Tag Archives: Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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STILL TIME TO FIX STATE BUDGET INTO ONE THAT HELPS ALL NORTH CAROLINIANS: Word is that the remaining differences – whatever they might be — between the N.C. House of Representatives and Senate over the state budget are being worked out by the legislature’s top-most leaders. However, before they wrap things up, lawmakers still have the chance to correct their course on some misguided proposals remaining on the table as well as to incorporate some needs that have been ignored or forgotten. First, stop giving the state’s revenue to people who don’t need it. Continued cuts in the corporate income tax are unnecessary and jeopardize the ability of state government to meet the most basic needs of citizens. Reverse the foolish neglect of public education. Take care of those in need. Reject spiteful cuts to important education programs that help disadvantaged students in the eastern part of the state; Discard mean-spirited cuts to food stamps – that would throw 133,000 people – children and the elderly included – off the program while not saving the state a dime.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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END THE PARTISAN GAMES, DRAW LEGAL VOTING DISTRICTS NOW: It is time for the North Carolina General Assembly to face reality. They are being ordered to create new legislative and congressional districts. For the third time this year the U.S. Supreme Court has taken North Carolina’s lawmakers to task, unanimously ruling they relied too heavily on race to illegally draw the state’s legislative districts. Simply put, the current districts are unconstitutional. The court should give the state a deadline and provide specific criteria to be followed for drawing the new districts. If the legislature will not follow the guidelines, the court should draw the districts itself. Additionally, the court could also ask for public input to help with the new districts.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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LEGISLATURE’S BUDGET: MORE COMFORT FOR THE COMFORTABLE: Want to know what the priorities and motives are for the leaders of the North Carolina General Assembly? The budgets produced by the state House and Senate provide a clear view. The themes are consistent in both documents — those who already have the most, get even more. And those with the greatest need are considered freeloaders who refuse to work and want to bilk state government to finance their indolence. So what if we prevent 500,000 people from getting health insurance? They could get a job if they just tried – particularly the elderly and children. How responsible is it to continue to spend millions on private school vouchers when there is practically no accountability or transparency in where the money goes nor how the students perform academically? Not to mention that some of the schools discriminate on admissions.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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DISGUISING VOTER SUPPRESSION BEHIND MASK OF VOTER ID: The problem is that Berger and Moore are disguising the truth. If they really cared about identification, they could easily write a bill that would pass constitutional muster. In reality, while the two TALK about voter ID, what they are DOING is voter suppression. The law the courts struck down was MORE about discouraging voting: reducing early and Sunday voting; eliminating same-day voter registration; ending pre-registration of teenagers; and disallowing out-of-precinct voting. All that comes on top of efforts to make it difficult for certain groups of voters, such as students, to vote by moving polling places from convenient locations, like student unions, to more remote locations on the fringes of college campuses.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

BUDGET AMENDMENT AIMED TO PUT BLACK SENATORS IN THEIR PLACE: Angered at some legislators’ efforts to amend their budget dictates, Sen. Brent Jackson, a hog farmer from Sampson County, and the Senate leadership shifted hundreds of thousands of dollars away from schools in poor areas of the state to non-education programs in areas largely represented by Republicans. It was a spiteful act aimed to put Democrats, particularly African-American senators, in their place. It strips $316,600 from early college high schools in Northampton and Washington counties and prohibits using state funds to support a summer science, math and technology program in the area. This action will, according to state Sen. Erica Smith-Ingram, shut the program down. There is no shading of the truth here. This astonishing act of unvarnished racism is more reminiscent of 1917 North Carolina than 2017! It was about punishing those uppity black legislators in the Senate because they stood up and opposed the Senate leadership’s budget.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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SENATE’S LOW EXPECTATIONS BUDGET FAILS STATE’S NEEDS: North Carolina teachers have more ground to make up than the Senate proposes. Why the limited increases? Once again, the Senate starts with a tax decrease and works up from there. What schools need doesn’t matter. Reducing taxes fixes everything. Gov. Roy Cooper’s modest budget plan should have been the Senate’s bottom line for teacher pay. Instead, at EVERY LEVEL, the Senate under cuts Cooper’s plans to improve compensation for teachers. The Senate offers NO increase in the starting salaries for teachers. And, adding insult to injury, offers no boost for the most experienced teachers. There is a term for withholding raises from long term employees – “harvesting the workforce.” Organizations use it to force out experienced employees to replace them with lower salaried employees. Who wants to work for an organization like that?
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NEW HEALTH CARE BILL SICKENS FAR MORE THAN IT CURES: President Donald Trump and the Republicans who rule the U.S. House of Representatives may be crowing about passage of their prized health-care bill that repeals and replaces Obamacare. But back home in the states they represent, few are celebrating. The unfortunate reality for the nation is that this bill is more likely to be a booby prize. It is particularly astonishing and disheartening that nearly every member of the U.S. House of Representatives voted on a bill that they knew almost nothing about. The Congressional Budget Office hasn’t even had time to “score” the bill to determine its impact, but that doesn’t seem to matter to the partisan zealots. Their blind desire to simply check repeal and replacement of Obamacare off the to-do-list for the president is no excuse for the haste and long list of important, but unanswered questions, left on the table.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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NC CHAMBER IS AWOL IN THE FIGHT FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS: At the height of the debate last week North Carolina’s foremost business organization, the state Chamber of Commerce was asked how it stood on House Bill 13 (which only partially deals with the problem, was passed and signed by Gov. Roy Cooper this week). “The North Carolina Chamber does not currently have a position on House Bill 13 and remains focused on policies that return accountability to the talent pipeline while raising student and school achievement,” was the reply. This non-answer, answer represents the unfortunate lack of leadership the state Chamber has shown in those issues most critical to supporting North Carolina’s public school system.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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INCESSANT TAX CUTS ARE RUNNING OUR STATE INTO THE GROUND: North Carolina tax cuts have primarily benefited large corporations and high income people. There is little evidence that this grows the economy. (We don’t believe in trickle down any more than we believe in the Easter bunny.) By resisting any increases in the minimum wage, our legislative leaders’ policies are keeping a lid on disposable income. They’ve expanded sales taxes to more items and services as they’ve eliminated popular programs like the back-to-school sales tax-free weekend and the sales tax holiday on Energy Star appliances. None of these actions increase consumer purchasing power. Rather than continue with tax cut obsessions, legislative leaders need to focus first on what North Carolina needs to have – well paid teachers and school administrators; best-in-the-nation schools and universities; access for all to affordable health care and; a top quality of life. If there’s anything left over after that, only then should any adjustments in revenues be considered.
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Sunday News: From the Editorial pages

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THE DEATH AND RESURRECTION OF AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL BILL: The North Carolina General Assembly is where terrible ideas go to live forever. These horrible ideas, seemingly banished by court decisions, public revulsion or sheer stupidity, manage to spontaneously regenerate in the most unlikely places. Take the no-good idea of combining the state Board of Elections and state Ethics Commission. It was about a month ago when a three-judge panel said the legislature’s December extra-session attempt to merge the two boards was a very bad idea and amounted to an unconstitutional grab of the governor’s power. It is unfortunate that legislative leaders seem more concerned about tinkering with the administration of elections rather than working on ways to increase turnout and making it easier for those who are eligible to register and cast ballots.
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