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The online magazine - Vox reports, “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Bloomberg News that Congress should target Social Security and Medicare for cuts to address the growing federal debt.”

So they're admitting it now!  They've taken a huge tax cut for the millionaires and they plan to pay for it by cutting Social Security and Medicate.  Vote Democratic on November, 6th!!


Governor Cooper recognizes North Carolina is in a hole, stops digging

Progressive Pulse // Alexandra Sirota // May 22, 2018
Summary: Governor Cooper released a proposed budget for 2018-19 that takes an important, though modest, first step in reversing the state’s failed tax cut experiment. The Governor proposed freezing corporate income tax rates at 3 percent rather than allowing them to drop again in January 2019, while also stopping personal income tax rate cuts on higher incomes. Combined, this fiscally responsible approach will ensure $110 million is available in 2018-19 for public investments in areas that have immediate needs. Over the full Fiscal Year, the result will be an estimated $223 million in revenue available. Even more work will be required to undo the years of cuts that have been the priority of North Carolina’s General Assembly. The hole we are in is deep.

Wednesday Wrap: From the corner office
WRAL // @NCCapitol // May 23, 2018

Summary: Lawmakers aren't accomplishing much in the open these days, but they are furiously working behind closed doors to put the 2018-19 state budget together. House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger met in a corner office much of Wednesday to hash out final sticking points on the spending plan, such as new work requirements for some Medicaid recipients. The Senate likes that provision, while House budget writers are united against it.

North Carolina budget fast-track squeezes out amendments
Greensboro N&R // AP // May 23, 2018

Summary:  Republicans in the North Carolina legislature are fast-tracking this year's budget adjustments so quickly they're preventing rank-and-file members — particularly Democrats — from formally offering their own changes. House and Senate GOP leaders have been negotiating privately for weeks on how to alter the second year of the two-year government spending plan approved last summer. They expect to unveil the final product as soon as early next week, Republicans said Wednesday, with votes following soon after. What's different this year is a plan by legislative leaders to use a procedural method that prevents amendments to their package, either in committee or during floor debate. Instead, the two chambers will hold up-or-down votes on what's called a "conference report" proposal to spend $23.9 billion, with no ability for changes or to vote for some of the plan.

North Carolina Republicans Prefer Corporate Tax Breaks to Funding Schools
Flagpole // Jeffrey C. Billman // May 23, 2018

Summary: According to an analysis last year by the NC Justice Center, the cumulative annual cost of the tax cuts the legislature has enacted since 2013 add up to $3.5 billion, and some 80 percent of the benefits go to the top 1 percent of earners. These enormous tax cuts have, of course, been paired with massive spending shortfalls, which allows the state’s GOP to boast of annual surpluses. And nowhere has this been felt more than in education. Today, North Carolina is 40th in the nation in education quality, according to Education Week, and 39th in school funding and 37th in teacher pay, according to the National Educators Association. Adjusted for inflation, per-pupil spending was down almost 9 percent from 2008–’09 to 2016–’17, according to the Justice Center. This has shifted the burden to the state’s counties, especially in higher-cost urban areas desperate to attract and keep quality teachers. Wake County, where the teacher protest took place, has raised property taxes—another flat, regressive tax—each of the last four years to compensate for education shortages and provide supplemental pay. Even that wasn’t enough: In Democratic primaries earlier this month, voters tossed out two self-styled progressive incumbents for being insufficiently committed to education. At the same time, the proliferation of charter schools in the state—and the legislature’s wide-eyed reverence for all things “school choice”—has further drained resources from traditional public schools. According to a study from one Duke University professor, charter schools have cost Durham County more than $500 in funding per student in traditional schools.

Democratic lawmakers make pitch for safer schools
EdNC // Alex Granados // May 23, 2018
Summary: Democratic lawmakers announced today they are filing companion bills in the House and Senate to make schools safer, including more money for school resource officers and psychologists, and gun control measures they say could keep weapons out of the hands of dangerous or immature people. The announcement followed a similar plan laid out by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper. Aspects of the bill, called “Safer Schools, Healthier Kids Act,” include allowing the court to take away a gun from someone who was a threat to themselves or others for a period of time, raising the age from 18 to 21 for purchasing an assault type firearm, banning bump stocks, and increasing funding for school resource officers, psychologists, and counselors. 

Medicaid work requirements a sticking point in budget talks
WRAL // @NCCapitol // May 23, 2018

Summary:  New work requirements for current Medicaid recipients are part of the final budget negotiations going on between top leaders from the House and the Senate. The matter is one of several policy items that House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger are hashing out as they wrangle over the $24 billion budget. The change appears to be a Senate priority without support from key budget writers in the House. "We're talking about it," Berger, R-Rockingham, confirmed Wednesday evening as he emerged from budget talks for a dinner break. Negotiations were expected to continue later Wednesday evening. Much of the budget has been worked out between House and Senate budget writers for the GOP majority, to the point that leadership plans votes on the final plan next week and will bring the budget to the floor without allowing amendments on the floor or in public committee meetings.

Democrats, Others Shut Out Of State Budget Process
WUNC // Rusty Jacobs // May 23, 2018

Summary: Republican leaders in the GOP-controlled General Assembly have extolled the streamlined budget process this session. Democrats say the public has been shut out of an important discussion. The General Assembly passed a two-year spending plan over Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's veto last year. The short legislative session that opened last week is primarily focused on tweaking that plan ahead of the next fiscal year. Republican budget writers will handle the adjustments and present a conference report for an up-or-down vote with no chance for amendment

For the first time in modern NC history, lawmakers won't allow changes tobudget
N&O // Paul Specht, Will Doran // May 22, 2018
Summary: Democrats are upset that Republican legislators are mostly excluding them from state budget talks, as it's unlikely any proposed changes will be adopted once the budget is revealed. Republican leaders plan to gut an old bill and amend it as a "conference report" to include their budget plans, meaning state lawmakers will have no method for amending the legislation. Democratic Rep. Darren Jackson, the House minority leader, said the Republicans' plan amounts to a "secretive process that will prevent input and consideration" from all legislators. "I am unaware of any instance in modern North Carolina history where the State Budget was amended via a process that did not allow for committee consideration, committee amendments, and floor amendments," Jackson, who represents Wake County, wrote in an email to Republican leaders.


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