Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Raleigh cheat sheet: Who's proposing what?

Trying to keep up with three plans for teacher raises,  vouchers,  charter schools and other education issues before the General Assembly is enough to make anyone's head spin.  Bill Anderson of MeckEd pointed me toward a comparison sheet on the Senate, House and governor's plans prepared by Public Schools First NC.

The group has an agenda  --  it supports more money for traditional public schools and opposes shifting money to charters and private schools  --  but the reporting strikes me as factual and it's the best at-a-glance synopsis I've seen.  Things can change every time the legislature convenes,  so check in on the legislative updates page for fresh reports.

It's not as easy to read,  but here's the General Assembly's comparison  (it goes beyond the education items,  which are at the top).  Feel free to share links to updates from other groups.

Berger with protesters

Meanwhile,  last week's conversation between Moral Monday education protesters and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger didn't produce any lasting harmony.  Although no one was arrested then,  the state NAACP filed suit later that week to challenge the new rules governing protests in the Legislative Building.  They won an injunction from Superior Court Judge Carl Fox,  who said the rules against making noise and creating a disturbance are so vague they could get groups of visiting schoolchildren in trouble.  This week's protest,  which focused on labor issues,  was a noisier event that led to 20 arrests,  the (Raleigh) News & Observer reports.

Berger's office says the Republican majority is just trying to "liberalize and clarify archaic and confusing building rules" adopted by Democrats in decades past.

“For years we’ve heard feedback that the 30-year-old building rules implemented by previous Democrat leaders were confusing and restrictive,” the Rockingham Republican said in a press statement. “We responded to those concerns, and I am baffled why (state NAACP president William) Barber is now trying to turn back the progress we made in increasing building access and free speech.”

Berger had told the group that the Moral Monday agenda would cost up to $7 billion and require a corporate tax hike of 50 percent,  up from the current 6 percent.  This week the Forward Together Moral Monday Movement countered with an analysis by the progressive N.C. Policy Watch saying Berger's analysis contained  "false or exaggerated"  premises.  That analysis contends that the Moral Monday agenda is revenue neutral  --  that is,  it wouldn't require huge tax hikes -- and might even produce new income for the state.

Meanwhile, a Forbes article circulated by Berger's staff bumped up the rhetoric with a headline saying  "North Carolina Progressives Demand Billions in Higher Taxes, 80 Percent Corporate Tax"  (that's Berger's 50 percent estimate plus the federal corporate income tax,  the article says).

The Raleigh-based Civitas Institute boosted the cost estimate for the Moral Monday agenda to $10 billion  --  and promptly followed up with a fund-raising letter. "The Left wants to take your money  ... We, on the other hand, ask our friends to voluntarily support us so that we can help regain and preserve the freedoms that are our birthright,"  says the letter from institute President Francis De Luca.

Someone will ask why the Observer doesn't have reporters delving in to sort out these conflicting claims.  The answer:  It's all an exercise in rhetoric.  If the General Assembly were seriously considering this spending program,  it would be vital to know what it would cost and how it would be paid for.  But no one's really pushing this plan.  Work on the real budget proposals continues hot and heavy  --  and my colleagues covering the legislature are more than busy trying to keep up with that.

Let's end with some literal political theater:  "Moral Mondays, the Musical!" It's a production of Will Rice,  identified by WRAL as a left-leaning communications consultant.  It's set to  "Monday, Monday" and features some Daily Show-style interviews with protesters.


Wiley Coyote said...

The "teacher raise" proposal that is an incredibly bad idea is the BOCC vote to raise the sales tax by one quarter of one cent.

People will blindly vote for another tax increase just as they did for the bonds.

Here's another Observer headline that goes hand in hand with possibly raising the sales tax:

Charlotte Mayor Clodfelter not worried about S.C. jobs

Charlotte Mayor Dan Clodfelter said he’s not concerned about Monday’s announcement of thousands of jobs moving to South Carolina, including some that are relocating from Charlotte.

Mecklenburg County voters should be very concerned and the possible referendum to raise the sales tax, with teacher raises as the Trojan Horse to get it passed.

Anonymous said...


This is the only movement with your feet that will ever make a difference.

Chablis said...

Wonder why charter schools and private schools are so successful in Meck county? Because CMS is not meeting the needs of the customer, and those who can leave will leave.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I am opposed to any sales tax increase in NC, particularly on groceries - the fact that we tax groceries at all is bizarre. Further, Mecklenburg County already has a hefty sales tax rate relative to counties across the nation which manage to provide a much greater bang for the taxpayer's buck.

To suggest that this is the only option to fund teacher raises is disingenuous at best. Teachers pay taxes just like everyone else; personally I have reconsidered hundreds of purchases - from decent pens to fresh produce to a desperately needed used car - after factoring in sales tax, ultimately netting the state and county absolutely nothing.

amyo said...

Thanks, Ann--this is really helpful information. I'm appalled by the Senate plan that proposes giving MORE money to SAS to conduct their EVAAS methodology, but cuts the most teacher assistant positions, and essentially eliminates grades 2-3 assistants. Apart from any other considerations, the testing (and record keeping) that has accompanied the Read to Achieve legislation in the 3rd grade has been almost unbearable for 3rd grade teachers and students. If we ever needed teaching assistants in that grade, we need them more than ever now!!!!

Anonymous said...

To be clear, a increase in sales tax will go toward teacher pay. As I'm in favor of everyone making more money, reguardles of where you may work, this means everyone, including the teachers, will be parcially funding their own raise. So, those 18,000+ CMS employees please take your pocket change from your left pock and place into your right pocket. We cannot keep .25% this to death year after year, raise after raise.
For those want-to-be investigative reporters here is your news attention...before we raise another tax please look at those North Carolina & Mecklenburg County property owners who aren't paying their respective taxes. We seize nuisance businesses but how much property did we seize in previous years resulting in sale and auction for tax payments? How much does that total each year? Second assignment..... look at how the City of Charlotte issues business one makes sure businesses get a privilage license before opening to help track sales tax which are due. If a business flies blindly under the city radar then all we've accomplished with another tax increase is a business income increase. Lets be real, a 12 year old can point out businesses that operate in such a manner. Ask the city or county how do they go about making sure the sales tax collected from the shopper makes it to the city, county of state funds? I'm talking all businesses not your Fortune company. When you shop in Mecklenburg County ask to see a business license. According to the city ordinance the city can require any business to open its books to determine actual sales verses taxes paid. This assignment will not be quick, it will require leg work and resources but in the end I'm willing to bet we could find money w/o a tax increase. I dont thing most folks mind to pony up as long as everyone is doing their share. But we've all read the names in the paper of those that owe the county money. Who wants to play the piper role? It all fall sunder FOIA so don't be pushed around. I'm looking for an A on this assignment so don't settle for anything less.

Anonymous said...

A bunch of incompetents in Raleigh who do NOT have the welfare of teachers of mind. It's simply a matter of who will do them the least harm. They have pretty much destroyed morale. It will take a long time to rebuild it. I don't think they even care.

Anonymous said...


Teachers it will take at least a decade to get back your purchasing power.

Anonymous said...

What Gov. Haley forgot to say to all the assembled masses. Good luck on getting to work on SC's pathetically maintained road system. Dodge 'em on I-77.

Anonymous said...

I don't mine paying for teachers, policemen, fireman and soldiers. What I do mind paying for is people sitting at home on their behinds. Why is this states Medicaid so high? Cut that dam bill. Cut the people sitting in offices downtown not teaching. Cut the administration. Put what's leftover in trailers on school parking lots. Republicans have been in power since 2011. I have voted for them every time. They need to step up and do their jobs. Give teachers their old pay plan with a cost of living boost and move on. Their is plenty of fat to be cut at all levels. That's reform!!!

Anonymous said...

Anon, at 10:17: i travel the portion of i77 from Charlotte to Columbia frequently at all times of day. It certainly is no more poorly maintained and no more crowded than the portion of I77 from Huntersville to exit 42 in Troutman. In fact, I cannot see one thing that the Charlotte portion of North Carolina has that the area south of Charlotte in South Carolina doesn't...except higher taxes and maybe poorer schools.

Anonymous said...

If the good old boys in Raleigh did their job this wouldn't be an issue. They should have put in a teacher pay plan last summer. Seven years of loosing benefits, frozen pay, inflation and student loan payments is too much. I could care less about most of the moral Monday protest. I don't blame the teachers for being upset. I don't now why NC keeps shooting for some pie in the sky pay plan. How many panels have we had? How much time and money has been spent on this crap? Give them what they where promised and move on. Is becoming a joke. My kids school is loosing good teachers to other southern states. It's not just the high paying Norh anymore. It's not the draw of the left coast. South Carolina!!! Tennessee!! What's next Mississippi or Texas?

Anonymous said...

Republicans have been in power since 2011. The pay freeze may of started before them but they haven't fixed it. Undo burdens are being put upon counties. Mcory asked for countries to find way's for them to find ways to increase teachers pay. Raleigh is not doing its job. Blaming the last guy is getting old. They are starting to sound like Obama blaming Bush after his first term. Just reinstate the old pay plan. It wasn't that great. Cut down all the bureaucrats in offices. Go get the money back Bev spent on her dad's doc. Give back all the raises Mcory to all his cronies. Have all the administration give back their, private sector raise's. Cut checks to people who do nothing. The money is out there. We need leaders who quit protecting their own and work for the people of this state. I like my kids school. That's why I moved to this neighborhood. It's not going to be the same school if all its teachers leave.

Wiley Coyote said...


I'll take SC roads over NC any day.

How's 485, Independence, 77 in Mecklenburg County working out for you?

Also, NC has the highest gas tax in the surrounding 8 states.

Anonymous said...

How about the 1000+ students in CMS who don't even live in Meck county. Good for them.

Anonymous said...

Heath, please do everybody a favor and show your support for the teachers and cut some jobs in the CMess ivory tower. This way you will be more credible with your fellow employees.

Wiley Coyote said...


From Bankrate:

North Carolina

People in North Carolina pay the highest in state and federal gas taxes, at 57.55 cents per gallon. Georgians pay the lowest, at 25.9 cents per gallon.

South Carolina

State gasoline tax: 16.75 cents per gallon.Federal gasoline tax: 18.4 cents per gallon. Combined federal and state gas tax: 35.15 cents per gallon.

Reason Foundation's 20th Annual Highway Report's overall performance and cost-effectiveness rankings are:

North Dakota
New Mexico
7. South Carolina
South Dakota
New Hampshire
19. North Carolina

Go ahead and vote to raise the sales tax. Just another tax, right?

Raleigh should be raising teacher salaries, not Mecklenburg County.

Anonymous said...

Hell, Haley is getting it done... South Carolina has real tea party reformers. We are stuck with wannabes. Teachers are leaving here to go to SC. Business are going to SC.

Anonymous said...

$3.17 at the border this morning. Nothing to worry about, right Mayor?

Anonymous said...

I am really disappointed in the Raleigh crowd. Create a teacher pay plan. Make a reasonable pay scale. Every state in the union has one. Why is this so hard? Didn't we have one before the pay freeze 7 or 8 years ago? These idiots should just use that one.