budget

North Carolina Legislator Profile Update: Rep. John Sauls (R-Harnett & Lee)

Rep. John Sauls is a Republican preacher representing House District 51. He served two terms from 2003-2006 and then retired, claiming to expand his congregation. However Sauls then retired from leading his congregation, handing over the pulpit to his higher-energy son, only to run for the NC House again in 2016. Since 2016 Sauls has served without distinction, sponsoring very few bills and missing many votes due to absences. He recently published Facebook ads listing the wrong district number and is known for being absent from floor votes and committee meetings. However, the votes he has been present for continue the Republican trend of prioritizing corporations and millionaires over the people in their districts.

Read on for more about Sauls’ record.

Photo: The Sanford Herald
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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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Opinion: When your governing philosophy becomes a political liability

Republican leaders in Raleigh have taken unprecedented steps to pass this year’s budget behind closed doors. They will likely finish that up Friday, and they don’t plan to do much else this session so they can get back to fundraising from lobbyists and glad-handing in their districts. It is clear they have been forced to limit the amount of time they spend doing the jobs they were elected to do because Republican priorities have proven so deeply unpopular that even members once in safely gerrymandered districts face real challengers.

Seven years ago, shortly after historic wins brought Republicans into control of both chambers of the legislature for the first time in a decade, Thom Tillis, then the newly elected House Speaker laid out their agenda in a candid moment caught on camera. Tillis said that their philosophy was one to “divide and conquer” North Carolinians. Nearly a decade into Republican control we can see Tillis’s philosophy has been implemented with almost surgical precision.

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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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14 S P O O K Y things the Republican-led NCGA has done

It was (probably) midnight, and hiding under the cover of a racial gerrymander, the Republican-led General Assembly passed laws that hurt the people of North Carolina…

Thankfully, the good witches (and wizards) of the court struck down 14 of those such laws that as unconstitutional, restoring some order to the spooky state.

Not to be foiled again, Republicans began an attack on the courts, at the same time opposing a court-appointed special master who would remedy the racial gerrymander after refusing to submit names for consideration. 

At Real Facts we hope this scary tale will come to an end soon, but before it does, see if you can read all the way through these 14 frights: 

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North Carolina legislator profile: Senator Phil Berger (R – Rockingham)

Over the next several months Real Facts NC will release a series of reports on key North Carolina legislators and how their work impacts the people in their districts. In the first of the series we’ll take a look at the man claimed by many to be the most powerful individual in state government, Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger.

Berger has represented Rockingham County since 2001 and became minority leader in 2004 and Senate President Pro Tem, the leader of the Senate, in 2011. While Berger has succeeded in Raleigh enacting his conservative agenda, Rockingham county has seen more than its fair share of setbacks in recent years. 

Read below a summary of how while Phil Berger has gotten ahead in Raleigh, Rockingham has fallen behind. Find the full report: here.

(Dwane Powell, The News & Observer)

 

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No oversight, no science, no problem: Republicans want to spend $1.8 million "crisis pregnancy centers"

The Republican budget would increase state funding to pseudoscience crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) by 516%. These organizations masquerade as providers of health services to women, pushing dangerous and misleading propaganda on those seeking care. It’s also notable that this significant increase in public funding comes with no mechanism to hold these organizations accountable for their actions.

The compromise budget would allocate $1.3 million to the Carolina Pregnancy Care Fellowship which describes itself as “life affirming ministries”. Additionally, the Republican budget has allocated $100,000 to Coastal Pregnancy Center and $450,000 to H.E.L.P. Center, both are known CPCs.

The Republicans have even planned to give $300,000 in state funds to a Texas-based anti-abortion group that exists to outlaw all abortions. The Human Coalition deploys internet marketing strategies to ‘make abortion unthinkable and unavailable’ by directing patients to CPCs rather than legitimate healthcare facilities, some of which are ran by the Human Coalition themselves.

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Unconstitutional GOP majority proposes budget—our first take

This unconstitutionally elected Republican majority continues to legislate, not on behalf of the people of North Carolina, but on behalf of their billionaire backers. Instead of protecting the middle class and building world-class public schools, this budget gives tax breaks to billionaires. Under this budget, North Carolina will keep falling behind when it doesn’t have to.

  • The Republican budget fails our schools, middle class families, and the future of our economy at a time when we do not have to.
  • Cooper found a way to raise teacher pay more than 5% next year. Republicans only offer 3.3%. Instead of investing in classrooms, Republicans are giving millions in tax breaks to billionaires.
  • Cooper offered free community college for high school graduates, money to help teachers pay for out-of-pocket expenses, and eliminated the waitlist for pre-K. Republicans did none of those things.
  • Under this budget, we are still spending less that we did before the recession per student, teachers are still underpaid, and we have seven thousand fewer teaching assistants than we did in 2008.
  • Instead of prioritizing education, Republicans are undercutting our kids and it’s our economy that will suffer as North Carolina falls farther and farther behind other states and competitors like China and India. 

In addition to education, the GOP budget fails to provide for critical areas of need for rural North Carolina - including broadband and economic development..

  • Governor Cooper's budget invests $20 million to expand access to broadband and improve the economy of rural North Carolina, while the Republican budget would spend $250,000 on state IT bureaucrats.
  • Cooper proposed $30 million for a ready-sites program to attract new jobs to rural areas. The Republican budget leaves rural areas behind, choosing to spend only $2 million on ready-sites.

The GOP budget also wastes money on projects of the extreme right:

  • The Republican budget spends $1.3 million on an anti-abortion advocacy group that masquerades as a provider of health services to women, pushing dangerous and misleading propaganda on vulnerable women.
  • The GOP spends $40 million on private school vouchers which send tax dollars to unaccountable private and religious schools.

 

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While Republicans haggle over minor budget differences, neither offers “real competition” to the Cooper plan

Though there are several key sticking points between House and Senate versions of the budget that need to be negotiated, neither version holds a candle to the Cooper plan. As the Raleigh News & Observer said, Cooper’s budget offers a “better vision” for North Carolina.

Benefits for state retirees

The Senate budget provides no cost-of-living adjustment for retired state employees, and the House version includes only a one-time bonus of 1.6 percent.  When House Democrats tried to increase the cost-of-living adjustment for state retirees with an annual adjustment of 2 percent, Speaker Moore successfully tabled the amendment. With the House “adamant” to include the retiree bonus in the final budget, cost of living adjustments might become a sticking point between chambers.

Wind farm moratorium

The wind farm moratorium could be a deal breaker as the House might not have enough votes to override a Cooper veto if the final budget contains a moratorium. The Senate’s version of the budget includes a three-year moratorium on wind farms. Several key members of the House, including Rep. Bob Steinburg, said they could not support a budget with a wind energy moratorium. 

School construction grants

The chambers do not agree on the greatest needs in education funding. The Senate’s budget included a $75 million fund that would help pay for school repair and construction in poor counties. The House directs more money toward financial aid for college students and K-12 buses instead.

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House Budget: First Take

The House's budget posted just after 10:30pm this evening. You can find the bill text here and the committee report here.  We'll have more on the House budget by tomorrow.

Key Points

  • A budget tells you a lot about someone’s values and the House budget makes it obvious that Republicans in Raleigh value tax giveaways for billionaires over investing in our future.
  • The House budget fails to match Gov. Cooper’s concrete plan to raise teacher pay to the national average, make community college tuition free for high school graduates, expand access to broadband, and give law enforcement real tools to fight the opioid crisis.
  • Just like the Senate, the House budget pales in comparison to Gov. Cooper’s proposed plan.

 

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