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5:31 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Specialty License Plates, The US Supreme Court And NC

North Carolina offers specialty license plates with the Confederate flag.
Credit http://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this week in a Texas case that could resolve an ongoing legal question in North Carolina: can lawmakers here offer a license plate that says "Choose Life" but refuse to offer a pro-choice alternative?

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Local News
2:31 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Headline Roundup: McCrory Condemns Sales Tax Proposal; More

Governor Pat McCrory condemned a redistribution of state sales taxes proposed in the state Senate. At UNC’s University Day, McCrory said the bill must be defeated, according to a Raleigh News and Observer reporter.

The bill would change how the state distributes counties’ portion of the sales tax—it would distribute it evenly to counties based on population. Right now most of the funds go to the county where the sale happened. The change would favor rural areas that Senate leaders say need the money due to economic distress.

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Local News
8:39 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Rising Comic Star John Mulaney Comes To Charlotte

John Mulaney at PaleyFest 2014
Credit Dominick D - https://www.flickr.com/photos/idominick/15123734899/. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:John_Mulaney_at_PaleyFest_2014.jpg#/media/File:John_Mulaney_at_PaleyFest_2014.jpg

John Mulaney is a rising young star in the comedy world.  The former Saturday Night Live writer recently created and starred in his own sitcom.  He’s now returned to touring the country doing standup and comes to Charlotte’s Knight Theater on Saturday.  He spoke to Morning Edition host Marshall Terry from the road. 


Local News
5:12 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Proposed Changes To Sales Tax Distribution Worries Municipalities League Director

The opening of Charlotte’s Premium Outlets last year has helped boost Mecklenburg County’s tax base. A legislative proposal that would redistribute sales tax revenue base on population could hurt Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, but benefit smaller counties such as Rowan and Lincoln.
Credit John D. Simmons / Charlotte Observer

North Carolina legislative leaders are pushing for a significant change in how sales taxes are distributed.

Currently, 75 percent of all sales tax collections go to the county where the sales occurred. The rest is spread by population.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown of Onslow County wants to spread sales tax collections across the state by population.

“Large urban counties have had an unfair advantage for decades. This bill restructures the sales tax system so rural, poor counties can finally receive a fair shake,” he says.

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Local News
5:01 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

House Republicans Want To Quadruple Funds For Vouchers

Republican lawmakers in the North Carolina House want to significantly expand the state’s voucher program for private schools. That’s according to House Speaker Pro-Tem Paul Stam. 

Lawmakers set aside about $10 million in private school tuition this year, but Stam says they’d like to increase that to $40 million to serve more students. 

"The target would be as many as apply, which is currently about 5,000. We hope to get up to 8,000 or 9,000," says Stam. 

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Local News
3:15 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Headline Roundup: Duke Contests DENR Fine; Historic Preservation Tax Credit Bill Moves Forward; More

Duke Energy says it will “vigorously contest” a $25 million fine for groundwater contamination from coal ash. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources announced the fine two weeks ago for Duke’s Sutton plant near Wilmington.

In a statement, Duke calls the record fine a regulatory overreach. The company plans to file a formal appeal by the April 9th state deadline that it says will detail specific instances where it believes DENR exceeded its legal authority or didn’t follow proper procedures.

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Politics
11:41 am
Tue March 24, 2015

City Council Considers Charlotte Photo ID For Immigrants

A poster in support of a Charlotte Photo ID
Credit Tom Bullock/WFAE News

The Charlotte City Council found itself on federal turf Monday night as it debated immigration policy. This after a task force submitted proposals to make the city more immigrant friendly and allow the city to better take advantage of Charlotte’s immigrant economy. There were 27 proposals in all. The most controversial: issuing a Charlotte photo ID to all immigrants who want one, whether they’re in the country legally or illegally. 

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Local News
1:36 am
Tue March 24, 2015

NC Senate Sales Tax Proposal Further Cuts Charlotte Budget

A Charlotte budget document from January shows projected revenue shortfalls under various scenarios. The bottom, dark-red line shows the elimination of the business license tax and the changed sales tax. Brown's actual bill would not create as immediate a dip, because it phases in over three years. At the time of the chart's creation, the city also had not yet been notified of a $10 million loss in property tax revenues, due to lower revaluations.
Credit City of Charlotte

Top Republicans in the state Senate Monday unveiled their proposal to shift sales taxes from urban areas to rural areas. The bill’s sponsor says it will help poorer counties, but it would compound the growing hole in Charlotte’s budget.


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Local News
4:33 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

New Sustainable Project Will Turn Banana Peels Into Electricity

The site for the bio-gas plant is on Johnson Road in Charlotte.
Credit Lucy Perkins / WFAE

A new energy project in Charlotte will use food scraps to power 3,000 homes in the Charlotte area. A Nevada company called Bluesphere will convert organic waste into electricity. 

Think banana peels. That’s basically what organic waste is, along with other food we throw out. The bio-gas plant will take the leftovers we don’t use, and accelerate the fermentation process.

"What happens normally in six months we concentrate in 30 days," says Alex Massone, the CEO of Austep -- an Italian company behind the technology.

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Local News
8:07 am
Mon March 23, 2015

UNC Charlotte Program Helps Former Students Graduate

Regina Dudley-Mack takes notes during psychology class. At 41 years of age, Dudley-Mack returned to complete her degree at UNC Charlotte through the school's 49er Finish program.
Credit Gwendolyn Glenn/WFAE

    

Going back to college after taking several years off can be difficult. Work demands, raising a family or finances can make it challenging. Many schools have programs to reach out to students who left before completing their degrees. At UNC Charlotte the program is called 49er Finish.

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