NCDP Clips for Monday, May 18th, 2015


NCDP Clips for Monday, May 18th, 2015

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LEGISLATURE 2015

NC budget proposal expected on House floor this week (AP) — The public will get a look this week at how much the North Carolina House wants to spend on state government for the next two years and how House Republicans want to spend the money.

More details of proposed NC House budget disclosed (AP) — North Carolina House Republicans want the next state government budget to restore a tax deduction for older adults with high medical expenses and a tax credit for repairing historic buildings. House GOP leaders provided to colleagues Sunday night more portions of their proposed spending plan for the next two years. The Associated Press obtained a copy of proposed fees and tax changes the House Finance Committee will debate Monday. The chamber is expected to approve the full budget later this week.

NC House budget would tweak gas tax – again (Raleigh News & Observer) — Republican budget writers in the state House want to make additional changes to the state’s gas tax – two months after lawmakers approved a plan that dropped the tax rate while stopping an existing law that would have cut the rate more sharply. The new gas tax proposal appears in a budget document sent to House Finance Committee members Sunday night. That committee will debate the plan – along with dozens of other proposed tax and fee changes – when it meets Monday afternoon. The full House budget bill will be released sometime Monday, legislators said.

Numbers games, game numbers on agenda (WRAL-TV) — The House is scheduled to take up and pass its version of the state budget this week. The Senate will take up legislation that would prohibit certain undercover investigations of businesses, including factory farms.

NC legislature’s last budget surprised store owners with fee hike (Raleigh News & Observer) — As the state House dives into budget talks this week, some store owners are still upset about a beer permit fee hike from last year’s budget that came due last month.

NC health mandates get rosier views at General Assembly (AP) — Though their party complains often about health insurance coverage mandates from Washington, Republicans in North Carolina’s legislature are OK with adding more requirements upon state-regulated insurance companies.

Hospital association unveils Medicaid reform proposal (Winston-Salem Journal) — The N.C. Hospital Association is wading into the debate about state Medicaid reform, predictably encouraging a provider-led format to address the risk involved in the $14 billion program. At the request of legislative leaders, the advocacy group Thursday offered recommendations and submitted a draft bill. The proposed legislation likely would require being inserted into an existing bill, potentially the state budget, to move forward this session.

‘Hall of Shame’ adding more legislators (Greenville Daily Reflector) — Pitt County’s Republican state legislators are being added to the “Hall of Shame” established by leaders of the Moral Monday movement. The North Carolina NAACP and Forward Together Moral Movement are joining the Pitt County NAACP and other local partners at the Lucille W. Gorham Intergenerational Community Center, 1100 Ward St., at 7 p.m. today to hold an organizing meeting and to induct state Reps. Brian Brown and Susan Martin and state Sen. Louis Pate into the “Hall of Shame.”

POLICY & POLITICS

McCrory claim on DHHS audit problem not supported by the record (Raleigh News & Observer) — Gov. Pat McCrory faced some tough questions Friday during a radio interview on 106.1 FM, including about last week’s audit of a former state manager’s hiring practices.

Top N.C. tax-credit takers of 2014 (Charlotte Business Journal) — Since the 1990s, some of the biggest economic incentives for companies doing business in North Carolina have been provided through the state’s 42 corporate tax credits incorporated into the state statutes.

THE SPILL

After Duke guilty verdict, fears and questions linger about coal ash (LA Times) — Duke Energy may have been hauled into federal court and smacked with a $102-million penalty for polluting North Carolina rivers with potentially toxic coal ash, but that didn’t do much for the tainted well water at Barbara Morales’ house.

Duke Energy’s plea seen as a turning point in coal ash fight (Greensboro News & Record) — Many environmentalists see Duke Energy’s guilty plea and sentencing here last week as a potential turning point in their battle against coal ash, a turning point that could have implications well beyond North Carolina’s borders.

For some well owners near coal ash, risk remains unclear (WRAL-TV) — Dozens of well owners near coal ash ponds across North Carolina will have to wait longer to learn whether their drinking water contains a cancer-causing compound primarily found in industrial waste.

EDITORIALS

Voting rights (Greenville Daily Reflector) — Voter registrations of people applying for public assistance appeared to fall sharply across North Carolina in 2013 and again in 2014, voting-rights groups said last week. The numbers, which come from the State Board of Elections, are dramatic and demand a good explanation.

NC must comply with voter registration law (Raleigh News & Observer) — Just why voter registration applications have dropped is unclear. The likely explanation is that when the McCrory administration took over, new leaders at DHHS, the Department of Motor Vehicles and the State Board of Elections simply overlooked the requirement. … Given the thrust of Republican changes in voting laws, Republicans may not be upset to see registrations decline, especially among low-income residents who tend to vote Democratic. There’s no evidence that this lapse was deliberate, but it would be reassuring to see the state get quickly into compliance before it becomes involved in yet another lawsuit over its handling of voting laws.

N.C. trails in incentives game (Jacksonville Daily News) — We don’t like having to give taxpayer-funded incentives to private businesses. But we cannot deny that they work in attracting major industries and well-paying jobs. Those businesses have something valuable to offer, and that’s why states are willing to bid for them. … So far, when it comes to landing new auto or tire or airline jobs, the Tar Heel State seems to be running on empty.

We Muslims won’t ‘stay away’ (Charlotte Observer column) — Lincoln County leader shows intolerance and a lack of understanding about Muslims in North Carolina.

Take good care of our $21.3 billion industry (Fayetteville Observer) – -When we talk about business and industry, we mostly think of factories and offices, and maybe retailing too. But we don’t often think about tourism as an industry. We should.

Top 10 times Letterman made right-wingers look foolish (RawStory column) — 8. Letterman shames anti-gun control lawmakers with “Stooge of the Night.” In a recurring skit in 2013, Letterman began naming a “Stooge of the Night,” a senator who voted against gun control regulation against the overwhelming wishes of his or her constituents. You can check out a bunch of the segments here, but here’s a few examples. Letterman: Hey, Alan, what time is it, for heaven’s sake? Alan: Dave, it’s time for Stooge of the Night. Tonight’s Stooge of the Night is Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina. Letterman: North Carolina Senator Richard Burr—or as I like to call him, “Dick” Burr—voted no on gun reform legislation. Last month, Senator Burr received a $1,000 donation from a British company that manufactures ammunition. Remember, ladies and gentlemen, there is no background check if you want to buy a senator.