NC's Budget contains a big win for Children

When Governor Easley signed the budget into law on July 31st a lot of legislators and budget watchers were focused on the inclusion of the land transfer tax option, and the sales tax increase that was made permanent. But also included in the bill were two landmark progressive measures that will be a boon North Carolina's children and families. The final budget includes a refundable 3.5% Earned Income Tax Credit for working families, and NC KIDS CARE, health care coverage that will fill the gap for families between 200% and 300% of the federal poverty level.

UPDATE: State of the Candidate's Websites, Take 2.

Once again, we are going to take a look at the state of Candidate's Websites for our leading Democratic candidates. The grading system:

F - no website except government site.
D - website with no online contact info (phone/address only) that looks like it was made in Dreamweaver in the 90s.
C - website has online contact info, but is out-of-date with news/bills/action that is listed.
B - website has all of the above and appears to be updated on a regular basis, has a photo page, and a way to donate online.
A - website has all of the above, plus a blog or chatroom, and links to Flickr/YouTube/MySpace/Facebook sites.

So, who rises and who falls?

Democrats Deliver While Pat Makes an Obstruction of Himself

While Democrats continue to deliver on promises that put working families first, North Carolina Republicans pride themselves on obstructionism.

Here’s a quote from the Republican Pit Bull Patrick McHenry in today’s edition of The Hill:
Read it here.

“We shut down the House for nearly a week, forcing the Democrats to make public earmarks in the appropriation bills,” McHenry said. “This was an enormous success.”

“Shutting down the House for an entire week to make a point that Republicans will remember but the public won’t robs voters of action on issues they care about like the Iraq War, health care, education and aid to military families,” said NCDP Chair Jerry Meek. “McHenry’s constituents ought to ask if his obstructionism serves his interests or theirs.”

NRCC Screws the Pooch......and Robin Hayes

This evening, the DCCC will hold a fundraiser to help Larry Kissell erase the personal debt he acquired in his bid to help take our congress and our country back in 2006. His bid last cycle fell short by a mere 329 votes and Larry is working hard to improve his name recognition and to keep his positives high with the voters. Let's help Larry Kissell retire his personal campaign debt. If you go here and make a contribution, it will be matched two to one.

Hey Senate: Forget all that crappy stuff I said about you!

I don't know why it's so hard to get both of our illustrious houses in the legislature lined up on the right side of important issues. We had a helluva fight keeping the special interests out of the Senate on the transfer tax, but now it's the House that's out of whack on the landfills issue.

The N&O has a good editorial that covers most of the important points.

Open thread: Pigs have wings UPDATED

I regret to inform the world that I agree completely with a new column by Rick Martinez. That doesn't mean I don't want to see him fired from the N&O. I do. The N&O has entirely too much infiltration from Art Pope's Puppetshow. But I have to say that I share Martinez' unhappy view of the so-called energy bill sliming its way through the General Assembly.

Note to Dallas Woodhouse: Please send along a current photo so we can give you full credit for being a rising star in this many-ringed circus. Glam-shots preferred.

On Beason's Short Leash

Since the news broke today about lobbyist Don Beason's lavish spending habits, I've been struggling to understand how and why this story has been covered up for so long. After doing some digging today, I have to conclude it's a pretty ugly picture of North Carolina's political press.

First off, Beason is not a household word in North Carolina, even though he should be. Up until today, the only definitive story on the influential Republican I could find was written in 2005 by Dan Kane, full of cushy stuff like this:

Top legislators say they like Beason, who was ranked as the most effective lobbyist last session, because he gives solid information and he's honest. "The operative word with Don Beason is 'professionalism,' " said Rep. Richard Morgan, a former Republican House speaker from Moore County.

But there might be other reasons for Beason's success, too. He has skillfully worked with his business clients to direct money to top legislators' campaigns and to cover the costs of their political meetings and events.

Dan Kane wrote that story in 2005, right? And now here we are in 2007, with everyone wondering who's the mystery man that funneled a half-a-million dollars into Jim Black's dirty pockets. And no one fingers Don Beason?

What gives?


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