Barry Smith comes to Carolina Journal after a 33 1/2 –year career with Freedom Communications' North Carolina newspapers. Smith has been based in Raleigh since 1999, and for the last year-and-a-half edited and published M2Mpolitics.com, which covered N.C. politics and government.
Smith is a Chatham County native and grew up in Alamance County. He is a 1978 graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He’s an avid Tar Heels fan, as well as a Carolina Hurricanes, Carolina Panthers and Baltimore Orioles fan.
(5.22.13) Senate Budget Plan Excludes Funding For Eugenics Survivors
RALEIGH — Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget, released in March, proposes to spend $10 million to compensate victims of the involuntary sterilization program that the state operated for decades. The Senate's budget plan did not include that compensation.
(5.21.13) Senate Budget Would Require EV/Hybrid Drivers To Pay More
RALEIGH — Drivers of some of the most fuel-efficient cars in North Carolina could be hit with extra license registration fees. The proposed Senate budget would add $100 annually for electric vehicle registration and $50 annually for hybrid vehicles.
(5.17.13) House Would Replace Graduated Income Tax With Flat Tax
RALEIGH — The House Republican tax modification plan would lower the sales tax rate slightly and broaden the sales tax to include repair, maintenance, cleaning, and installation services, and service contracts. Unlike a competing tax plan presented by Senate Republicans, it would not expand the sales tax base to cover all services.
(5.17.13) House Passes Tuition Reimbursement for Parents With Special-Needs Children
RALEIGH — House Bill 269 would provide reimbursement of $3,000 per semester or $6,000 a year for tuition and special education services. It would replace a tax credit for such services that was approved by the General Assembly in 2011. Sponsors said they introduced the measure because many low-income families did not earn enough to qualify for the tax credit.
(5.16.13) House Passes Campaign Spending Measure Expanding Disclosure
RALEIGH — A bill that supporters say would require more timely reporting by independent groups engaging in political campaigns in North Carolina passed the House by an overwhelming margin. The bill would require many electioneering expenditures by groups not affiliated with a candidate to report the spending, often within 48 hours.
(5.16.13) Senate ‘Protect Commerce’ Bill Would Silence Whistleblowers, Critics Say
RALEIGH — Lawmakers are considering a bill that critics say would stifle the actions of whistleblowers trying to uncover wrongdoing by North Carolina businesses. It also would require recordings taken or documentation removed in secret to be turned over to law enforcement agencies within 24 hours. Failure to do so would be a crime.
(5.15.13) House Moving Elections Bills as Crossover Date Looms
RALEIGH — The House, by a 117-0 vote, gave its approval to a proposed amendment that would remove this sentence from the N.C. Constitution: “Every person presenting himself for registration shall be able to read and write any section of the Constitution in the English language.” The language somehow got into the 1971 state constitution even though the 1965 Voting Rights Act outlawed such restrictions.
(5.13.13) Election Measures Set For House Votes Today
RALEIGH — This evening’s House session is scheduled to consider a couple of election-related bills that, perhaps surprisingly, have not been subjected to partisan wrangling. Measures expanding ballot access to minor parties and restoring partisan labels to judicial races are not scheduled for floor votes in their current form.
(5.08.13) Senate Tax Plan Would Broaden Base, Cut Rates
RALEIGH — Senate leaders used a Tuesday press conference to announce their long-awaited tax proposal, a proposal that would lower personal and corporate income tax rates, along with the sales tax rate. It also would expand the sales tax base to cover services not currently taxed in the state.
(5.06.13) Treasurer Could Make Invest More in ‘Alternatives’ Under Senate Bill
RALEIGH — The bill would allow the treasurer’s office to invest up to 40 percent of the value of the state retirement system in “alternative” investment vehicles such as private equity and hedge funds. Currently, the treasurer can invest up to 36 percent in such portfolios.