NCDP Clips for Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

NCDP Clips for Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Tweet of The Day

LEGISLATURE 2015

Skvarla defends need for more corporate give aways (AP) — A top advocate of Gov. Pat McCrory’s request for more money for North Carolina business incentives is facing skepticism from Senate Republicans who believe lower tax rates is the better way to attract companies.

NC budget director on the job’s surprises, Medicaid, state employees (Raleigh News & Observer) – “I’m not foolhardy enough to try to predict what the General Assembly is going to do (with Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget proposal). We have had a very good dialogue with them. I did work with them closely. I came in without the same kind of pre-existing relationships of my predecessors had. I tried to build those relationships. Hopefully that makes for a process that works in everybody’s best interest.”

Senator: Lower energy bills could come in months (AP) — People in eastern North Carolina may see lower electric bills as early as this fall if legislation filed in the House and Senate on Tuesday is approved quickly. The identical measures are related to last summer’s announcement that Duke Energy Progress will purchase the generating capacity managed by Electricities, which is comprised of 32 towns and cities.

Privilege tax, historic credit likely talk at NC towns’ day(AP) — The leaders of North Carolina’s towns and cities have a lot on their minds and want to tell elected leaders in Raleigh what they’re thinking.

Legislators, McCrory feud after judges back governor (Asheville Citizen-Times) – State legislative leaders say they will delay the confirmation process for several of Gov. Pat McCrory’s choices to government positions because of a court ruling involving appointment powers. A three-judge panel sided with McCrory Monday in a lawsuit the governor brought over the way members for three state commissions are chosen. His attorneys argued, and the judges agreed, that lawmakers wrongly crossed into executive branch powers by setting up the state Coal Ash Management Commission, Oil and Gas Commission and Mining Commission so that legislative appointees make up the majority of each board.

Hall wants college IDs accepted, more early vote days in NC (AP) — The Democratic leader in the North Carolina House says bills to make college student identification cards acceptable in voting and restore one week of early voting are to ensure all eligible citizens can vote.

Bill calls for end to highway corridor development restrictions (WRAL-TV) — Following a recent state Court of Appeals ruling that put the state on the hook for paying Forsyth County property owners in the path of a proposed highway, the General Assembly is looking at scrapping the law that led to the court case.

Greensboro City Council calls referendum (Greensboro News & Record) — But a public vote would address only the least controversial issue of lengthening terms to four years.

Lawmakers Look to Eliminate NC ‘Food Deserts’(TWCN-TV) — By definition, a desert is a low-income area that is either a mile or more away from a supermarket in an urban area, or 10 miles or more away in a rural area. In North Carolina, there are 349 food deserts in 80 counties.

Community college scholarships OK’d by NC House panel (AP) — North Carolina high school students with strong grades could receive free community college tuition in a bill that’s cleared its first legislative hurdle.

Legislator wants to cut Trinity council (Greensboro News & Record) — Trinity City Council is the latest local government targeted by the legislature.

Driver’s ed could escape state funding cut (Charlotte Observer) — Driver’s education programs in North Carolina could escape a state funding cut after an intense period of lobbying from public school districts, including Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

POLICIES & POLITICS

Charlotte sees larger budget shortfall than after recession (Charlotte Observer) — The city of Charlotte said it expects a $15.6 million budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, due to a drop in value in some commercial property as part of the ongoing county property revaluation.

NC Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 5.4 Percent (TWCN-TV) — The state’s unemployment rate remains unchanged from the December rate of 5.4 percent, just lower than the national average of 5.7 percent. The report also shows the private sector has added about 109,000 jobs since January of last year.

Making Ends Meet: Report Highlights NC’s Ongoing Economic Struggle (Public News Service) — It’s been seven years since the Great Recession hit North Carolina, but seven isn’t such a lucky number for thousands of North Carolinians still reeling from the impact, according to a report released this week by the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center.

Burr, Tillis stay opposed to nomination after NAACP meeting (AP) — North Carolina’s two U.S. senators say they remain opposed to confirming Greensboro native Loretta Lynch as attorney general after a meeting with state NAACP leaders and other advocates from their home state.

ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

After Toxic Ash Spill, Energy Company And Locals Struggle Over Solution (NPR) — A storage failure at a coal-fired Duke Energy plant sent tens of thousands of tons of ash into a North Carolina river last year. They want to move the waste to two abandoned clay mines.
Board considers $12M coal ash offer (Sanford Herald) — After the Lee County Board of Commissioners revealed Duke Energy’s offer of up to $12 million in exchange for storing coal ash in Sanford’s Colon Mine site, county officials and residents disagreed whether the board should accept the deal.
OBX Residents: Don’t Drill Here (WUNC-FM) — The fourth floor ball room at the Ramada Inn – Kill Devil Hills offers an expansive view of the Atlantic Ocean. And what might be out there has petroleum industry lobbyist David McGowan envisioning a financial windfall for North Carolina, and the growth of an entire infrastructure to support it. … McGowan was a relatively lonely voice of support for oil exploration at the Ramada in Kill Devil Hills.

Fracking draws little interest in North Carolina so far (WNCN-TV) — There hasn’t been much interest from the major oil companies about energy exploration in the Tar Heel State. That has some concerned. "North Carolina has a lot to risk when it comes to fracking," Liz Kazal, of Environment NC, pointed out.