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: Tillis dodges shutdown questions; McHenry pressed on Obamacare

TILLIS DODGES GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN QUESTION: Republican Thom Tillis is emphasizing his opposition to the federal health care law in his campaign for the U.S. Senate but at the same time he's avoiding answering some questions on the issue. A Democratic Party operative recently asked the Republican House speaker about whether he agrees with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others who suggested shutting down government to defund the federal health care law.

While walking to a recent D.C. fundraiser, Tillis didn't offer a direct answer -- even though if elected he may face similar circumstance. "It's not my decision to make but anything we could do to slow down or eliminate Obamacare would be good for the nation," he said in a video posted online. (Watch above.)

Does Tillis agree with North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr that a shutdown is the "dumbest idea" ever? Again no answer. "I'm going to leave that to the duly elected senators but i think we can do to stop Sen. Hagan and President Obama from creating all the uncertainty and cost that comes with Obamacare it would be a good thing," he said. Expect both questions to return soon.

***See the Tillis video below in the Dome Morning Memo, along with another video from Republicans punking people at the "Moral Monday" rally.

Morning Memo: GOP fundraising, Rural Center face major questions

GOP ABANDONS PLEDGE FOR TAX REFORM: From Rob Christensen's column: Tax reform in North Carolina died last week. RIP. …The House has rolled out its plan, and the Senate has rolled out an alternative plan. Those plans focus almost exclusively on cutting corporate and personal income taxes, rather than revamping the 1930s tax code. So tax reform is dead. In its place, we have large tax cuts, the size and shape of which will be worked out in a House-Senate conference committee. Cutting taxes is in the Republican comfort zone. Reforming the tax code is not. Full story.

LOBBYING FIRM ACTED AS TILLIS, McCRORY FUNDRAISING CONDUIT: The giving by the sweepstakes industry also puts a spotlight on fundraising efforts organized by McGuireWoods. Multiple contributions from sweepstakes operators were often recorded on the same days, with the largest group coming on May 16, 2012, when the Tillis campaign tallied a total of $60,002 from 19 individuals. Days earlier, on May 10, McGuireWoods held a fundraiser at its Raleigh office attended by Payne and lobbyists from other organizations. Harry Kaplan, a McGuireWoods lobbyist, said he invited clients who were interested in meeting with Tillis to talk about the issues they represented. They could also make campaign contributions, which some did, he said.

***More on Tillis, McCrory campaign fundraising, the sweepstakes industry and questions clouding the N.C. Rural Center and top Republicans below in the Dome Morning Memo.***

Pat McCrory's "Aha!" moment

Gov. Pat McCrory raised the possibility Wednesday that public education leaders- from pre-K to the university system - would get together on a budget to send legislators rather than have each sector work separately with the governor's office on the proposal.

McCrory described it as his "Aha!" moment as he assembled his first budget.

Closer collaboration on budgeting was one of the goals discussed at the first Education Cabinet meeting in the McCrory administration.The cabinet has the branches of state education and a representative of independent universities consider joint projects and ways to cooperate.

A collaborative budget would be a switch from current practice, where budget requests are developed separately and the K-12 public education and the UNC system often seen to be competing for money at the legislature.

McCrory said he and his budget staff thought it would be better to have pre-K through universities work on a budget together - "have an education budget as opposed to a university budget, or a K-12 budget, or a community college budget, or a pre-K budget."

McCrory acknowledged that there is already information shared. For example, leaders of the community college system meet regularly with UNC system leaders and with the state Department of Public Instruction. But McCrory wants a formal process with his office in on it.

Morning Memo: Senate moves with speed, Muslim remarks put GOP on the spot

TODAY AT THE STATEHOUSE: In a metaphor for this legislative session, the Senate is moving fast to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on some highways. The full Senate is scheduled to hear the bill Thursday, a day after it passed a committee and a week after it was filed, AP reports. The Carolina Panthers incentives bill also won approval in committee Wednesday and heads to the floor. Senate convenes at 10 a.m. The House is expecting a longer-than-normal day with a busy calendar, including a measure to limit the N.C. Lottery's ability to advertise and sell games. It starts at 1 p.m. Earlier in the day, House committees will consider a wind energy bill and IT changes requested by the McCrory adminsitration.

Gov. Pat McCrory will attend the UNC system Board of Governors meeting in Pembroke -- where he will surely face questions about the budget cuts he proposed -- before making an economic development announcement in the area.

HOW WILL GOP REACT? As AP reports, an American-Islamic group wants national Republican leaders to repudiate comments by a North Carolina legislator who compared Muslim prayer to terrorism. The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Wednesday that bigoted comments must be rejected if the GOP wants to reach minorities. State Rep. Michele Presnell of Yancey County did not respond to messages seeking comment.

***The Dome Morning Memo sets the stage for the day in North Carolina politics. Get more news and analysis below.***

Morning Memo: Inside McCrory's budget; Foxx considered for Obama post

UPDATED: WHAT THE BUDGET SAYS ABOUT McCRORY: Columnist Rob Christensen -- "It suggested that McCrory is a pragmatic, moderate conservative – not a tea party Republican. The budget colored him an incrementalist with a modest vision of what government can or should accomplish. A governor’s first budget is particularly important because the governor is at the height of his or her power to push an agenda through the legislature. McCrory will never has as much leverage as he has today. So what did he do with his leverage?

"McCrory’s budget offered no sweeping vision of what he wants his governorship to be about. ... This may be sound management, but it is not the stuff of which legacies are made."

REPUBLICANS STACK THE DECK: The UNC Board of Governors elections in the House on Wednesday opened a chasm between Republicans and Democrats. The GOP elected mostly its own kin to the board, sweeping out all incumbents. Democrats voiceferously objected. But House GOP leader Edgar Starnes' response crystalized the debate: "I would just remind you of one thing. The Republicans won the election. We are in control. We intend to elect Republicans and appoint Republicans and we make no apology for it."

***Good morning. Thanks for reading the Dome Morning Memo -the source for North Carolina political news and analysis. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com. Click below for much more.***

Morning Memo: A new 2014 map, McCrory mum on second big departure

UPDATED: WHAT REDISTRICTING MEANS: Only one competitive congressional race in 2014. Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball political rankings show what happens when congressional districts are packed with like-minded folks. Of the state's 13 congressional races, only one is deemed competitive between parties. The seat is Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre in District 7. McIntyre won a close race in 2012 -- one of the few where Mitt Romney won the president vote -- and another tight contest is expected in 2014. The pundits at University of Virginia give him the early edge, though, ranking the race "leans Democratic."

***You are reading the Dome Morning Memo -- more news and analysis below.***

UNC president responds to McCrory radio remarks

UNC President Tom Ross responded to Gov. Pat McCrory's provocative comments today about the creation of a university funding model based on how many UNC graduates get jobs.

Ross said the quality of a UNC's value to North Carolina "should not be measured by jobs filled alone."

McCrory's comments have drawn a strong reaction from faculty, who said the governor's focus on education as job training is misplaced. The best preparation for a complex and changing world is a liberal arts education, many argued. McCrory's remarks came during a radio interview with Bill Bennett in which he took aim at gender studies, philosophy and African language courses.

Morning Roundup: School superintendents vent about budget cuts

State budget cuts have damaged the quality of education offered in public schools across North Carolina, school superintendents said during a five-hour gathering Tuesday, where they shared stories and sounded alarms about financial woes that have worsened during the past three years. Read more here.

Other headlines:

--The Council of State takes action to close Dix Hospital. More here.

--The UNC system continues its push to remove university workers from the state personnel act. Read an interview with President Tom Ross here.

--Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who will chair the Democratic National Convention, took his first look at Charlotte’s convention venues Tuesday, and took the chance to reach out to the city’s Hispanic community. Read Jim Morrill's story here.

Dems target GOP budget goals

House Democrats took aim at GOP budget goals, saying the potential education cuts would devastate public education.

"The desired purpose and promise of many who are in office now is to do away with the public school system in this state and go completely to charter schools, said Rep. Mickey Michaux, a Durham Democrat.

Republican leaders Wednesday released their budget targets in five broad categories. They called for spending $763 million less than Gov. Bev Perdue put in her budget proposal last week, which would mean about $300 million less state money for schools next year. The actual budget decline will be much steeper because the education budget next year will no longer be propped up by millions in federal stimulus money.

Democrats said the cuts would lead to overloaded universities, waiting lists for programs, and burdened community colleges. Costs to students would go up, they said because they would not be able to get into the classes they need to graduate on time.

"The target for education will set back the state at least 25 years," said Rep. Ray Rapp, a Mars Hill Democrat. Rapp said he was astonished to see that legislators are to consider eliminating the early childhood program Smart Start.

That program started 18 years ago.

"I'm dumbfounded that anyone would even put that on the table for consideration," he said.

Jordan Shaw, spokesman for House Speaker Thom Tillis, said the budget targets are guidelines and no decisions have been made.

"It's a starting point," he said. "It's the first step in a very long process. For them to be using that kind of language is a little unnecessary this early in the process."

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