newsobserver.com blogs

Tag search result

Tip: Clicking on tags in this page allows you to drill further with combined tag search. For example, if you are currently viewing the tag search result page for "health care", clicking on "Kay Hagan" will bring you to a list of contents that are tagged with both "health care" and "Kay Hagan."

Morning Memo: Commerce pushes overhaul, dueling tax campaigns emerge

SECRETARY TO PITCH COMMERCE PRIVATIZATION PLAN: Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker will appear before a House panel Wednesday to pitch Gov. Pat McCrory's plan to privatize elements of the state's economic recruitment effort. Decker sent a memo to lawmakers with the talking points about the N.C. Economic Development Corporation a day earlier. She highlighted the efficiencies that McCrory's administration believes will be realized by consolidating various existing entities, including the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, some of the N.C. Biotechnology Center and the tourism and film offices, among others, in a private nonprofit entity led by political appointees. She will describe a phase-in approach in her testimony. McCrory's team drafted the outline for the private-public partnership -- funded mostly by taxpayer dollars -- before he ever took office. Tony Almeida, the governor's top economic adviser who will lead the effort, wrote a white paper, finalized in December, as a member of McCrory's transition team that laid out the vision. (More below.)

DUELING TAX CAMPAIGNS: Americans for Prosperity began airing a TV ad on cable and broadcast that touts Republican leaders commitment to a tax overhaul. Meanwhile, the Young Democrats will debut an effort Wednesday to criticize the Senate plan with a web ad highlighting the hike in grocery taxes and and a new website nctaxhike.com, which is designed to counter Senate Republicans nctaxcut.com. Check Dome later today to see both.

***More North Carolina political news below in the Dome Morning Memo -- including a rundown on the day's top stories.

McCrory transition costs come in under budget, so far

Pat McCrory's transition costs total less than $200,000 so far, with the bulk covering salaries for his top aides. The figure is detailed in public records obtained by The News & Observer.

The Republican legislature gave him $660,000 for transition costs, double the amount of his Democratic predecessor. McCrory said he would try not to spend it all. Not all costs are accounted for yet, and the total doesn't include any expenses related to the inauguration.

Four key aides made the most money: Thomas Stith, Kelly Nicholson, Charles Duckett and Pattie Fleming, documents show. Stith made $10,894 a month in the transition, a total salary equal to about $131,000 a year. Nicholson took home $13,895 a month, or the equivalent of $166,740 a year. The total projected for transition salaries -- $192,000 --goes through Jan. 18, suggesting the final number may be less because some staffers are moving to state payrolls before then.

Pat McCrory's closest transition advisors include big GOP donors, politicos

Pat McCrory's transition office released a list of top advisors consulting for the governor-elect as part of his working groups -- a list filled with prominent GOP donors and politicos.

Among the names: Bill Cobey, the former GOP chairman, is consulting on administrative matters; Fred Smith, a former state senator and developer, is consulting on environmental issues; and Les Merritt, a member of the state ethics board and former state auditor, is consulting on tax reform. (See full list below.)

The names are likely to reflect many that will work in McCrory's administration but don't represent all offering advice to the incoming Republican governor, the transition office acknowledged. Others are giving informal suggestions in conference calls and meetings but are not listed.

One glaring omission is the lack of leaders on two major topics McCrory promised to accomplish in the campaign: education and government transformation. A McCrory aide said the groups will commence after the Jobs and Economy team finishes their work, given their relation to each other.

Morning Roundup: McCrory keeps ties to private firms amid transition

A month after his election, Gov.-elect Pat McCrory remains employed at a law firm that lobbies state government even as he establishes his administration and controls a $660,000 pot of taxpayer money.

His dual role creates a potential conflict that makes government watchdogs uncomfortable. Another ethical move McCrory should consider, they suggest, is putting his assets in a blind trust. Read full story here.

More political headlines:

--Legislators seeking to eliminate $2.4 billion the state of North Carolina owes the federal government to help pay jobless benefits are prepared to unveil a proposal they also say would put the state unemployment insurance program on firmer financial footing.

McCrory's transition team subject to limited lobbying ban

Pat McCrory's transition team must abide by a 14-point ethics pledge that includes a limited ban on lobbying and the disclosure of all conflicts of interest and criminal charges.

The Republican governor-elect said he asked each of his transition team members to sign the code of ethical conduct. McCrory's campaign promised to release an ethics platform during the campaign but never did.

Transition members are not allowed to do anything that would force them to register as a lobbyist while on the team and may not lobby a state agency to which they are assigned for six months. It does not prevent them from lobbying other parts of the administration or the state legislature.



Document(s):
EthicsPledge.pdf

McCrory's transition team roster

Pat McCrory announced his transition team Thursday. Click below to see all the members and biographies provided by the McCrory campaign.

Morning Roundup: New fracking board raises ethical issues

Members of the new state board overseeing drilling and fracking in North Carolina is not required required to disclose whether they could potentially profit from the practice they oversee. The board chairman Ray Covington and his family own more than 1,000 acres of timberland in Lee County, considered to be a natural gas-rich pay zone and prime fracking territory.

Such issues are not specifically mentioned on the state’s ethics disclosure form, unforeseen by North Carolina’s ethics rules because for the simple reason that there is no history of oil and gas exploration here. Read more here.

More political headlines below.

Cars View All
Find a Car
Go
Jobs View All
Find a Job
Go
Homes View All
Find a Home
Go

Want to post a comment?

In order to join the conversation, you must be a member of dome.newsobserver.com. Click here to register or to log in.
Advertisements