Daily Journal

7.25.14
Taken for a Ride

From 2007 to 2012, Charlotte’s population grew by 17 percent and the metro as a whole grew by 13 percent. But rail-transit boardings grew by only 5 percent.

CJ Ticker

  • A legislative "typo" led to the latest Obamacare legal dispute? Uh, no.
  • Campaign trail update includes news of a 7/30 Clay Aiken fundraiser.
  • Gov. Pat McCrory signs bill repealing Common Core State Standards and other legislation.
  • In PPP head-to-head: Hagan 42, Tillis 39. Hagan 40% fav, 50% unfav. Tillis, 24%-47%. Obama 41% fav, 53% unfav.
  • New PPP Senate survey: Hagan 41%, Tillis 34%, Haugh 8%, ??? 16%
  • U.S. Court of Appeals rules states w/o Obamacare exchanges (including NC) can't offer subsidies. JLF report here.
  • See Monday's campaign trail dispatch here.
  • Rep. Jim Fulghum, R-Wake, a retired neurosurgeon, passed away after undergoing cancer treatments.

Other Opinions

7.25.14
College athletics

The Raleigh News & Observer says the NCAA is no longer seen as an agent of oversight and certainly not of any change that might in some way hinder runaway TV contracts.


7.25.14
A common core

Afraid of a ‘federal takeover of education,’ North Carolina rejects national standards. The replacement will likely be similar, says the Greensboro News & Record.


7.25.14
Offshore drilling

Patrick Gannon writes that drilling for oil and gas off the coast has the potential to become an issue exponentially more important to North Carolina than coal ash or fracking,


7.24.14
Just moved here

D.G. Martin says that new North Carolina voters do not belong to either party. Instead, they join the growing numbers of native North Carolinians who are not permanently attached to any political movement.


7.24.14
Education’s value

The Durham Herald-Sun writes that colleges and universities are facing more and more scrutiny these days over the value of the education they provide and the degrees they grant.


6.27.14
Hillary’s Hard Choices an Autobiography for Dummies
It took a village to produce Hillary Clinton's memoir, and the text betrays extensive vetting. The accounts are perfectly predictable.

Media Mangle

9.06.12
How to downplay an embarrassing story

The N&O buries the one moment of real drama at the Democratic National Convention.


3.21.12
Death of a narrative

The world's media found the neo-Nazi meme in stories about the school shooting in France just too enticing.


1.16.12
Anatomy of a Newspaper Hit Piece

In a Sunday piece, The Charlotte Observer employs all the steps used by the mainstream media to mislead readers.

Lead Story

Billionaire Democratic Funder Faces IRS Probe for Tax Avoidance

July 25, 2014, By Barry Smith

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — Billionaire hedge-fund manager Jim Simons, a major contributor to a Democratic political candidates, funds, and causes, has come under fire from the IRS for ducking billions in federal taxes. He’s a major donor to the Senate Majority PAC, which has spent millions of dollars supporting Sen. Kay Hagan and attacking her GOP opponent Thom Tillis.

07.25.14 - Friday Interview: Economic Issues Drive Many Policies

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — Reports about the American economy often focus on growth or decline in the gross domestic product, or GDP. It’s also possible to track a state’s GDP. Sarah Curry, John Locke Foundation director of fiscal policy studies, discussed GDP with Donna Martinez for Carolina Journal Radio.

07.24.14 - VIDEO: New Report Offers Good News to N.C. Charter School Supporters

photo-fpo-leadRALEIGH — A new University of Arkansas report finds that public charter schools are more productive than traditional public schools in each of the more than 20 states studied, including North Carolina. Titled “The Productivity of Public Charter Schools,” the report documents that students gained an average of 17 additional points in math and 16 points in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress for every $1,000 invested.

Editorial Cartoon

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Headlines

7.25.14 - N.C. Senate OKs major changes in Medicaid

RALEIGH — The N.C. Senate approved a Medicaid plan Thursday that will partially privatize how the program is administered in the state. The Senate voted 28-17 for the plan that would create a new state agency to oversee and manage Medicaid. The bill would carve out Medicaid regions in the state where both private, for-profit companies, called Managed Care Organizations, or MCOs, and hospital-led health plans would compete for contracts to serve patients.


Related Health Care Policy Articles:
Senate votes to overhaul Medicaid
Many low-income N.C. workers are locked out of Medicaid
NC Senate votes for Medicaid overhaul
JLF: Obamacare problems extend far beyond faulty website
For federal marketplace enrollees, nothing changes for now
NC to decide on new health insurance option

7.25.14 - Many low-income N.C. workers are locked out of Medicaid

CHARLOTTE — They’re construction workers, waitresses and cashiers. They care for our children and elderly parents, clean our offices and bathrooms. But they go without health insurance because their incomes aren’t high enough to qualify for federal subsidies and too high to qualify for North Carolina’s current Medicaid program for low-income and disabled citizens.


Related Health Care Policy Articles:
Senate votes to overhaul Medicaid
NC Senate votes for Medicaid overhaul
N.C. Senate OKs major changes in Medicaid
JLF: Obamacare problems extend far beyond faulty website
For federal marketplace enrollees, nothing changes for now
NC to decide on new health insurance option

7.25.14 - NC senators push for new incentives

RALEIGH — Three years ago, Republican lawmakers balked at a deal put forward by Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue to offer a company cash incentives to lure 1,300 jobs to North Carolina. Now, with a Republican governor at the helm, some GOP lawmakers want to expand state incentives and create a so-called “closing fund” that will allow cash grants to seal a deal with large corporations that promise to add jobs.


Related Economic Incentives Articles:
JLF: N.C. film incentives are good old-fashioned corporate welfare
Sealed Air Corp. moving headquarters to Charlotte
Carolina Panthers rule out more public cash
Senate proposes fund to lure manufacturing companies
Governor meets with film industry reps
Film industry leaders fire back against McCrory’s claims
Commerce ‘Sustainability’ Official Still On Job

7.25.14 - Revised rules for rehabbing factories head to governor

RALEIGH — When a bill designed to help new owners settle into unused industrial buildings left the state House, it was a half-page long and dealt with a single quirk of the state’s building codes. It returned form the Senate as a complex, five-page measure that drew objections Thursday from House lawmakers who said it should be given a once-over by the chamber’s Environment Committee.


Related NC Budget and Tax Articles:
‘Dialogue’ but no progress on budget
McCrory, GOP at impasse in state budget talks
NC teacher assistants’ future key in budget talks
Raleigh gridlock breeds budget worries
Senate moves closer to House positions in budget talks
JLF: Trends in North Carolina state spending

7.25.14 - House rejects moped insurance provision

RALEIGH — The state House on Thursday rejected a bill that would have required moped riders to carry insurance, with many members saying anecdotes about scooters causing accidents do not provide enough reason to make such a major policy change. Backers of the bill said the measure ensures that people who are riding on public roads can pay for any damage they cause.


Related Regulation Articles:
NC House fails to concur on moped regulations
JLF: How sunset laws can improve North Carolina’s regulatory climate
Senate OKs insurance, registration for mopeds
Crowd funding bill clears Senate Committee
Bill requires registration, insurance for mopeds
Chapel Hill towing ruling could affect regulations elsewhere

7.25.14 - GOP-backed bill includes laundry list of changes

RALEIGH — A state task force that works to reduce child deaths could be eliminated under a Republican-backed bill unveiled Thursday that seeks to make dozens of changes to North Carolina laws. The Technical and Other Corrections bill passed in a state House committee over the objections of Democrats and is scheduled for a floor vote Friday.


Related State Government Articles:
Technical corrections bill eliminates Child Fatality Task Force
Petition: Banking official tried to purge employees
Change of plans: NC Zoo will keep gorillas and add three more
Business may get early relief from unemployment tax
NC Senate votes to end pension spiking
State ‘disappointed’ with Raleigh talking points in latest Dix offer

7.25.14 - N.C. Senate passes cap on county sales tax

RALEIGH — The N.C. Senate passed a law Thursday that will reduce how much Guilford County can levy in sales taxes. Guilford can charge up to 2.75 percent on purchases under existing law , although the county does not currently use that full capacity. If adopted, the bill would cap the local sales tax at 2.5 percent.


Related Local Government Articles:
JLF: What government costs cities and counties
Rural-urban divide rears its head in sales tax debate
NC Senate gives initial OK to sales-tax changes
Greensboro officials question $45 an hour contract with activist
McFarlane says bill would hurt ability to handle growth
Senate eases local sales tax restrictions

7.25.14 - Fayetteville red-light cameras to return

RALEIGH — Red-light cameras will likely reappear at some Fayetteville intersections soon. On Thursday, lawmakers gave final approval to a bill that will allow the program to be paid for through a joint agreement between the city and the Cumberland County Board of Education.


Related Police/Public Safety Articles:
Fayetteville’s Red Light Camera bill becomes law
NC joins nationwide mortgage-relief crackdown
Senate panel OKs some traffic cameras, nixes others
Documents detail kidnapping plot of prosecutor’s father
Fayetteville’s red light camera billl clears Senate committee
Injunction against gang is working but expires soon

7.25.14 - Cotham: Bill shields salaries of for-profit charter school staff

CHARLOTTE — Conflict over disclosure of charter-school salaries flared anew Thursday as House Democrats said a Senate-approved bill shields for-profit management companies from revealing who they hire and how much they pay. In a Thursday evening news conference, Rep. Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg, led the call for the public and Gov. Pat McCrory to fight a move that she says blocks accountability and transparency at charter schools, which are run by nonprofit boards and funded with public money.


Related Education Articles:
Judge rejects latest move to stop Union redistricting
Ushering in the digital classroom
McCrory signs Common Core legislation
Funds for teacher assistants in doubt
Read to Achieve reading program evolves
JLF: Rethinking Common Core state standards

7.25.14 - UNC-CH announces program to help athletes finish degrees

CHAPEL HILL — At a time when universities are making new promises to take care of athletes during and after their playing years, UNC-Chapel Hill will give scholarships and counseling to help former athletes finish their degrees. A new program, dubbed Complete Carolina, was announced Thursday by Chancellor Carol Folt.


Related Higher Education Articles:
Historically black colleges face uncertain future
Congressmen push NCSU on case of flawed research
UNCW, professor settling case seven years after lawsuit
UNC-CH’s Cunningham says school working to ‘move forward’
JCC students can no longer get federal loans
Orange County DA drops felony charge against Nyang'oro

7.25.14 - New coal ash landfill illustrates bigger challenge for NC

RALEIGH — An idea of just how big North Carolina’s coal-ash problem is can be found north of the Triangle on the Virginia border in Person County. There, one small step toward cleaning up accumulated decades of residue from coal-fired power plant combustion is about to begin at the Mayo Steam Electric Plant near Roxboro.


Related Energy Articles:
Pennsylvania firm seeks mineral rights for gas exploration
Environmentalists: Coal ash layers still evident in Dan River
Health officials OK recreational use of Dan River
JLF: How energy subsidy comparisons should be calculated but aren't
Solar farms taking root in North Carolina
Cleanup of Dan River ash sparks backlash

7.25.14 - Ports Authority officials focus on rail service

WILMINGTON — Lots of wheels were turning at Thursday’s N.C. State Ports Authority Board of Directors meeting regarding ways to drive business to the region even if little was said in open session about what might be going where – and when. What was obvious is the importance the ports authority, and the state as a whole, is placing on rail service – reinforced by a presentation Thursday from CSX – to generate new economic development opportunities.


Related Transportation Articles:
Agreement may bring rail service back to Columbus County
Many aging N.C. bridges need repairs costing billions
Wake GOP warms up to transit as Senate Republicans chill
Putting coal ash at the airport still on the table
Asheville airport poised for growth, runway replacement
JLF: Transportation priorities for North Carolina

7.25.14 - Wineries thriving in mountains and across the state

ASHEVILLE — Craft beer gets plenty of attention and promotion in North Carolina. But the state also has a lively wine scene that is constantly adding new players of all sizes. The mountains are home to more than a dozen wineries including America’s most-visited (Biltmore in Asheville) and the nation's smallest (Calaboose Cellars in Andrews, with just 300 square feet).


Related NC Economy Articles:
US pork producers’ use of drug may derail trade deal
N.C.’s June jobless rate unchanged from May
NC jobless rate remains at 6.4 percent
BofA resumes settlement talks with Justice Department
Lorillard deal keeps Greensboro ahead of pack
Forsyth existing-home sales fall 18.4 percent in May
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