Dropouts and those who don’t graduate

BY: - January 31, 2007

State education officials released the latest high school dropout rate Wednesday morning and it is up slightly, 5.04 percent in 2005-2006, compared to 4.74 percent the year before.  Any increase in the percentage of students dropping out of high school is alarming, but the real crisis in North Carolina schools is the graduation rate, a much better measurement of […]

EITC Media Event

BY: - January 31, 2007

Those interested in learning about the Earned Income Tax Credit and the latest effort to establish a state version should check out the Justice Center's 11:30 press conference today. Click here to go to the G.A. audio site and then click on "Press Conference Room."

Minimum Wage Moving – No Thanks to Richard Burr

BY: - January 30, 2007

  The Center for American Progress' blog reports: "After repeated delays by conservatives, the Senate voted 87-10 today to end debate on legislation that will raise the minimum wage for the first time in a decade, from $5.15 to $7.25. The bill will move to a full vote in the next several days. Ten […]

Health coverage hoopla

BY: - January 30, 2007

One more comment on this morning’s budget overview at the General Assembly – and what will no doubt be part of the discussion tomorrow when the focus turns to health.  The fiscal staff member making one of the presentations talked about state efforts around the country on Medicaid and health care and said that most […]

Medicaid Gets a Bum Rap

BY: - January 30, 2007

In legislative briefings this morning from General Assembly staff, new (and old) legislators got an overview of the state budget and some commentary on health care.  Unfortunately, the commentary on health care had some serious problems with it.  As is usual every year, there was finger-pointing at Medicaid (the health care program for poor elderly, […]

North Carolina families need help

BY: - January 30, 2007

Tomorrow policymakers and leaders of several state organizations will hold a joint news conference to promote passage of a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which will help more than 800,000 low- and moderate-income North Carolinians build wealth and gain economic security. The importance of a state EITC is emphasized in a report released last […]

What, Price? Fair Elections?

BY: - January 30, 2007

Kudos to Rep. David Price, who is introducing a bill expanding public financing for presidential elections.    The  Chapel Hill Democrat's spokesman told The News & Observer that the congressman intends to "resuscitate and reinvigorate the public financing system'" to prevent it from becoming utterly pointless. The current rules for public funding are so restrictive […]

News (and a New Website) for Budget Geeks

BY: - January 30, 2007

The General Assembly's Fiscal Research Division folks kicked off the annual dance that is the state budget making process this morning with a "General Overview of Revenue Availability and the Economic Situation." With little to do so early in the session (House and Senate committees have not even been appointed yet) legislators and lobbyists packed the big […]

In Case You Missed It – Part II…

BY: - January 29, 2007

Though the General Assembly doesn't really figure to get going in earnest for at least a few weeks, the Honorables did adopt a pair of resolutions ("temporary" in the House and "permanent" in the Senate) last week that lay out the framework for this session's legislative calendar. Among the highlights: All "public bills" (i.e., non-money bills) must be […]

In Case You Missed It…

BY: - January 29, 2007

Last week's Independent Weekly had a nice series of pre-legislative session stories by Bob Geary, Lisa Sorg and Fiona Morgan. Among the highlighted figures: my former colleague, Adam Searing of the N.C. Justice Center's Health Access Coalition (at right), who has spent a decade fighting to make Blue Cross/Blue Shield live up to the rhetoric of its omnipresent marketing machine, and […]

NAACP on Witnessing Executions and More

BY: - January 26, 2007

"I have decided that we must bear witness to the suffering our State inflicts on another human being, so I can report to the people what is done in their name." One angle on the story surrounding the state's bumbled efforts to carry out its planned three-week, death penalty marathon (kill-a-thon?) in recent days was […]

No Doctor in the Big House

BY: - January 25, 2007

I'm pleased to see that a Wake County judge has suspended two executions scheduled for the next two Fridays until the state can figure out a way to do it without a doctor present.   The law requires a doctor to be present at executions carried out by lethal injection.  But, under a new NC Medical […]