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Gov. Pat McCrory signs tax bill into law

Gov. Pat McCrory signed a major tax cut bill into law Tuesday, saying it will help ease the state's economic pain.

The measure cuts personal and corporate income taxes to the lowest levels of neighboring states and limits future states spending. McCrory and Republican leaders say it will give a break to every taxpayer but legislative analysis suggest some families, retirees and small business owners may see a tax hike.

McCrory asks board to blaze a trail to economic development

Gov. Pat McCrory charged the newly appointed State Economic Development Board with the task of fixing the state’s economy Wednesday when he dropped by their first meeting.

The board, chaired by John Lassiter, a longtime ally of McCrory and leader of his 501(c)(4) political committee, should develop a strategic plan in the next six months. The governor said it should last a decade and focus on three major economic issues: Medicaid, which is “busting our budget” and needs reform; getting into the energy business; and education, which holds the key to growth through vocational reform.

Morning Memo: McCrory budget may emerge soon, men oppose 'nipple bill'

McCRORY BUDGET RELEASE NEXT WEEK? Top GOP lawmakers say Gov. Pat McCrory is expected to release his state budget plan next week. The governor's office is remaining mum. But budget details are leaking to lawmakers, who say McCrory's spending plan isn't like to include details of a major tax overhaul, such as corporate or personal income tax cuts, and instead it will assume the tax plan being negotiated privately by Republicans will be revenue neutral.

MEN OPPOSE NIPPLE BILL: Public Policy Polling will release more from its statewide voter survey later Friday. But here's a peak: nearly half of men -- 45 percent -- oppose the bill to prohibit women from barring their breasts and 34 percent support. Women are deadlocked at 38 percent on what is called the "nipple bill." (Insert stereotypical joke about men here.)

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Gov. McCrory uses big incentives to lure MetLife jobs

The insurance giant MetLife plans to add more than 2,600 high-paying jobs in Cary and Charlotte over the next three years after being awarded a state incentives package worth more than $94 million this morning. MetLife expects to invest $125.5 million as part of the project.

“We’re proud that a strong corporate partner like MetLife has decided to invest in North Carolina,” said Gov. Pat McCrory in a statement. “These jobs will complement our financial services sector in Charlotte and our high-tech hub in Wake County, two distinct sectors we want to expand.”

The state’s Economic Investment Committee approved an incentives package for the company at its meeting in Raleigh this morning. MetLife received a 12-year state Job Development Investment Grant worth as much as $87.3 million if it meets hiring and investment goals. MetLife also must retain the 143 employees it now has in Charlotte.

The company is also receiving millions in training credits and a $2 million grant from the One North Carolina fund. More here.

McCrory uses small fire at Administration Buliding as his political punch line

Throughout the weekend, Gov. Pat McCrory used a small fire that occurred Friday at the state Administration Building as a punch line in his speeches.

"We said we were going to ignite the state's economy ... that wasn't what we meant," he joked. "But all of together work together to solve these complex issues we will ignited the economy and put people back to work."

A spokesman for the governor's office said a piece of equipment overheated and caught on fire. It was contained to the area but it damaged the computer system and put smoke throughout the first floor. It was put out by a fire extinguisher.

Rep. Murry plans mini jobs tour

State Rep. Tom Murry is planning a western Wake jobs tour this coming week. He has scheduled three meetings in which he hopes to hear from business owners and other constituents fresh ideas for stimulating the economy.

It’s part of the Morrisville Republican’s new role as chairman of the House Committee on Commerce and Job Development.

Here’s the schedule:

2:30 p.m. Monday at Cloer Family Vineyards, 8624 Castleberry Road, Apex, for a walking tour.

8 a.m. Thursday at the Cary Chamber of Commerce, 307 N. Academy St., for a discussion of tax reform and other issues the legislature may take up this session.

9 a.m. Friday at Crowder Construction, 1111 Burma Drive in Apex, for a discussion with small business owners, builders and contractors.

Morning Roundup: Little known law benefits UNC Health Care

A little-known law, the Set Off Debt Collection Act, allows state and local agencies to collect debts by seizing state tax returns and lottery winnings. The law has been good to UNC Health Care. Last year, UNC Hospitals collected $5.7 million, while UNC Physicians and Associates collected $2 million. Read more here.

More political headlines:

--Departing from this uber-optimism from the campaign trail, Pat McCrory gave a sobering assessment of the economy and the challenges ahead.

Morning Roundup: N.C. congressional delegation splits on fiscal cliff vote

North Carolina's congressional delegation split along unusual lines when it came to the fiscal cliff legislation. U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan voted to approve. In the House, five Democrats and one Republican voted in favor and two Democrats and five Republicans voted against. See the breakdown here and more on the vote here.

More political headlines below.

Pro-Romney super PAC airing new TV ads in North Carolina

A super PAC supporting Mitt Romney on Tuesday began airing its two new TV ads in North Carolina, a sign that Republicans still believe the state is a battleground despite talk about it being written off the map.

GOP uses Gov. Perdue to bash President Obama in new mailer

Gov. Bev Perdue isn't seeking re-election -- but you wouldn't know it from the mailers the Republicans are sending this year.

The latest flier links the unpopular Democratic incumbent to President Barack Obama, showing the two of them embracing on an airport runway. "What have President Obama and Governor Perdue done to North Carolina?!" it asks on the front.

The mail piece was sent by the N.C. Republican Party in coordination with the Mitt Romney campaign, whose logo appears on the flier.

Inside (see below), the flier attempts to blame Obama and Perdue for the state's economic woes and hits both for raising taxes. The governor is certainly a big cheerleader for the president but the flier stretches the connection between the two Democrats policies and proposals.

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