Fitzsimon File

The Follies

BY: - August 11, 2017

Lawmakers vote to protect themselves and illegal districts

The big story in Raleigh this week was the adoption by a joint House and Senate redistricting committee of the criteria lawmakers will use to redraw legislative districts in the next few weeks after the federal courts found the current districts were illegally gerrymandered using race.

The scandalous special sessions that subvert our democracy

BY: - August 9, 2017

The General Assembly will convene a special session next week but most people in North Carolina, including the vast majority of the members of House and Senate, have no idea what legislation they will consider while they are in town.

Last week lawmakers met in a one-day special session supposedly to consider overriding a series of vetoes by Governor Roy Cooper. That was the stated purpose anyway.

Monday numbers

BY: - August 7, 2017

2,466---amount in dollars that per-student state funding in the UNC system is less than the funding level in 2008 when adjusted for inflation (“Funding Down, Tuition Up: State Cuts to Higher Education Threaten Quality and Affordability at Public Colleges, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, August 15, 2016)

20---percentage decline in per-pupil funding for the university system from 2008 to 2016 when adjusted for inflation

UNC Board vote on Civil Rights Center the latest move in an ideological crusade

BY: - August 2, 2017

Two and half years ago, the UNC Board of Governors voted to fire widely respected UNC President Tom Ross.

The move by the handpicked board of the Republican legislative majorities came with no public notice and there was no reason given for forcing Ross to resign.

Monday numbers

BY: - July 31, 2017

56---number of days since the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed with a lower court ruling that General Assembly districts drawn in 2011 were illegally gerrymandered based on race (“U.S. Supreme Court agrees NC legislative districts were illegally gerrymandered based on race,” Progressive Pulse, June 6, 2017)

Health care for millions and democracy itself is now at risk

BY: - July 26, 2017

It is not just health care for 30 million people at stake these days. Democracy is hanging by a thread too-in Raleigh and in Washington.

First, consider the spectacle of Sen. John McCain, arriving back in Washington Tuesday for the first time since being diagnosed with brain cancer.

Monday numbers

BY: - July 24, 2017

73---number of days since the Senate passed its version of the state budget that spent $22.9 billion with no massive across the board cuts to the Department of Justice (N.C. General Assembly, Senate Bill 237 bill status history)

52---number of days since the House passed its version of the state budget that spent $22.9 billion with no massive across the board cuts to the Department of Justice (Ibid)

Sorry Republicans, facts matter—in Raleigh and in Washington

BY: - July 19, 2017

It’s not an original thought to point out that the Trump Administration is a larger version of what has been happening in North Carolina for the last seven years, a takeover by far-right ideologues hell-bent on dismantling the fundamental institutions of the government they lead, without regard to the suffering their decisions will inflict on the people they are supposed to represent.

Monday numbers

BY: - July 17, 2017

5.0---percentage of overall state spending in the 2017-2018 budget passed by the General Assembly as a share of the state’s economy (“New Budget, Same Missed Opportunities for North Carolina,” N.C. Budget & Tax Center, July 2017)

4.9---percentage of overall state spending in the 2018-2019 budget passed by the General Assembly as a share of the state’s economy (Ibid)

A nonpartisan confirmation of the dangerous new normal in North Carolina

BY: - July 12, 2017

State legislative leaders this week dismissed a report by their own nonpartisan legislative staff showing the latest round of tax changes will create a budget shortfall of more than a billion dollars in two years, growing to $1.4 billion two years after that.

Monday numbers

BY: - July 10, 2017

41---percentage of North Carolina municipalities that experienced a population decline from 2010 to 2016 (“Examining Decline in North Carolina’s Municipalities,” Carolina Demography at the Carolina Population Center at UNC-Chapel Hill, July 5, 2017)

35---percentage of North Carolina municipalities that experienced growth lower than 6.4 percent, the overall state growth rate since 2010

Monday numbers: Summing up the Senate healthcare debate

BY: - July 3, 2017

22 million---number of people the Congressional Budget Office says would lose health insurance coverage under the health care plan currently being considered by the U.S. Senate (“CBO: Senate Bill Would Raise Premiums, Deductibles, or Both for Most Marketplace Consumers, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, July 26, 2017)