Politics

NC Senate Changing Unemployment Benefits

Aug 26, 2015
Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

Changes to North Carolina’s unemployment benefits today passed the first of two required votes in the state Senate. The bill raises a key requirement for those using benefits to remain on them.

Ildar Sagdejev / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/1.0/deed.en

Many districts have either stopped offering driver’s education or, like CMS, plan to next week when the temporary budget expires, leaving many kids in the lurch.

It’s been a week since Governor Pat McCrory announced a number, a big one actually, $21.74 billion. That is how big North Carolina’s budget will be when it’s finalized. This was billed as a major breakthrough in negotiations between the House and Senate, who have very different spending plans for the state. So are they ready to sing in harmony yet?

A budget deal requires the House and Senate to sing a kind of fiscal duet with an agreed upon framework as their guide. In that spirit, Republican Representative Chuck McGrady serves as my partner as I talk through a couple numbers.

Courtesy of the candidates

The last Republican mayor of Charlotte once told a crowd, "If my dog doesn’t like the mansion we might be spending a lot more time here in Charlotte."

For the record, Pat McCrory’s dog seems to like the governor’s mansion just fine.

Charlotte is a heavily Democratic city, but one with a history of Republican mayors. McCrory served in the post for 14 years. His immediate predecessors, Richard Vinroot and Sue Myrick were also Republicans.

Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC

The North Carolina Senate has tentatively passed big changes to Medicaid and sales tax distributions. Senate leaders are calling the bills compromises, but there are still differences to work out with the House.

On Medicaid, Senate leaders favor giving insurance companies more responsibility for managing the government health care program. The House and Governor Pat McCrory would rather give that authority to groups of doctors and hospitals. So the Senate is advancing a bill that allows both insurance companies and groups of doctors and hospitals to take more control.

Meet The Democrats Vying To Be Mayor Of Charlotte

Aug 11, 2015
Courtesy of the city and candidates

Charlotte’s most recently elected mayors have had quite the trajectory—to the governor’s mansion, U.S. Cabinet, and federal prison. In total, the city has gone through five mayors in as many years. This year, six Democratic candidates are vying for the office.

Rep. Jason Saine Defends $19,000 Clothing Buy

Aug 10, 2015
Charlotte Observer

Charlotte Observer

N.C. Rep. Jason Saine on Monday defended spending more than $19,000 in campaign money on clothes, including some from a custom tailor in Charlotte.

Saine, a Lincolnton Republican, cited the spending on his most recent campaign report. It was first reported on The Daily Haymaker, a conservative website.

Saine spent $17,908 on clothes from Tom James Co., which bills itself as “the world’s largest manufacturer of custom clothing.”

NC General Assembly

The North Carolina Senate has rolled out what they call a compromise sales tax and job incentives bill. This comes a day after the provisions were removed from the senate’s proposed budget.

The senate’s plans to redistribute sales tax by population and their frugal take on economic development funds were never greeted warmly by either the House or the Governor. They were removed from the budget in hopes that would help jumpstart budget negotiations which have been plodding along now for weeks.

North Carolina General Assembly

Hoping it will help jump start negotiations on North Carolina’s budget, state senators are offering major concessions to the House. But they want something in return. 

For weeks now senior budget writers from both the House and Senate have been talking, just not about the numbers in their budgets.

"We have had discussion on the economic development proposals and the Medicaid proposals," said Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger.

  "I think we are....," Berger then took a long pause before finishing,"closer than we have ever been in getting those things worked out."

LizMarie_AK / Flickr/https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

There are two dates that loom large for parents, teachers, students and administrators in Charlotte-Mecklenburg. The first is August 14, the self-imposed deadline for the General Assembly to agree on a state budget. The second, just 10 days later, is the first day of school.

Without a set budget, schools have a hard time planning for the academic year and they may have to start cutting programs now just in case. As for the budget negotiations, they're not going so well. At least not yet.

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