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UPDATED REPORT: NC Legislature Races to Watch 2018

With Democrats in 170 legislative seats, Republicans in 169, and even Libertarians filing in 35 legislative districts, 2018 is shaping up to be one of the most pivotal legislative elections in North Carolina history. And with no race on the ballot above Supreme Court, these elections will get more attention than ever before.

This report combines an analysis of district voting data, national and state polling plus qualitative factors like local issues and relative candidate strength. In total, we think that 35 House races and 13 Senate races are shaping up to have competitive campaigns run by both of the major parties in districts that could conceivably go to either. We have also identified a handful of other races worth keeping an eye on for other reasons.

We’ll look at the 35 House races and 13 Senate races we think will be the most competitive in the fall and a handfull of other races we think will be interesting to watch for other reasons. Read the House report here and the Senate report here

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UPDATED: S75 is a Millionaires Protection Act

Making the Middle Class Tax Shift Permanent 

S75 – The “Millionaires Protection Act” is meant to make Republican Politicians radical tax shift from those at the top to working families permanent 

The “Millionaires Protection Act” would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that locks in income tax rates that largely benefit the wealthy – over the last four years the average millionaire saved almost $15,000, while the average family saved only $6 (that’s SIX dollars) a year from the tax changes enacted by Republican politicians. 

  • While the income tax change may sound like a good deal, Raleigh politicians will look for other ways to raise taxes, and they’ll be left with sales taxes and fees that take a bigger bite out of the pockets of working families. What might seem saved in your paycheck you’ll more than pay back at the cash register.
  • How do we know they’ll raise sales taxes and fees – because that’s what they’ve been doing! Over the last three years Republicans have enacted three tax hikes on working families through news sales and service taxes and fees meaning you pay more to send a kid to college, put gas in your car and get it repaired, and even to keep the lights on at your home. 

In order to lock in these huge tax cuts for millionaires, Republican politicians will also be locking in current education funding that is lower per student than it was before the recession and causes North Carolina to be ranked 45th for teachers in the country.

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Video: “The horror:” N.C. Republicans again show they’re out of touch with the reality of teaching in N.C.

During discussion of the 2018 Republican budget, Rep. Dana Bumgardner (R-Gaston) used the example of his father, a teacher and principal in the 1950s, to explain how easy teachers have it in 2018.

“When my dad taught back in the 1950s he got paid for nine months a year” Rep. Bumgardner said, “and in the summer he would go get a job and work, the horror.”

“The horror” 

N.C. has the third highest number of teachers working second jobs outside of the school system.

According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics compiled by EdNCover half of all North Carolina teachers have a second job. Though the data doesn’t clarify whether those jobs are specifically held over the summer, it is pretty apparent that teachers in 2018 are working just as hard as Rep. Bumgardner’s father did to make ends meet.

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Video: Chris Malone can't face North Carolina's rallying teachers, sends intern to answer the tough questions about low teacher pay

Tens of thousands of teachers from across the state rallied in Raleigh on the first day of session to protest lack of funding for education. Teachers packed the legislative building and the gallery of House and Senate Chambers to confront their legislators about what is actually happening in classrooms around the state. After the House and Session senate quickly adjourned, teachers remained in the legislative building to seek out their representatives. While Democratic legislators largely stayed to speak to constituents, Republicans were nowhere to be found.

Instead, inside Republican legislative offices printed on large poster board in color ink (which many teachers across the state could not afford to print at the own schools for their students) were “Teacher Pay Facts” signs. The only problem—the teachers present claimed they had seen none of that money.

Outside of former Wake County School Board Member and current House member Chris Malone’s (R-Wake) office, teachers gathered at an open door hoping to find a legislator to speak with.

Chris Malone could not face North Carolina’s teachers and instead opted to send his intern to answer questions about one of the most pressing issues in the state. Hopefully next time the North Carolina citizens who pay his salary travel to make their voices heard, Malone can give them a few minutes of his time.

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The State of Public Education in NC: What you should know

The state of public education in North Carolina has yet to improve following rollbacks caused by the recession of 2008. Since coming to power in 2010, Republicans have made policy changes that have further eroded North Carolina’s public education system:

Teacher pay in North Carolina has not increased in any meaningful way over the past several years.

  •  As of 2018, North Carolina’s teachers have an average salary $9,600 less than the national average.
  • This puts North Carolina at 37th in the nation for average teacher pay—16 spots lower than the 2001-2002 school year.

Per pupil spending has remained consistently low while Republicans in the General Assembly have prioritized tax cuts for corporations.

  • According to an annual report released by the National Education Association, North Carolina ranks 39th in the nation in per-pupil spending this year
  • North Carolina now spends around $2,400 less per-pupil than the national average per-pupil

Cuts to school supplies are passed on to teachers and parents:

  • Teachers spend between $500 and $1,000 out-of-pocket on classroom supplies,
  • The average family with elementary-age children pays $650 per child on school supplies.
  • The average family with middle schoolers spend $1,000 per child on school supplies.
  • The average family with high school students spends $1,500 per child.

In North Carolina, the achievement gap between wealthy and low-income students widened more than any other state between 2011 and 2014.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Linda Johnson (R-Carbarrus)

In this Real Facts Legislator Profile, we focus on Representative Linda Johnson, the Republican from District 83. One of the “top budget-writers”, Johnson serves as a chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and the House K-12 Education Committee. Before being elected…

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Larry Yarborough (R-Person/Granville)

In this Real Facts Legislator Profile, we focus on Representative Larry Yarborough, the Republican from House District 2. Before joining the General Assembly in 2014, Yarborough was a County Commissioner in Person County.

Yarborough has a degree in chemical engineering and was the primary sponsor of H56, a bill that provided GenX funding and was tied to the repeal of the plastic bag ban in the Outer Banks.

Yarborough has consistently voted for more tax cuts over public education. He voted for the 2017 Republican budget that continue the trend of cutting taxes rather than raising per pupil spending and the 2016 and 2015 budgets that let education spending in NC fall even further behind.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Dennis Riddell (R-Alamance)

This installment of Real Facts NC’s legislator profile series focuses on Representative Dennis Riddell, a Republican from Snow Camp, N.C., in Alamance County. Riddell was first elected to the NC House in 2012, and is now in his third term having run unopposed in 2014 and 2016. Riddell’s bid for the House was hardly his first foray into the #ncpol scene. Riddell served as the Alamance County GOP Chair and was active with the Koch-funded NC Citizens for a Sound Economy in the early 2000s.

Riddell spends his time in the General Assembly continuing to advance the Koch's national conservative agenda. He supported corporate tax cuts at the expense of students and teachers, even afterpromising ABSS Board of Education members he would stop the NCGA from cutting TA positions. Riddell supports deregulation in favor of big businesses over protecting clean soil, air, and water for North Carolinians. Read more on him here

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New report highlights that North Carolina public education is falling further behind the rest of the country

The National Education Association released its annual report Monday. It highlights that, despite political talking points, North Carolina continues to rank near the bottom of teacher pay and per pupil spending when compared to the rest of the country.

  • Revised 2017 teacher pay ranking dropped NC to 39th in the nation. 
  • Average NC teacher salary for 2017-18 is $9,600 less than the national average
  • Per student spending for 2018 saw no change in ranking from 2017, still over $2,400 below national average

 

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