that will decide this election." The Obama technocrats have developed an efficient system of identifying prospective Obama voters and then nagging them (some might say harassing them) until they actually vote. It may take several days to accomplish this, so early voting is an essential component of the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote campaign.
50th ANNIVERSARY: MARCH ON WASHINGTON Anniversary: March on Washington
President Barack Obama on Wednesday paid tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights activists who marched on Washington 50 years ago in the name of justice as he called for renewed courage to battle today’s challenges on issues like economic inequality.“The arc of the moral universe may bend toward justice but it does not bend on its own,” Obama said. “To secure the gains this country has made requires constant vigilance, not complacency.”Obama, along with Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, civil rights leaders, Oprah Winfrey and tens of thousands of people descended on the National Mall on Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s revolutionary “I Have a Dream” speech.
President Barack Obama: To the King family, who have sacrificed and inspired so much, to President Clinton, President Carter, Vice President Biden, Jill, fellow Americans, five decades ago today, Americans came to this honored place to lay claim to a promise made at our founding. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In 1963, almost 200 years after those words were set to paper, a full century after a great war was fought and emancipation proclaimed, that promise, those truths remained unmet. And so they came by the thousands, from every corner of our country — men and women, young and old, blacks who longed for freedom and whites who could no longer accept freedom for themselves while witnessing the subjugation of others. Across the land, congregations sent them off with food and with prayer. In the middle of the night, entire blocks of Harlem came out to wish them well.
Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton hailed Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream Speech,” saying he ignited a wave of positive change for civil rights but his vision has yet to be fulfilled as economic inequality persists, prisons continue to fill with African Americans and attempts to restrict voting rights remain.“There’s a tremendous agenda ahead of us,” Mr. Carter said, mentioning voting rights, jobs and guns and “stand your ground” laws. He also put in a plug for the effort to obtain full voting rights for District of Columbia residents. “I think we know how Dr. King would have reacted for people of District of Columbia still not having full citizenship rights,” he said.
It was late in the day and hot, and after a long march and an afternoon of speeches about federal legislation, unemployment and racial and social justice, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. finally stepped to the lectern, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, to address the crowd of 250,000 gathered on the National Mall.
Speaker John A. Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, the House’s two most senior Republicans, were invited to speak at the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington — but declined. That wasn’t a wise choice, said Julian Bond, a renowned civil rights activist, in an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday afternoon.“What’s really telling, I think, is the podium behind me, just count at the end of the day how many Republicans will be there,” Bond told news anchor Alex Wagner. “They asked senior President Bush to come, he was ill. They asked junior Bush, he said he had to stay with his father.“They asked a long list of Republicans to come,” Bond continued, “and to a man and woman they said ‘no.’ And that they would turn their backs on this event was telling of them, and the fact that they seem to want to get black votes, they’re not gonna get ‘em this way.”
Republican congressional leaders were absent from Wednesday’s 50th anniversary event commemorating the March on Washington. The offices of Majority Leader Eric Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner both said they were invited to the event, but were unable to attend due to previous scheduling commitments. Boehner participated in a July congressional ceremony in the Capitol to mark the anniversary, and Cantor participated in a pilgrimage earlier in the year to Selma, Alabama, with civil rightsicon Rep. John Lewis. Cantor’s office says they only received an invitation 12 days ago, and his calendar was already full.
“It’s part of a continuing narrative that the party finds itself in with these big deals for minority communities around the country and how they perceive our response to them." — Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele, quoted by the Washington Post, on GOP leaders not making appearances at the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington.
"Today is a solemn reminder that we must never let our guard down in the fight to protect and expand the promise of our country’s fundamental freedoms. The recent assault on these freedoms from the extremists in Raleigh are a painful reminder that the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King is far from realized. We see now more than ever that elections have consequences. In his famous speech, Dr. King spoke of ‘the urgency of the moment. Today, a similar urgency has come to North Carolina. We must take a step beyond partisan tricks and legislative roadblocks and recommit ourselves, with urgency, to free and fair access to the ballot box for all North Carolinians." – North Carolina Democratic Party Chair, Randy Voller
Earlier today, to mark the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, we posted a series of charts showing that the economic gap between whites and blacks hasn’t really narrowed over the last 50 years. In some cases — like the wealth gap — it’s actually widened. Yet by other metrics, there has been a striking amount of racial progress in the United States since 1963.
Slate: Immigrants Don’t Drain Public Coffers After All
One major argument used by opponents of looser immigration laws is that immigrants—particularly low-skilled workers—will impose a fiscal burden on their new countries, taking advantage of rich countries’ generous welfare states while contributing little in taxes.The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s 2013 International Migration Outlook (via Michael Clemens) takes an in depth look at the fiscal impact of immigration on the 34 OECD member countries, finding “an overall fiscal impact in terms of GDP that is positive but small”: Depending on the assumptions made and the methodology used, estimates of the fiscal impact of immigration vary, although in most countries it tends to be very small in terms of GDP and is around zero on average across the OECD countries considered. The impact, whether positive or negative, rarely exceeds 0.5% of GDP in a given year.
Immigration reform advocates have a new enemy: the congressional calendar. Fall’s fiscal fights have lined up in a way that could delay immigration reform until 2014, multiple senior House Republican leadership aides tell POLITICO, imperiling the effort’s prospects before the midterm elections. The mid-October debt ceiling deadline — an earlier-than-expected target laid out Monday by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew — is changing the House GOP leadership’s plans to pass immigration bills that month.
A North Carolina Court of Appeals judge said Tuesday he’s going to run for the state’s highest court again in 2014 after losing a bid for it last year in a campaign marked by lots of third-party money favoring his opponent. Judge Sam J. Ervin IV said he will seek the seat on the Supreme Court that’s being vacated by Associate Justice Mark Martin, one in a potential carousel of changes with four of the seven seats expected on the November 2014 ballot.
Dome: Morning Memo: a challenge to Ellmers
Citizens for the Republic are unhappy with Ellmers, particularly her willingness to stand with the Republican House leadership rather than following the tea party line. The group said on Wednesday that they would support a primary challenge to Ellmers in the second district. “First elected as a Tea Party Republican in 2010, Ellmers was thought to be a reliable conservative ally in Washington,” Diana Banister, director of Citizens for the Republic, said in a statement. "It appears that is no longer the case."
Corbett’s poll numbers continue to drop precipitously. Just one in five registered voters think Corbett, who faces challengers from his own political party but no primary-election opponent, deserves a second term. It comes as little surprise that just 7 percent of Democrats want a second term for Corbett. It’s a problem for Corbett that just 22 percent of independents want him re-elected. It is potentially disastrous that just 38 percent of Republican voters support his re-election.
Democratic operatives are scouring Texas to find worthy statewide candidates to run on a 2014 ticket with Sen. Wendy Davis. Davis is expected to announce in the coming weeks whether she’ll challenge for governor or opt to seek re-election.
To start his “Expose Cory Booker” tour, Steve Lonegan stood in front of one of this troubled city’s more rundown schools this month and attacked the mayor’s record on education. “He can issue all the Cory Booker platitudes — Cory-tudes — that he wants,” Mr. Lonegan said. “Cory Booker has failed people.” Then he showed up days later at the scene of a double homicide, and accused Mayor Booker of being “too busy hanging out with Oprah” and “tweeting about Winnie the Pooh” to address the city’s problems.
Politico: GOP sends operative to Hawaii
A GOP operative traveled to Hawaii this spring in an effort to make the Senate race there competitive. The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent western regional political director Sarah Morgan, who managed Jeff Flake’s Senate campaign in Arizona last year, for a “campaign school” to train potential candidates and to meet with Hawaii GOP leaders. A recent filing with the Federal Election Commission shows that the D.C.-based committee spent $847.16 at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and $302.84 for a rental car on the island.
The Daily Beast: Marco Rubio, the Real Threat in 2016, Has Been Eclipsed by Ted Cruz
While I was reading about Rubio, he was being eclipsed by another Dixie Republican senator of Cuban heritage, Ted Cruz. Cruz is undoubtedly smarter than Rubio. He’s far more ideological, having spent his teenage afternoons reading Ludwig von Mises at the Free Enterprise Education Foundation while Rubio was pounding wide receivers at South Miami High. Cruz is more arrogant, having alienated even some Republican senators with his condescending put-downs. He’s more prone to demagoguery, having suggested—based on no evidence whatsoever—that Chuck Hagel might be receiving money from North Korea. Cruz is less interested in passing legislation. Indeed, he’s leading the charge to shut down the government in order to defund Obamacare. And unlike Rubio, Cruz’s convictions just happen to match up perfectly with the animal spirits of the Republican base he’s courting for president. Which is to say, during his time in Washington, he’s never done anything politically brave.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
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