NCDP Clips for Thursday, May 7th, 2015
Tweet of The Day
NC House OKs freezing renewable energy demands on utilities (AP) — A renewed effort to freeze the percentage of North Carolina’s retail electricity sales required to come from renewable sources or efficient efforts passed the state House on Wednesday
Koch brothers’ war against clean energy (Grist) — For the past four years, a set of right-wing advocacy groups, largely funded by the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry, has been waging jihad on bipartisan government policies that support renewable energy. At the state level, the primary target has been state renewable power standards, known as RPS laws. More than 30 states have adopted such standards, requiring or encouraging their power companies to diversify their fuel supply, develop local resources and local industries, and clean up the environment.
Following Stein (The Insider) — Sen. Josh Stein, likely Democratic candidate for attorney general next year, is being shadowed by a conservative group’s cameraman. A campaign tracker attended a Senate Finance Committee meeting focused his camera squarely on Stein, D-Wake, throughout the meeting. While 45 minutes of video showing Stein reading papers, checking his smartphone and sipping from a Styrofoam cup would be pretty boring television, be sure that any errant comment (in context or otherwise) would find its way to primetime sometime around November 2016.
A surplus of news (WRAL-TV) — Gov. Pat McCrory and legislative leaders announced a $400 million surplus, but that didn’t make everyone happy. And on the House floor Wednesday, lawmakers debated a bill that would alter the fortunes of North Carolina’s solar industry.
NC speaker prefers holding bond votes in early 2016 (AP) — North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore says he’d prefer a statewide vote early next year on borrowing for road construction and government infrastructure, rather than this fall as Gov. Pat McCrory wants.
Legislators defend support of coal ash act (Sanford Herald) — Nearly six months after Duke Energy announced its plan to store up to 20 million tons of coal ash in Lee and Chatham counties, local representatives still are working to amend the law that made it possible.
SEPA: An Environmental Law Up for Debate (N.C. Health News) — A bill that passed the N.C. House will overhaul the process for state-funded projects. We break it down for you.
Making the grades (WRAL-TV) — The state Senate is getting ready to send Gov. Pat McCrory a bill that would freeze the state’s school grading system in place for the coming year.
SB 36 on back burner, attention shifts to state budget (Greensboro News & Record) — If legislating is like sausage-making, Senate Bill 36 is at the curing stage. It’s hanging out there until legislators decide they are good and ready to consider it.
POLICY & POLITICS
More corporate tax cuts likely in NC (Raleigh News & Observer) — An increase in state revenue collections is likely to trigger new cuts in the state’s corporate income tax rate, beginning with the 2016 calendar year, officials said Wednesday.
Reaction is sharp on news of projected $400 million surplus (Raleigh News & Observer) — Legislative and administration economists say in a key report that the projected state budget surplus for the current fiscal year is $400 million “predominately due to higher income tax payments and lower refunds from the 2014 tax year.” The news has prompted plenty of reaction. Here’s a sample from Twitter, news releases and interviews:
McCrory quickly seeks campaign money on news of budget surplus (Raleigh News & Observer) – The echo of his words announcing a projected budget surplus had barely faded before Gov. Pat McCrory started raising campaign money on the news. In an email solicitation, he describes the state’s economy as “roaring” and contrasts the projected surplus with the projected shortfall of $2 billion heading into 2009 budget talks.
Groups urge Gov. Pat McCrory to veto any abortion legislation (Charlotte Observer) — A coalition of progressive groups Monday began rolling a billboard around North Carolina urging Gov. Pat McCrory to veto a bill that would extend the waiting period for an abortion.
N.C. tourists spent record $21.3 billion in 2014 (WRAL-TV) — Nearly 50 million people who visited North Carolina spent a record amount of money in the state last year.
Women Win with $12 Minimum Wage, According to Analysis (Public News Service) — Momentum is building to raise the federal minimum wage, and a new analysis shows working women in North Carolina and other states would benefit the most. Last week, the Raise the Wage Act (SB 1150) was introduced in the U.S. Senate.
Shameful cheering over cutting aid to NC’s unemployed (Raleigh News & Observer) — The early payoff of an unemployment insurance debt gives businesses a small break while permanently shortchanging those who lose their jobs.
Refunds vanish, budget rebounds (Charlotte Observer) — The state’s GOP leaders are crowing about erasing a projected shortfall, but they did it by hiking the tax burden on everyday taxpayers and small businesses.
Careful with the NC surplus (Raleigh News & Observer) — Between cutting that unemployment debt on the backs of the jobless and now putting up a budget surplus projection of $400 million, Senate president pro tem Phil Berger is positively glowing with self-praise. And with the surplus, Republicans in the General Assembly are even letting Gov. Pat McCrory take some credit after basically ignoring him for two years.
Asleep at the wheel (Greensboro News & Record) — If this were a movie, you could call it “Fast & Ludicrous.” A state legislature that is driven to distraction is now taking its act to the streets.
The rural jobs JDIG creates for North Carolina (Raleigh News & Observer column) — Charles Hayes: Lawmakers, the media and the public should be aware of the links that can exist between companies like MetLife in Cary and General Foam Plastics in Tarboro. North Carolina needs job-creation policies that support the success of all companies and communities. At the moment, JDIG is among the few ties binding them.