Fighting for an Equitable Tax System for Working Families

North Carolina needs a state earned income tax credit. Our low income working families bear a larger local tax burden as a percentage of income than our wealthy residents. A state earned income tax credit would help ease this burden and return money to our working families that they in turn would put back into our economy. A rally Saturday in Charlotte kicked off an effort by ACORN and Working Families Win to fight for a state earned income tax credit.

According to a BTC Brief by the NC Justice Center:

Low-income North Carolina workers pay a greater share of their income in state and local taxes than any other group. In 2003, after adjusting for the federal offset, the bottom 20 percent of North Carolina taxpayers paid 10.9 percent of their incomes in state and local taxes while the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid only 6.3 percent.

Please follow below the fold....

Powerless

I'm passing through a crowded coffee shop on the way to the library. No power at home. A freezer and refrigerator full of wasted food. Minor inconveniences. A short temper.

The events of the world are helping to keep things in perspective. A few powerless days for me . . . big deal.

The people in New Orleans. The people in Blacksburg. The people in Iraq. The people in need all across this country and around the world.

I have no idea what "powerless" actually means. I have not stood in their shoes.



NOTE TO BLUENC VETERANS: April 19th is BlueNC Veterans Day. Many of you said you'd write posts about your perspectives and experiences, and I'm counting on having five or six entries to front-page on Thursday. Please let me know if you're in.

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Open Thread: What's Your Beef?

I'm on the phone with Chase trying to convince them that, yes, I meant to buy that sleek, sexy, 2Gb MacBook with the printer and neoprene carrying case. There's not some shut-in teenager surfing the net and stealing my card info. I am who I say I am, and, yes absolutely, I want that freaking computer.

What's your beef today?

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Community Leaders Call For Hooker Odom's Ouster As Providers Move To Close Their Doors

hooker-odom-mike-dirks.jpg{pic credit Mike Dirks at Hendersonville Times-News}

Background on this story here, here, here, here, here, here.

Hendersonville Times-News: "Mental health care leaders in the mountains are calling for the dismissal of North Carolina's top health official on the grounds of mismanagement."
[...]
"This cut was done without any consultation with providers, LMEs, counties, CFAC (Consumer and Family Advisory Council), advocates and hospitals, the very ones that supply the essential mental health services in our communities," [Jason] Chappell wrote.
[...]
"Chappell asked residents to "request that the rates are re-instated and action be taken to place competent people in charge of mental health in the state."

N&O's Barrett Sums Up OLF Controversy - Sort Of

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For those with only a passing interest in the OLF controversy, Barbara Barrett at the N&O does a decent job today summarizing the whole story. You can read it here.

WASHINGTON - Environmental forces in North Carolina might finally have the U.S. Navy in their cross hairs. With new outrage surfacing last week from one U.S. senator and harsh questions posed by another, there is a wave of political momentum against the Navy's plans to build an airstrip alongside a national wildlife refuge.
On Monday, Sen. Richard Burr told the Navy its preferred site in Washington and Beaufort counties faced "insurmountable and growing opposition."

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You get what you pay for?

I'm a big believer in "you get what you pay for." That's why I'm always advocating for better pay in every sector of government. Public agencies and departments should be models of excellence that inspire confidence and attract the best and brightest people to serve at every level.

RALEIGH, N.C. -- State lawmakers haven't given themselves a raise in more than a decade, and with each passing year, more legislators say serving in the General Assembly isn't as agreeable as it use to be. And that was before new lobbying restrictions took effect this year that turned their free steak dinners into Dutch treat at the local cafeteria.

Working Families Win & ACORN Hold Rally to Promote a State EITC

Working Families Win and ACORN held a kick-off rally Saturday, April 14, for their campaign to promote the implementation of an earned income tax credit in the state of North Carolina. Several elected officials were there to speak and between 20 and 30 enthusiastic supporters cheered them on.

Many of those supporters were at the Police Athletic League to take advantage of another service offered through ACORN. PAL had been chosen as a free tax preparation site by ACORN. Benita Little, the Executive Director of PAL was gracious in her welcome and thanked ACORN for choosing PAL as a site for the tax prep service. According to Little, the families that had taken advantage of the free tax service at PAL had collectively received almost $150,000 back through the federal EITC.

Find out more below the fold....

Hooker Odom Spins the Facts, Runs for Cover

spin-logo.gifBackground on this story here, here, here, here, and here.

In a piece in yesterday's Raleigh News-Observer, Department of Health and Human Services Director Carmen Hooker Odom defends her precipitous decision to retroactively slash rates by 33% for vital Community Support services across the state. The article doesn't mention the providers who have already shut their doors due to the cuts, doesn't mention the 33% salary cuts for providers at Asheville's Family Preservation Services, and doesn't mention the way the DHHS used only outliers to determine problems in the system. Secretary Odom, who serves at the pleasure of Governor Easley, is guilty of obfuscation and avoidance, and I'm happy to rebut her claims.

Weekend Wound Up: Open thread

Guess we've arrived . . . Ed Cone mentions BlueNC in the same virtual breath at the Puppetshow! Seriously, I genuinely appreciate Ed's acknowledgment. He has one of the longest-running and most interesting blogs in the state, and he always operates with integrity and grace. Stop by and show him some love.

In other news, it looks like my daughter has fallen hook, line and sinker for UNC Asheville. Their music program has really captured her interest and imagination. She's just a junior, so lots of things can change, but I wouldn't be surprised if UNCA is where she ends up.

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Jack Betts Misses The Point

After years of writing some of the best coverage in the state on the Navy's Outlying Landing Field, Jack Betts at the Charlotte Observer takes a wrong turn this morning in his Sunday column.

RALEIGH -- If the Navy really wants an outlying landing field, it ought to call North Carolina's hand -- right now. For a long time the state and many of its environmental groups have been saying they don't want the OLF near the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, but they'd support an alternative site.

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