Ben Bradford

Reporter

Ben Bradford is a city kid, who came to Charlotte from San Francisco by way of New York, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles. Prior to his career in journalism, Ben spent time as an actor, stuntman, viral marketer, and press secretary for a Member of Congress. He graduated from UCLA in 2005 with a degree in theater and from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism in 2012. As a reporter, his work has been featured on NPR, WNYC, the BBC, and Public Radio International.

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Local News
6:26 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Charlotte Budget Takes Another Big Hit; Carlee To Order Hiring Freeze

The loss of business privilege license tax revenue and lowered property tax projections have created a gap in the Charlotte budget.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

The city of Charlotte faces a gaping hole in the upcoming budget. A combination of state tax changes and Mecklenburg County’s property tax revaluation has city officials scrambling to plug the gap.


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Local News
8:30 am
Tue March 17, 2015

New Train Facility In Charlotte Part Of A 'Grand Experiment'

A crane lifts a container onto a train at the Charlotte intermodal facilty.
Credit Ben Bradford / WFAE

For decades, trucks have dominated as the main transporter of goods inland, but trains are picking up steam, and Charlotte is part of an ambitious plan by one railway to pick up even more.


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Energy & Environment
11:30 am
Wed March 11, 2015

State Charges Duke Energy Record Fine Over Coal Ash

Duke Energy's Sutton Plant, near Wilmington.
Credit Duke Energy

North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources has issued the largest fine in its history, against Duke Energy. The agency fined Duke $25 million for pollution from coal ash at its Sutton Lake coal plant, near Wilmington.


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Politics
11:06 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Teacher Raises, College Cuts, Zoo Swap In McCrory Budget

A slide from the governor's budget presentation shows the breakdown of General Fund revenues between agencies. It does not include federal funds or other fees, including the gas tax, which fuels the state transportation budget.
Credit NC Office of State Budget and Management

Governor Pat McCrory released his budget plan, his proposal for how the state should spend money for the next two years. It distributes more than $45 billion from the state’s general fund, or more than $100 billion when including all the other fees, federal dollars, and various revenue streams the state uses to fund services. The final budget may look quite a bit different once state lawmakers are through, but this proposal is where the debate begins. 

Taxes

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Local News
10:07 am
Thu March 5, 2015

House Votes For Gas Tax Cut/Hike

Credit Rusty Clark / Flickr

The North Carolina House has voted for a slight drop—followed by a more substantial hike—for the state gas tax. Lawmakers have called the bill a stopgap.


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Local News
4:34 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Economic Incentives Move Toward Final Vote In NC House

Credit Jim Bowen / Flickr

A bill containing tax breaks to lure businesses to North Carolina passed its first vote in the state House of Representatives, although it divided both parties. The bill expands several economic incentives, but sponsors emphasized one goal in particular: to lure a carmaker to the state.

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Local News
5:46 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Petraeus Reaches Plea Deal With Federal Prosecutors In Charlotte

Retired Army General David Petraeus has agreed to a plea deal with federal prosecutors over allegations that he shared classified information with his biographer Paula Broadwell, with whom he later admitted having an affair. Under the terms of the deal, the former commander in Iraq and Afghanistan could avoid jail time.


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Local News
6:03 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

House Introduces New Incentives For Businesses

North Carolina House lawmakers have introduced a package of tax incentives designed to lure more businesses to the state.

The bill replenishes the state’s main fund to offer tax breaks to businesses, adding more than $20 million immediately. Governor Pat McCrory has said he needs the money to attract businesses currently considering a move. But lawmakers and advocacy groups on both sides of the ideological spectrum have questioned the program’s effectiveness.

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Local News
9:56 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Hazy Regs Cloud Duke's Sulfur Emissions At Asheville Plant

Duke's Asheville Plant
Credit Duke Energy

The Sierra Club has accused Duke Energy of allowing unsafe levels of sulfur into the air in Asheville. A study by the group shows Duke's Asheville coal plant exceeds federal limits. Duke says it's complying with all standards. Both could be right, because of a dispute between states and the federal government.


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Local News
6:03 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Charlotte City Council Approves Frito-Lay Incentives

The Charlotte City Council approved a $3 million package of tax breaks for snack maker Frito-Lay to expand in the city.  

The maker of Fritos, Lays, and other potato chips and snacks has about 560 employees at a warehouse and distribution center in southwest Charlotte. Under the terms of the deal, Frito-Lay will receive $1.2 million in tax breaks from the city and another $2 million from Mecklenburg County. In return, Frito-Lay will create at least 30 jobs.

Councilwoman Vi Lyles says that’s a modest amount, but argues the deal makes sense.

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