Tag Archives: Pat McCrory

North Carolina Unemployment – January 2014

North Carolina continues to see positive movement in unemployment numbers:

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s unemployment rate continued improving in January to near the national average, falling to 6.7 percent, the state Commerce Department reported Monday.

The report was the latest to contain mixed messages about how well the state’s economy was shaping up for workers and why. While the report found the number of people employed increased by 17,407 between December and January, another survey found nonfarm payrolls recorded 7,200 fewer jobs.

While like to see the unemployment rate go down, we need to acknowledge that we are fighting serious headwinds as related to that number going down due to discouraged workers leaving the job market.  But there might be reason for a positive outlook there too:

The release of the January data was delayed by about a month as researchers revised and updated previous information, an annual process. The results of the revision indicate that the steady drop in North Carolina’s unemployment rate had less to do than previously thought with discouraged workers quitting their struggle to find jobs and no longer being counted, Brod said.

North Carolina Unemployment Benefits: Governor

Pat McCrory

North Carolina Cuts Unemployment Benefits

About a week ago I posted on North Carolina’s unemployment dilemma:

By itself, the news is good news, heck, even GREAT news.  But it rarely is “by itself”:

Economists say the fast drop in the unemployment rate could be because so many people have become discouraged, are giving up on finding a job and are no longer being counted.

The state’s population of working-age adults who are looking for jobs shrank by 111,000 in 2013.

This is, of course, the same phenomenon that nation republicans use to knock Obama.  There the big story is that the national labor force participation rate has plummeted to lows that we haven’t seen in decades.

While the unemployment rate in North Carolina is dropping, there is significant reason to believe that this is due to folks dropping out of the labor force.

Governor McCrory Interview

While the drop in the unemployment rate is largely due to a reduction of folks in the labor force, Governor McCrory has an answer:

While I agree that the rate is subject to the numbers in the work force, the fact that the work force is dropping nationally is important.  I’ll have to go back and dig through the state numbers, but if the labor force participation rate loss didn’t change as a result of the end of benefits, you can’t blame the law.

UI isn’t meant to be a social welfare program – in theory it’s INSURANCE that is meant to carry over an individual for a discreet amount of time.

Teacher Compensation: North Carolina


How Much To Pay A Teacher

I was a teacher.  My dad retired a teacher.  Many friends and family are still teachers.  Further, other than that family, teachers were some of the most influential people in my life  hell, one teacher is largely responsible for the man I am today.

And my kids have teachers.  Lots of ’em.

I. Love. Teachers

So, when asked how much we should pay teachers I come back to this:

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Change In North Carolina Tax Code


North Carolina is undergoing some changes in the way we tax ourselves.  For more than 100 years the state has been dominated by democrats in the senate, house and governor’s mansion.  That changed in 2010 when both the house and senate flipped red but a democrat, Bev Purdue, was still the  governor.

In 2012 Pat McCrory won the governor race and the trifecta is complete; republicans control all three major law making bodies.

It should not be a surprise that this change in leadership is going to bring about changes in laws – tax collection being one of them.  And starting January 1, NC is seeing some changes:

Republicans insist the new tax law will help the state to attract new businesses and create jobs by lowering income tax rates that have been the highest among Southeastern states. They’ve emphasized the new lower flat rate of 5.8 percent for personal income tax — compared to the outgoing three-tiered system of 6, 7 and almost 7.8 percent — and noted more than 40 credits, exemptions and deductions ultimately will expire or be repealed.

The income tax has been reduced; we’ve been one of the highest taxed states in the south for years.  There is some who argue that jobs aren’t impacted by higher or lower income taxes – people go where the work is.  However, there is some calculus for people who are able to control where they live.

Also gone?  Certain exemptions:

Owners of many types of businesses lose a deduction on their first $50,000 of income, while home-related deductions on mortgage interest and property taxes are capped at $20,000 combined. A credit for child care expenses and deductions on certain kinds of pension income are gone.

Also gone – and most likely the most contentious of the list – is the earned-income tax credit:

Also set to expire on Jan. 1 is the earned-income tax credit, which gives payments to some of the working poor even if they owe no taxes. The credit’s elimination means some low-income families might have to pay a small tax bill again.

And my favorite change is the corporate rates:

The corporate tax rate, meanwhile, will decline from 6.9 percent to 6 percent in 2014. Both personal and corporate income tax rates fall further in 2015.

Unlike the income tax, the corporate rate does influence the decisions of businesses to move to North Carolina.  And, for those that are already here, it frees that money for growth and investment.

Generally, an easier and cleaner tax code is better.  Lower taxes, not higher, are better for growth and prosperity.  In general, I like the changes.  And yes, I know that some folks, likely those of lower incomes, are going to pay more than they previously did, however, I think it’s important that we don’t use the tax system as a redistribution machine – I don’t like negative tax rates.


The Right To Assemble

Right to Assemble

The Right To Assemble

One of the core arguments of the libertarian movement, and the Tea Party, is that government interference is damage meant to be minimized.  This is why such groups rightfully are frustrated when liberal government agencies refuse to issue permits to Tea Party groups or charge them for such permits while issuing them for free to like minded groups.


And so it is demonstrated that even as a government has the support of the “less government is good” crowd, it too is subject to power and can over reach in its quest to keep that power:

RALEIGH — The governor’s administration was unable to keep demonstrators off state Capitol grounds on Monday despite an attempt to deny the group a permit to assemble there.

Judge Allen Baddour presided over a Wake County Superior Court hearing on Monday in which he overturned an administrative decision to confine the demonstrators to Halifax Mall, a big grassy area enclosed by state office and legislative buildings.

The hearing was held hours before an evening rally organized by the NAACP state chapter president Rev. William Barber II and others opposed to new policies and laws adopted this summer by the Republican-led General Assembly.

People gather at the Capital all the time – perhaps it’s reasonable to have a permit process.  After all, there may be legal reasons to adjudicate liability in the event of damage or injury.  That aside, the people in The Moral Monday movement are free to assemble and grieve to their government.  To be certain, they are wrong minded and shortsighted, but we are, after all, a free nation.

Governor McCrory – Tests and Pay

Pat McCrory

Pat McCrory and the republican legislature have taken significant heat for their budget and how it impacts education in North Carolina.  However, missed have been two important policies:

Chapel Hill, N.C. — Days after a crowd of angry educators marched on the State Capitol to protest changes to public school spending in the state budget, Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday proposed a fund to reward “master teachers” and cutting the number of standardized tests required in North Carolina classrooms.

Speaking at the North Carolina Chamber’s annual education conference in Chapel Hill, McCrory said business owners repeatedly tell him that they cannot find qualified employees for their job openings. The state needs to do more to prepare students for the workforce, he said.

“When employers are begging for qualified applicants in a state with the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the nation … that tells me we have a disconnect between commerce and education,” he said. “All of us need to come together and eliminate this gap.”

McCrory said he wants to create a $30 million Education Innovation Fund with federal Race to the Top grant money to pay for digital classroom initiatives and trailblazing schools and to reward teachers. Under the program, at least 1,000 teachers selected by their peers statewide would receive $10,000 stipends to implement career- and college-ready standards.

“These master teachers will be working and taking input from their colleagues and will serve as a direct conduit to North Carolina’s educational leaders as to what’s working in our classrooms and what isn’t working and what should be tossed aside,” he said. “(These) teachers will not only be teaching students, they will be schooling us in the most important subject in education – what works actually in the classroom.”

Calling the state’s pay scale for teachers “archaic,” he said the stipends would begin the shift toward rewarding classroom expertise and provide recognition for North Carolina’s top teachers.

The governor also called for cutting “ineffective and burdensome testing” in North Carolina classrooms. The number of mandatory exams in Mecklenburg County, for example, is approaching 200 per year in grades 4-12, he said.

I think it’s irresponsible to take a position that republicans don’t value education in the same way that democrats do, or the left do.  Rather it’s important that reasonable people can be expected to have different methods to the same problem.

Governor Pat McCrory – Compensation

Pat McCrory

The new governor of North Carolina is getting the “how to” from the Left here in Carolina.  Much of the complaining is petty and Occupy’ish.  The normal gnashing of teeth, the “hating” and the “racisting” and the “poor” stuff that always accompanies the Left.

However, there are places where the good gov’na has missteped.  And the right is calling him out too:

Gov. Pat has bent over backwards to defend the DHHS pair by (1) insinuating AGE discrimination by the media and (2) suggesting that the raises and hiring decisions were handled in a very private sector -like manner.  Nonsense.  In this economy, NO ONE in the private sector is handing out raises of that size.  NO PRIVATE SECTOR  EMPLOYER  is handing out that kind of responsibility, those kinds of raises,  or that level of pay to anyone two years out of undergrad.

While this story is embarrassing to Gov. Pat, I don’t think it’s fatal.  The story line gets problematic when you tie it to the spin about “draconian education cuts” and teacher pay.  If you’re not a teacher, you are likely to be related to, or know someone who is — or has been — a public school teacher.  You hear about the bureaucratic garbage teachers have to deal with, and see how many have to work multiple jobs to make ends meet.  Take that information — pile it in with the stories about these two wet-behind-the-ears kids who don’t even have master’s degrees getting RAISES bigger than many teachers make in a year — and your blood pressure can start to rise.

This whole matter illustrates to me just how politically tone-deaf McCrory and his team are.  Education & The Economy are the two top things on the minds of the people out there.

I think the criticism is valid.  Kids straight oughta college really don’t expect to make the kinda cash these guys are; $87,500 and $85,000 respectively.  And to hand out raises to 24 year old kids with little experience during times like this – well, it’s tone deaf in the same way that Obama playing gold so often is tone deaf.

On Not Reading Bill

I resonate with the frustration expressed by opponents of specific legislation when that bill is signed into law, or voted for, without having been read.

Here in the only TRUE Carolina, our Governor responded to specific question on a bill handed to him that he had yet to read that bill or that aspect of the bill.

Here, Moral Monday is taking him to task:

For the record, here I agree with the folks who are moral on Mondays.  However, I do not respect their outrage or cries of injustice.  They were no where to be heard as elected official after elected official admitted to not having read Obamacare.

Who can forget, “We have to pass this bill to see what’s in it.”

NC Governor 9th Most Conservative Republican Governor

Pat McCrory

It turns out that our new republican governor, Pat McCrory, is fairly conservative:

Gov. Pat McCrory is among the nation’s more conservative Republican governors, according to Nate Silver, the political blogger and prognosticator for The New York Times.

In an article about the nation’s 30 Republican governors, Silver attempts to measure them on their conservatism – no easy task since they don’t have a voting record like members of Congress do. But Silver measures them based on public statements, the identity of their donors, and where applicable, their congressional voting record.

He rates McCrory as the ninth most conservative Republican. He is more conservative than Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Ohio Gov John Kasich, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, among others.

To McCrory’s right are Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and Idaho Gov. Butch Otter.

I surprised by some of the names.  For example, I would have thought that Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal would have been to his right.  Same for Kasich and Rick Scott.  On the other side, I would have guessed McDonnell, Branstad and maybe Pence to be more liberal.

Not sure what it means, especially since McCrory has only been in office for less than 4 months, but….Nate says so.

North Carolina Medicaid Reform


The new governor of North Carolina is out reform how Medicaid is paid for in the state:

 RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina’s $13 billion Medicaid program needs a big dose of private competition that will come from paying a handful of statewide managed-care providers to deliver medical, mental, and dental care to the elderly and disabled for a stable cost, Gov. Pat McCrory said Wednesday.

McCrory and state Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos unveiled a proposal that would largely privatize management of Medicaid while keeping ultimate responsibility in state hands.

McCrory said reshaping Medicaid was the first and most pressing long-term task his three-month-old administration was tackling.

The problem today is that the program continually runs over budget and programs that had money allocated to them have to be adjusted to accommodate the overrun.

The idea is to remove the risk from the state and give it to the private sector in exchange for the chance to earn profits in the space.