“People are already struggling to pay their bills and utilities want to raise rates yet again,” Cooper in a statement. “We’ll continue to fight these increases that fail to adequately take consumers into account.” He cited an analysis by Moody’s that shows that North Carolinians pay a higher percentage of their household disposable income for electricity than residents of all but six other states. He also questioned whether Duke shareholders should be entitled to a 10.2 return on investment on the backs of consumers, many of whom are still struggling in an uneven economy.
Considering the makeup of the new NCUC, this vocal opposition is critical in not only opposing rate increases, but also making sure the public is aware of the issue.
Most of the debate this week about the Senate budget understandably focused on the more than 5,000 jobs it eliminates, the cuts it makes to education, and the $770 million it sets aside for tax cuts for millionaires. But there are dozens of other questionable funding decisions and troubling policy changes included in the massive 413-page budget bill that only a handful of Senate leaders had seen before it was released late Sunday night.
An annual fee of $100 for electric car owners and $50 for hybrid car owners would be levied on state residents. The fee would raise $1.5 million for the state Department of Transportation in the upcoming year. State Senator Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, is a supporter of the measure, arguing that electric and hybrid car owners should not get a “free ride” by not paying state gas taxes...
“If they want to use the highways, we expect them to pay for the highways just like every other citizen that uses them,” Rabon said. “I don’t think anyone that owns these vehicles will balk at all.”
I have news for Senator Rabon. I will not only balk, I will also do everything I can to mount a class-action lawsuit against the government of North Carolina for discrimination, or perhaps just for plain stupidity.
As the election results came in last week, civil libertarians across the country had much to celebrate. Unfortunately, here in North Carolina, the news was much less rosy. While voters in other states cast historic votes to approve marriage equality, reject onerous voter ID requirements, and enact sensible drug policies, the results in North Carolina make it clear that we will be facing many uphill battles in the coming years.
Right-wing extremists now control both houses of our state legislature with veto-proof majorities. Unlike his predecessor, Governor-elect Pat McCrory will be politically and procedurally unable to veto even the most onerous attacks on civil liberties.
Dutch scientists have been growing pork in the laboratory since 2006, and while they admit they haven't gotten the texture quite right or even tasted the engineered meat, they say the technology promises to have widespread implications for our food supply.
Rob Schofield at North Carolina Policy Watch has an excellent post today about the growing gap between the richest and the poorest in our country. Which should come as no surprise to anyone who actually has to work for a living here in North Carolina. Just this year, for example, when our state Senate had the chance to reduce sales taxes that would affect everyone, they chose instead to cut taxes only on the wealthiest.
So what's the net effect of these kinds of policies?
Between 2005 and 2006, the average income (before taxes) of the top 1 percent of households increased by $73,000 (or 7 percent), after adjusting for inflation, while the average income of the bottom 90 percent of households increased by just $20 (or 0.1 percent).
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