Under the Dome

Morning Memo: Stormy end to contentious week

It should be a quiet day with no legislative committee meetings and no floor sessions.

TGIF and welcome to Dome's Morning Memo for a look back at a contentious week and preview of what's ahead.

EVERYBODY JUST NEEDS TO CHILL: The storms that came through Raleigh late Thursday afternoon seemed a fitting end to a obstreperous week on Jones Street that was punctuated with arrests and ended with Sen. Bob Rucho, co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, trying to resign his post because Senate President Phil Berger didn't take his side in the great tax debate. His resignation letter questioned the backbone of Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Tillis. Berger sent his own letter, refusing the resignation. Dome suggests they all go out on a man date, watch a game, grab a beer, do that punch-the-shoulder thing guys do and then get back to taking care of the people's business.

TAXING BUSINESS: That's not to say business didn't get done Thursday. Indeed, the votes were flying. The Senate passed its version of a tax overhaul with a 30-17 vote with Rucho and Sen. Tommy Tucker, a Union County Republican, siding with the Democrats. The bill is a rewrite of the House measure and it looks like Berger may have to go on more than one man date to get House Republicans to sign on. The two bills have some similarities and many differences. Full story.

NONPROFITS UPSET: Among those unhappy with the tax bill are nonprofits who will see their sales tax refunds capped under the Senate measure but not the House version. Full story.

A TALE OF TWO STATES: Debate over spending and taxes has further illuminated the urban and rural divide in the state. Rural legislators are rightly feeling out-numbered and say their communities are getting short shrift. Full story.

COMING MONDAY: The budget the House passed is on the Senate's calendar for Monday night. The Senate will hold its final vote on its tax bill on Tuesday. It will then go to the House. Look for both bills to go to conference committees for negotiations.

BASEBALL FEVER: The week started with the governor tossing a baseball to a member of his security and ended with a flash mob of protestors playing catch on the lawn in front of the NC State Capitol Building. The flash mob was unhappy with the governor's cavalier response to their concerns earlier in the week that he'd rather play baseball than meet with advocates concerned about education cuts. The governor's office says the group's timing was off.

How crazy has "Ballgate" gotten? The governor's spokeswoman Kim Genardo said McCrory was just following Michelle Obama's advice to get some exercise. Then the governor, who apparently has no qualms about throwing gas on a fire, referenced the controversy — and threw a baseball around — in a video were he wished NC State and UNC's baseball teams good luck in the College World Series. Read David Morrison of The Greensboro News & Record's "review."

IN OTHER NEWS: The day after The N&O reported that NC DOT was pulling funding from Raleigh's planned train hub, state transportation secretary Tony Tata said the move wasn't political and he was still committed to funding Union Station.

Meanwhile Gov. Pat McCrory's new plan for spreading transportation dollars across the state passed the Senate. Full story.

A bill that lets illegal immigrants get driver's licenses gives immigrants' advocates some of what that want but also grants sweeping power to law enforcement. Full story.

The UNC Board of Governors is again debating whether to allow more out-of-state students at North Carolina's public universities. Full story.


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Adding more out-of-state students at public universities?

Adding more out-of-state students?

Do the public universities make money off out-of-state students or do out-of-state students use NC taxpayer dollars.

What I mean to say, will more out-of-state students mean more whining about budget cuts or less whining?

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