Democrats react to #NCGA tax bills, U.S. Senate deadlocks on student loans and North Carolina’s political ‘tug-of-war’
NEWS & OBSERVER: Impact of proposed NC tax bill outlined
Democrats object to the proposed flat income tax. Rep. Paul Luebke, a Durham Democrat, noted in a recent committee meeting that it means “a family making $40,000 will pay at the same income tax rate as a family making $4 million.”
THE PROGRESSIVE PULSE: Telling the full story on tax reform: sales tax increase raises taxes on majority of state residents
The House tax plan expands the services that are subject to the sales tax. Because they spend a greater share of their income on taxable goods and services to meet their basic needs, middle and low income families will pay more of their income in sales taxes than the wealthy. In the House plan, the expansion of the sales tax is, on average, enough to cancel out the income tax cut, on average, for 95 percent of taxpayers.
WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL: NC House ‘fracking’ bill heading to House floor
The House Environment Committee endorsed the House’s more cautious alternative to a Senate bill over Democratic opposition. The House bill restores or adds new protections stricken from a Senate bill that paves the way for hydraulic fracturing and offshore drilling. Opponents argue the state needs to take more steps to ensure safeguards are in place before issuing permits. Environmentalists also question the extent of energy deposits in the state.
NEWS & OBSERVER: Obama lays out national Internet access plan
From the gymnasium of a school that has garnered national attention for its tech savvy, Obama unveiled Thursday a plan to connect nearly every U.S. classroom to high-speed broadband and wireless Internet over the next five years. He said it would use money already budgeted and would not require authorization or approval by Congress. And he billed it as a way to boost graduation rates and turn out students more prepared for tech-related careers.
WASHINGTON POST: Senate deadlocks on student loans
The Senate deadlocked Thursday over federal student loan interest rates, with no consensus in sight on how to prevent rates on certain loans from doubling for about 7 million borrowers on July 1. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, contended that the Republican bill would hit students harder than passing no bill at all. “This is the worst possible approach,” Harkin said. “You shouldn’t reduce the deficit on the backs of students.”
DAILY REFLECTOR: Editorial: Agenda hurts education
Shamefully, Raleigh stands poised to divert funding desperately needed for public education. The Senate budget uses lottery revenue promised to schools to help offset tax cuts for corporations and the wealthiest residents. GOP leaders want to greatly expand the number of charter schools, going so far as to propose those institutions not be governed by the state Board of Education. And a bill to create tuition vouchers for qualifying children would see taxpayers help fund private schools. That is not an approach that serves future generations. Public schools need reform, not a radical agenda that robs them of needed resources and contradicts a cherished right enshrined in the state Constitution.
CHARLOTTE OBSERVER: Redistricting hearing over N.C. maps’ legality over
The Superior Court judges heard 10 hours of witness testimony and attorney questions about whether Republican state legislators who approved the boundaries in 2011 went too far in creating majority-black General Assembly districts or made racial considerations their chief concern in drawing other lines. Critics contend that Republicans sought to illegally pack black voters, who have historically favored Democratic candidates, into certain districts to improve the chances of Republicans in other districts.
DOME: Poll shows public support for early voting
The survey found that 85 percent of voters support early voting, including 77 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of independents, and 89 percent of Democrats, according a poll commissioned by the NC Center for Voter Education.
The American Prospect: North Carolina’s Tug-of-War
What happens when a state becomes more progressive and more conservative at the same time? For the first time since Reconstruction, the GOP controls both North Carolina’s governor’s mansion and its general assembly. These are not the moderate, business-minded Republicans that North Carolinians have long been accustomed to. They are pushing a hard-right agenda on a broad range of issues, from taxes to social services to schools and election laws. They are scrambling to turn back the clock before demographic changes push their brand of right-wing politics to the margins.
Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party