James @
Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - 8:23am

Lawmakers have finally brought an end to the marathon “short” session which lasted over a month longer than planned, and wasted $1.1 million in taxpayer money. Unfortunately, they left a great deal of work undone -- or even worse, done poorly.

Teacher Assistant Jobs at Risk

The General Assembly adjourned without fixing the budget’s cuts to teacher assistant funding, forcing districts across the state to cut TA positions. Funding for textbooks has dropped by 79% over the past five years, according to the Dept. of Public Instruction. In many schools, students are forced to share textbooks. Teacher turnover in Wake County jumped over 20% since last year. Veteran teachers across the state will continue to leave after seeing almost no pay raise at all.

The Coal Ash “Cleanup” Bill That Wasn’t

PM Progress NC
James @
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 1:23pm
medicaid veterans
James @
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 - 8:01am

Pope beneficial to state (Raleigh News & Observer column) -- Art Pope is to be commended for his many years of public service, especially for his 20 months as the state’s budget director.

McCrory: I’ll sign coal ash bill that violates constitution (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory says he will likely sign a coal ash cleanup bill approved last week by the North Carolina legislature into law, even though he suggested a key provision violates the state Constitution.

Daily dose
James @
Monday, August 25, 2014 - 4:43pm

End corporate taxation. And then tax the hell out of individuals for capital gains.

James @
Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 12:35pm

A great column in the Asheville Citizen Times today, one worth reading for its sheer brilliance, let alone the horrific substance. Check it out.

The NC Department of Transportation project to widen I-26 here in Buncombe County may not be shovel-ready, but in his Mecklenburg County district Tillis supports widening I-77 from Charlotte to Mooresville. With toll lanes. “Lexus lanes,” opponents call them. Other critics call I-77 “Thom’s Tholl Road.”

And this:

Oh, there will be new lanes all right, but to use them drivers will pay tolls to a foreign developer. What Raleigh saves today, Tillis’ neighbors will pay out of pocket for the next 50 years. Or else spend more time in traffic and less with their families or sleeping.

And this:

Tillis told opponents that with state revenues shrinking (because of tax cuts?) they had a choice: toll lanes “or no improvements to I-77 for 15 or 20 years.” It’s Thom’s way or no highway.

And this:

Cintra opened a new toll road in San Antonio in November 2012. Revenues there fell far short of projections. By June 2014, Cintra was struggling even as it signed agreements with the NCDOT. In July, Moodys declared the project in default. U.S. taxpayers are on the hook to bond holders for any bailout.

And my favorite:

“Limited government” is their code for stripping America for parts.

Tom Sullivan
James @
Sunday, August 24, 2014 - 8:34am

Duke's coal ash warning late, lacking for North Carolina? (Greensboro News & Record) -- As the night wore on last Super Bowl Sunday, water plant operator Steven Johns’ world grew progressively scarier. The fixes in his chemical toolkit weren’t working against this new invader that threatened the Danville water supply. As Feb. 2 gave way to Feb. 3, Johns kept shaking his head while turbidity readings that normally signify dirt, bacteria and other nasty stuff zoomed ever higher in the future drinking water that his plant was drawing from the Dan River. “All the books I read and all the classes I went to — not a word about coal ash,” Johns said at the plant last week. “I had to find out on my own.” Happily, Johns teased out the solution and helped spare his city’s water supply any ill effects from the coal ash spill that began earlier that Sunday at Duke Energy’s retired Dan River Steam Station just across the state line. He did it using a tool that Virginia officials received from Duke Energy, a tool their counterparts in North Carolina didn’t get that day: a clear understanding that coal ash had been released in potentially troublesome amounts and that public water supplies might be at risk.

Daily dose
James @
Saturday, August 23, 2014 - 8:57am


James @
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 3:14pm
James @
Friday, August 22, 2014 - 8:32am

Received via email:

The 2013 – 2014 Legislative Session finally adjourned last night. The budget and Medicaid were two of the biggest items to be addressed during this legislative session, yet we are leaving with a budget that is unsustainable and without action on Medicaid. I am pleased, however, that we did enact bipartisan legislation to clean up the 33 coal ash ponds in North Carolina.

This session, the legislature unfortunately impaired our ability to grow economically in the future by damaging public education and our universities and rejecting the federal expansion of health insurance for hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians.

I voted against the short session budget because it harms North Carolina, primarily in education and health care.

John Stein NCGS
James @
Thursday, August 21, 2014 - 4:46pm

Governor Liability.

Despite (false) hopes of a reset, the governor continues to damage himself and his party. The evidence is it will continue. Like Charlotte’s business oligarchy, of which McCrory is so fond, bank on it.

This reminds me of the diggers and fillers we had back at the Naval Academy. They were the guys who dug holes and filled them up again, usually to fix things, but often to break things.

In this case, McCrory's the digger. Duke Energy, the Chamber, and Art Pope? They're the fillers. Same as it ever was.