ABC 11: AP Factcheck: Many pay more under new North Carolina tax laws
McCrory failed to mention that he and Republican lawmakers allowed the expiration of the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, a measure that boosted the income of the state’s poorest workers. The tax reform package also eliminates several exemptions and deductions that benefited working class taxpayers, including a popular program that allowed families a deduction on pre-tax income put into a college savings account. According to a recent analysis by the legislature’s own Fiscal Research Division, a married couple with two children making $20,000 a year will go from receiving a $222 tax rebate in 2013 to owing $40 next year, a net swing of $262. At the other end of the income scale, a married couple with two children making $250,000 will get a $2,318 tax cut in 2014, according to the analysis.
WRAL: NC tax changes take effect Wednesday
Because the new tax is flat, people who make more money will get a bigger break than those who make less. For example, someone making $100,000 a year owes $6,940 in state income tax this year, not counting deductions or credits. Next year, it will be $5,365, or $1,575 less. Some people may end up paying more overall in state taxes however, because lawmakers expanded the state sales tax to more items and eliminated a number of deductions and credits. Some of those changes include repealing the deduction for some retirement income – Social Security income remains exempt to state tax – as well as the exemption for the first $50,000 in earnings for a small business and ending credits for child care or educational expenses.
News & Record: New N.C. campaign finance laws raise limits, soften disclosure
As new campaign finance laws are set to go into effect today, an Associated Press report on Saturday showed $235,000 in laundered illegal gambling money reached the campaigns of a number of state officials and candidates, including Gov. Pat McCrory, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and Speaker of the House Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg.
Dome: Phil Berger is a Washington Post ’emerging star’
GovBeat called Berger “the undisputed driving force behind policies on election law, tax cuts and social issues the legislature passed this year.” Berger was also the first to put the kibosh on starting a state health exchange under the Affordable Care Act, slammed the lid on Medicaid expansion, and led the effort to abolish teacher tenure and put new limits on social promotion in elementary school.
WNCN: NC Democrats seek Hagan win, legislative seats
New state Democratic Party Executive Director Robert Dempsey is optimistic entering 2014, saying more Democrats are re-engaging with the party. "We’re reaching out to our stakeholders in a way that we haven’t reached out to them before," Dempsey said. "We’re very, very encouraged by the response that we’re receiving." Democrats already have spent money running commercials seeking to diminish the public standing of state House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, one of at least five people seeking the GOP nomination. Conservative advocacy groups, meanwhile, have tried to shed doubt on Hagan’s service with their own ads. Dempsey and Nesbitt say they’d welcome turning the Senate race into a referendum on Tillis and the Republican policies he helped get approved during his four years as speaker.
Hickory Daily Record: Democratic Party plans grand opening at headquarters
The Catawba County Democratic Party will hold a grand opening for its new headquarters at 1612 Tate Blvd., SE, Hickory. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11. Everyone is welcome to drop by and check out the new Hickory headquarters in a casual environment. The event will feature special guest Randy Voller, chair of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Voller will speak at 11a.m.
Citizen-Times: GOP loses more voters in Buncombe
Republicans lost more members in Buncombe County than Democrats in the last 5 years while unaffiliated voters increased nearly 25 percent, according to a report from an elections watchdog group. The trend in Buncombe County, North Carolina’s seventh-largest, is the same as in the state’s other urban centers. The GOP also lost a greater share of voters in Mecklenburg, Wake, Guilford, Forsyth, Durham, and Cumberland counties, according to left-leaning Democracy North Carolina on Monday.
Winston-Salem Journal: North Carolina set to overtake Michigan as ninth-largest state
North Carolina gained about 100,000 people between 2012 and 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau reported, a 1 percent growth rate that puts the state on track to overtake Michigan to become the nation’s ninth-largest state in 2014. The Census Bureau estimated North Carolina’s population at 9,848,060 as of July 1, 2013, up from 9,748,364 the same date in 2012. Although North Carolina remained the 10th-largest state in population, it closed to within 50,000 of Michigan. Assuming both states retain their current rates of growth, North Carolina should pass Michigan in population sometime early in 2014.
News & Observer: Former US Rep. Bob Etheridge lands federal job
The former 2nd District Congressman, turned stimulus czar, turned Democratic gubernatorial nominee has a new gig. He was appointed by President Barack Obama to head up the state’s Farm Service Agency, and started work on Monday. The USDA agency oversees some farm programs, carries out federal conservation programs and resolves issues between farmers and the federal government.
Washington Post: Morning Plum: Will Republicans renew UI for their own constituents?
Within days, Senate Democratic leaders will push forward with a bill – co-sponsored by Senators Jack Reed and Dean Heller – to extend unemployment insurance for a mere three months to the 1.3 million people who were set to lose it just after Christmas. Does the bill have any chance of winning enough Republican support? There are a number of GOP Senators who are worth watching: those from blue or purple states that also have high unemployment rates, ones that exceed the national rate of 7 percent.
Politico: Hillary Clinton calls for unemployment benefits extension
Hillary Clinton took to Twitter on Tuesday to urge a renewal of unemployment insurance as long-term benefits expired over the weekend. “10 years ago I was proud to begin working on bipartisan efforts to save unemployment insurance,” the former senator and secretary of state, a top 2016 possibility, tweeted. “Let’s do it again quickly in this new year.” More than 1 million Americans lost their long-term unemployment insurance when the benefit expired on Saturday without a congressional extension, to the chagrin of many Democrats.
Washington Post: Stunning new report undermines central GOP Obamacare claim
A crucial GOP line of attack against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is that millions of people will supposedly lose coverage thanks to shifting requirements on the health insurance exchanges. Now, a new report from the minority staff of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce has destroyed the foundation of that particular GOP claim. It projects that only 10,000 people will lose coverage because of the ACA and be unable to regain it — or in other words, 0.2 percent of the oft-cited 5 million cancellations statistic.
Politico: States in play: 2014’s top governor races
Democrats say that the GOP governors elected in 2010 were a product of that year’s tea party wave and, now that the trend has receded and they’re up for reelection, they don’t belong in statewide office. Republican governors argue that, unlike their congressional counterparts, they’re the only ones in the country enacting real reforms and getting things done. Which argument will win in which state? Here are POLITICO’s 10 key governors races to watch.
USA Today: Can these two women make political history and run Texas?
Woven into one of the nation’s most intriguing gubernatorial races this year is whether Democrat Wendy Davis, whose 11-hour filibuster over abortion restrictions catapulted the state senator to national fame this summer, can not only overcome long odds in a fiercely Republican state but pull off a political first. If Davis and fellow state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, who is running for lieutenant governor, prevail in their March primaries as expected, they’ll form what political experts say is only the fifth time in at least the past 20 years that a party has nominated women for both governor and lieutenant governor.
Dome: Sanford man seeks House appointment
A second person has expressed an interest in being appointed to the state House of Representatives to fill a vacancy representing Chatham and Lee counties. Robert Reives II, a lawyer from Sanford, has asked to be appointed to replace Deb McManus of Siler City, who resigned last month after being charged with state tax law violations. Reives is the only person from Lee County so far to express an interest, according to The Sanford Herald.
CNN: Sworn-in de Blasio pledges to take on ‘tale of two cities’ in NYC
Bill de Blasio, who campaigned on a progressive agenda that he said would narrow the widening gap between the rich and poor in the nation’s largest city, was sworn in Wednesday as New York’s 109th mayor. On a chilly first day of 2014, former President Bill Clinton administered the oath of office at a ceremony outside City Hall using a Bible once owned by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Clinton’s wife, Hillary, a former secretary of state and potential 2016 presidential candidate, also attended.
News & Observer: Christensen: Hagan, Rouzer, GOP legislature, teachers will win in 2014
Calling the November Senate race is difficult. Hagan looks vulnerable, the new health care law is unpopular, and history is against the Democrats. But Hagan wins anyway, in part because the Democrats have the anger factor, which is a powerful force in politics. This year will be the Democrats’ tea party moment, just like 2010 was the Republicans’ tea party moment. Democrats will make only modest gains in the legislature because of the GOP’s advantages in redistricting and money. The Senate goes from 33-17 Republican to 29-21 Republican, and the House goes from 77-43 Republican to 66-52 Republican.
Winston-Salem Journal: Editorial: State politics will reach pivot point in 2014
North Carolina has an exciting political year ahead in 2014, one that might determine whether the state’s acceleration toward the Republican Party and hard-right politics continues or wanes. At the state and federal levels, North Carolina will have hotly contested races in both the primaries and general election. And when the legislature convenes in May, fireworks are likely over budget changes needed for fiscal year 2015, especially teacher raises. The national media are calling the U.S. Senate race here critical to Republican hopes to control the upper chamber.
PoliticsNC: North Carolina 2013: The Democrats
If Democrats began the session demoralized and disillusioned, they ended it angry and motivated. By fall, newspapers were writing that a backlash felt likely. The Mountain Moral Monday protest in Asheville brought out thousands of people outside the state capital. The state Democratic Party, under the leadership of a new Executive Director, seems to have come back to life. However, Democrats still face an uphill battle in 2014. The GOP has built-in structural advantages in the legislative and Congressional districts and they will have far more money. While protests can motivate the base, a real GOTV program that drives people to the polls takes money, organization and accountability.
New York Times: America in 2013, as Told in Charts
Economic growth — a likely increase in gross domestic product of just 1.8 percent in 2013, after adjusting for inflation — was also unbalanced in other ways, particularly the impact of the government. The nation’s quickly falling deficit (it dropped from $1.09 trillion to $680 billion in a single year) cost dearly in economic activity. Spending by cash-strapped consumers and investment by skittish businesses both grew at slightly below customary rates. A flat-lining Europe dented President Obama’s pledge to double American exports by 2015. On the other hand, home building and related residential activity, depressed since the onset of the financial crisis, provided a second annual lift to the economy.
Washington Post: Vice President Joe Biden’s graph of the year
Nearly 32 million riders prove what I’ve known my whole career – passenger rail is one of the best bargains available to the American people. We need to continue investing in our nation’s infrastructure, including passenger rail service, to keep our economy moving.
The Daily Reflector: Letter: Tillis not best choice
As Thom Tillis has his Thursday Morning fundraiser at the home of lobbyist Geoffrey Gray, attended by Rove, McConnell and Lindsey Graham, I simply have to voice my objection. It is no longer Democrat versus Republican. It’s the establishment versus “we the people.” They are playing us like fiddles, getting rich off of our tax revenues, obtaining power by giving favors they have no right to give, handing out money and subsidies, entering contracts on our behalf without representation, starting wars, giving exemptions, selectively enforcing laws and regulations and meanwhile manipulating us 24 hours a day.
Micah Beasley, Communications Director
North Carolina Democratic Party
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