Fake news or sign of trouble?

Of the three situations I can recall where agencies receiving large sums of taxpayer dollars wouldn’t divulge employees’ salaries, two of them ended badly. The third — involving a group of charter schools in southeastern North Carolina  — is playing out right now. In the first...

Wake board overreaches in touting Common Core

Recently Wake County School Board member Jim Martin called current legislative efforts to correct Common Core problems “very much a political overreach.” According to news reports, Martin then fired this shot: “It’s not clear that the folks writing this legislation know what...
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Serve a different plate

As often happens at the North Carolina General Assembly, the new fiscal year has begun with the House and Senate not yet finished with a budget-adjustment bill. Medicaid funding, teacher compensation and a few other issues continue to divide the two chambers. Call me odd — it’ll...

Lawmakers: This isn’t medical marijuana

As state legislators debated allowing the use of an extract from marijuana plants to treat seizure disorders over the past couple of weeks, it was evident that social conservatives — there are many of them in the General Assembly — felt a tinge of unease about it, even as almost...

Missing the budget forest for all the sniping in the trees

Most of the talk in Raleigh these days is about the sniping between House and Senate leaders as lawmakers try to come up with a final budget agreement. This week House Speaker Thom Tillis joined Governor Pat McCrory on the lawn of the governor’s mansion to tout a new proposal by...

Economy boosts GOP prospects

Gov. Pat McCrory and the GOP-led state legislature are at odds over the budget, Medicaid reform, Common Core and other issues. Conservatives are disappointed with the McCrory administration’s continued defense of corporate incentives. Senators disagree with the House budget’s...

A subpoena for state budget director?

The negotiations between House and Senate leaders trying to reach a final budget agreement didn’t seem to be going very well as last week came to an end. A local newspaper reports that State Budget Director Art Pope declined to appear at a Senate meeting called to discuss the...

Want to raise minimum wage? Approve fracking.

Protesters from North Carolina’s Moral Monday movement, as well as other grassroots protests around the nation, have cited an increase in the minimum wage as one of their chief goals. What happens, however, when government acquiesces to such demands? Seattle, Wash., recently...

Democrats, democracy suffer under GOP control

That Republicans express disdain for the Democratic Party is not unexpected. That they refuse to refer to it by its proper name, instead calling it the “Democrat Party,” is just rather childish. What is concerning, however, now two terms into GOP legislative control, is their...

Government spending remains high

Fiscal conservatives think government is too large, costs too much and tries to do too much. Fiscal liberals think government is too small, spends too little and doesn’t try to do enough. This is a yawning gap in philosophy. Still, if we stipulate that the two sides disagree...

Goooaaalll!

Like so many in America, for the past two weeks I have been caught up in the World Cup soccer excitement. When I say, “caught up,” I think I should clarify that I am not saying I don a multi-colored clown afro wig, drape myself in an American flag and paint my face red, white and...

Lottery money adds up to reckless budget

As the 2014 legislative session opened, a business lobbyist explained the incentives House Speaker Thom Tillis, Republican U.S. Senate nominee, had for seeking quick adjournment. Among other reasons, Tillis would want to adjourn “before one of his whack-a-doodle members does...