Monday numbers from an Altered State, Part 1

By: - December 7, 2015 1:00 am


The wrecking crew

228 — weekly average in dollars of unemployment benefit in North Carolina (All for naught? Today’s harmful policies are setting up the unemployment insurance system to repeat past mistakes, fail to stabilize the economy,” N.C. Budget & Tax Center, May 2015)

47 — rank of North Carolina’s unemployment benefit among the 50 states (Ibid)

Public investment falls, tax responsibility shifts

5.9 — percentage decline of investment in state services from 2008 to 2016 when adjusted for inflation (“Diminished expectations and the resulting drag on North Carolina’s economy: A summary of the fiscal year 2015–17 budget,” N.C. Budget & Tax Center, October 2015)

7 — consecutive years in which state spending measured as a percentage of state personal income has fallen with the passage of the 2015–17 budget (Ibid)

Yanking away the ladder

17.2 — percentage of North Carolinians living in poverty (“Media Release: With too many North Carolinians struggling, now is the time to pass a poverty-busting budget,” N.C. Budget & Tax Center, Sept. 17, 2015)

24.3 — percentage of North Carolina’s children living in poverty (Ibid)

6,227 — number of children who lost access to child care subsidies as a result of new eligibility restrictions adopted by the General Assembly in 2014 (“Futures Dimmed: The impact of eligibility cuts and fee increases on child care access,” N.C. Child, June 2015)

768 — average monthly cost, in dollars, of child care in North Carolina (“How much more expensive is child care in N.C. compared to public college tuition?” Triangle Business Journal, Jan. 27, 2015)

105,000 — number of low-income adults in North Carolina who will lose food aid in 2016 thanks to House Bill 318, the “Protect North Carolina Workers Act” (“Up to 105,000 childless adults in North Carolina would lose food aid in 2016 if legislators prohibit new waiver,” Progressive Pulse, Sept. 25, 2015)

Paradise for polluters

600,000 — amount in dollars the state environmental agency returned to the U.S. EPA that would have been used for water testing in areas potentially affected by fracking (“Cuts to DENR regulators jarring in wake of Dan River spill,” Charlotte Observer, March 8, 2014)

33 — number of unlined coal ash pits that Duke Energy has at 14 sites throughout North Carolina (“N.C. House approves Duke coal ash cleanup bill,” Associated Press, July 3, 2014)

100 — percentage of coal ash sites that are currently leaching contaminants into surrounding soil and groundwater (“Unlined and Dangerous: Duke Energy’s 32 coal ash ponds in North Carolina pose a threat to ground water,” National Geographic, March 5, 2014)

100,000 — acres of forests, farmland and open space lost to development every year in North Carolina (“This is not my state: Reflections on North Carolina’s environmental assault,” Southern Environmental Law Center, April 17, 2015)

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Chris Fitzsimon

Chris Fitzsimon, Founder and Executive Director of N.C. Policy Watch, writes the Fitzsimon File, delivers a radio commentary broadcast on WRAL-FM and hosts "News and Views," a weekly radio news magazine that airs on multiple stations across North Carolina. [email protected] 919-861-2066