March 15, 2016

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Latest News, North Carolina

DGA Statement on Roy Cooper’s Primary Victory

DGA Statement on Roy Cooper’s Primary Victory

Today, the Democratic Governors Association issued the following statement on Attorney General Roy Cooper securing the Democratic nomination in North Carolina’s gubernatorial race:

“Congratulations to Attorney General Roy Cooper on his primary victory in North Carolina,” said DGA Executive Director Elisabeth Pearson. “Roy Cooper is a proven leader with a record of fighting for North Carolina consumers and families against powerful special interests. As governor, he’ll focus on creating good-paying jobs, investing in North Carolina’s schools, and strengthening the middle class.

“Attorney General Cooper enters the general election in a strong position to unseat unpopular Republican Governor Pat McCrory. Cooper has won four statewide elections, and holds the record for the most votes ever in North Carolina history. Meanwhile, Governor McCrory has faced 2 years of upside-down approval ratings and has been outraised by Cooper for 3 filing periods in a row.

“It’s no wonder Pat McCrory is the most vulnerable incumbent governor in the country in 2016. Governor McCrory raised sales taxes on middle-class families and underfunded schools, while breaking his promises on women’s health and drawing 2 federal ethics investigations into his administration. Put simply, Governor McCrory’s administration has been a failure for middle-class families. North Carolina voters are ready for a change.”

BACKGROUND

  • McCrory’s Budget Shifts the Tax Burden to the Middle Class. According to the News & Observer, “The new state budget signed into law Friday includes about $400 million in income tax cuts, which will be offset by new sales taxes on repair, installation and maintenance services. Whether this year’s budget will save you money or tax you more depends on how much you make, and how much money you spend on the newly taxable services. The income tax cuts are relatively modest for low-income taxpayers: About $50 or less for households with less than $30,000 a year in income. But because those families owe about $500 or less in state taxes, the cut amounts to about 10 percent of their tax burden, according to projections from the legislature’s nonpartisan research staff. Taxpayers receiving a $50 cut won’t benefit from the lower rate if they spend more than $750 on repair, maintenance or installation fees during that calendar year. The 6.75 percent sales tax rate in many counties will increase the cost of a $750 repair to $800. […] Households making more than $95,000 a year would get an average tax cut of $476, according to legislative projections. As long as they don’t spend more than $7,000 on taxable services, they’ll see a net benefit from the tax changes.” [News & Observer, 9/19/15]
    • Editorial: “Many Who Have Found jobs Are Underemployed, Recent Tax Cuts Have Favored the Wealthy and Big Corporations and Public Schools Are Underfunded.”According to a News & Observer editorial, “And what about the Carolina Comeback? Yes, the state’s unemployment rate has dropped to 5.7 percent from the 8.7 rate when McCrory took office in January 2013, but 37 other states still have lower rates than North Carolina. In arguing for a second term, McCrory is going to have to make more of a case than claiming credit for an economic rebound that for many North Carolinians isn’t as great as the governor seems to think it is. Many who have found jobs are underemployed, recent tax cuts have favored the wealthy and big corporations and public schools are underfunded.” [News & Observer editorial, 12/2/15]
  • News & Observer Editorial Noted Significant Ethical Missteps in McCrory’s First Term. According to a News & Observer editorial, “When the Observer’s editorial board endorsed Pat McCrory for governor in 2012, we said that we liked his long track record as a hard-working Charlotte mayor who avoided ethical missteps. We can’t say the same about his ethics record as a first-term governor. He has faced accusations of mishandling his ethics forms – a charge he answered Wednesday by saying the state ethics commission cleared him of wrongdoing. Other questions remain. A federal grand jury is probing plum contracts former Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos issued to well-connected individuals. McCrory doggedly supported her to the end. And then there was the time he says he was not told that one of his appointees to the state elections board had been inappropriately pressuring staff for details on an investigation that involved donations to McCrory’s campaign.” [News & Observer editorial, 11/4/15]
  • WRAL: Abortion Law Breaks McCrory Promise. According to WRAL, “During an Oct. 24, 2012, debate, WRAL News reporter Laura Leslie asked soon-to-be Gov. Pat McCrory the following: ‘If you are elected governor, what further restrictions on abortion would you agree to sign?’ McCrory’s one-word reply: ‘None.’ So when McCrory signed a package of changes to the state’s abortion laws Monday, did he break that campaign pledge? McCrory makes the case that the bill does not ‘further restrict’ access to abortion, while advocates suggest that it does. This promise is among those WRAL News has tracked during the governor’s term.  He can certainly lay claim to influencing the course of the bill through the legislature and demanding changes that made the measure somewhat less strict than originally introduced. However, there are still provisions in the measure that would limit the availability of abortion for some women. Given the absolute nature of his promise, by signing Senate Bill 353, he broke that promise.” [WRAL, 7/30/13
  • In 2015 McCrory Signed Legislation Tripling the Wait Time for Women Seeking Abortion Again Breaking his Promise Not to Support Abortion Restrictions. According to WRAL, “Critics are assailing Gov. Pat McCrory’s decision to sign an abortion bill passed Wednesday by lawmakers, saying he is reneging on a promise he made as a candidate not to approve any more restrictions on access to the procedure. House Bill 465 would triple the wait time for a woman seeking an abortion, from 24 to 72 hours after she consults with a physician. McCrory quietly signed the bill into law on Friday. During his 2012 gubernatorial campaign, McCrory replied ‘none’ when asked during a debate what restrictions on abortion he would support. He said this week that House Bill 465 doesn’t break that promise. ‘It takes a phone call to begin that process,’ he said of the waiting period. ‘Frankly, that (is the) process a lot of people use for all medical procedures.’” [WRAL, 6/5/15]
  • Charlotte Observer Headline: I-77 Could Take a Toll on Gov. Pat McCrory.According to the Charlotte Observer, “The warning signs are out on Interstate 77, alerting drivers to changing traffic patterns during the construction of new toll lanes. There are also warning signs for Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who has refused to stop the controversial project. ‘It is the issue in Iredell County,’ says Republican Sen. David Curtis, who represents the southern part of the county. ‘It is the only issue people want to talk about. There’s a tremendous amount of anger and angst. … I predict it’s going to hurt the governor significantly.’ Anger may run even deeper in north Mecklenburg County, where the interstate is an economic lifeline for an ever-growing number of commuters and businesses. The project that spans just 26 miles in two counties could have a far-reaching effect on this year’s election, threatening to cost the governor votes in an area that has been a bastion of support.” [Charlotte Observer, 1/22/16]
  • North Carolina Ranked In The Bottom-10 Nationally on Teacher Pay and Per-Pupil Spending. According to WRAL, “Despite an effort to raise starting salaries, North Carolina is expected to remain in the bottom 10 states nationally in average teacher pay, according to a report released Wednesday. The National Education Association estimates the average salary for a North Carolina public school teacher in the 2014-15 school year at $47,783, which ranks 42nd nationally. In the 2013-14 school year, the state average was $44,990, or 47th nationally, according to the NEA. Gov. Pat McCrory and state lawmakers vowed last year to increase starting salaries for teachers from less than $31,000 to $35,000 by the start of the 2015-16 school year. Part of that increase was included in last year’s state budget, and McCrory two weeks ago rolled out his budget proposal for this year that includes the remainder.” [WRAL, 3/18/15]

 

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