Elon Poll says NC says ‘Tax Me’ — Really?

I find this poll result strange because that’s not what voters around the state – even liberal Orange County voters – have been saying when asked to approve local option 1/4 cent sales tax hikes. Maybe this is a framing thing. Maybe county leaders should have said not having the hike meant cutting jobs.
The General Assembly won’t have to seek the voters approval if they want to raise the sales tax, but it’s hard to see the smaller government crowd signing on to it.
Here’s the data link (pdf).

From the Elon Poll release:

North Carolina State Budget Situation

When told of the state budget shortfall and asked on how they would address it, only 15 percent of respondents were unwilling to increase existing taxes, but a majority of North Carolinians oppose the idea of creating new taxes where none currently exist.

If faced with a tax increase, half the respondents would prefer to increase the sales tax. Twelve percent would prefer an increase in property tax, while 16 percent would prefer an increase in the income tax.

In a separate question, the poll found 62 percent of citizens would support an increase in the sales tax by one cent on every dollar spent.

“These results indicate that North Carolinians are cognizant of the situation facing the state and, apparently in lieu of making things worse for others, are willing to shoulder their share of the budget burden,” said Hunter Bacot, director of the Elon University Poll.

Citizens are also opposed (51 percent) to equal cuts across state programs, as well as eliminating current state employee jobs (56 percent).

Hackney to seek minority leader job

That’s the headline of the press release. Here’s the text:

Rep. Hackney has served as Speaker for the past four years. His tenure will end when the newly elected Republican majority comes into office in January.

“Next year, we must cooperate with the new Republican majority when their direction is good for North Carolina,” Rep. Hackney said. “But we must vigorously oppose them when they seek to move North Carolina in the wrong direction, such as when they act to erode the quality of our public education, or our excellent business climate.”

Rep. Hackney represents Chatham, Orange and Moore counties. Prior to becoming Speaker, he served as House Speaker Pro Tempore, House Democratic Leader and House Majority Leader. He is also the former chairman of numerous legislative committees, including Judiciary I, Finance, Ethics and Environment.

Speaker Hackney is a former president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. In 2007, he received the group’s Excellence in State Legislative Leadership Award, the nation’s top honor for state legislators.

CBO: Unemployment benefits staved off record poverty

So, since as many people have pointed out we know that this is the most efficient way to pump dollars into the economy and since this new CBO study (pdf) states pretty flatly that unemployment insurance has kept a lot of families from falling into poverty, can we just have some shutting the hell up about how it needs to be offset? Get on with it and stop playing games.

From the director’s blog of the non-partisan number crunchers at the CBO:

CBO examined the role of UI benefits in supporting the income of families in which at least one person was unemployed at some point in 2009. The analysis addressed how that role varied with the amount of family income and the number of weeks of unemployment for all family members. CBO also examined how the poverty rate and related indicators of financial hardship would have differed in the absence of the UI program.

Major Findings of the study:

* Almost half of families in which at least one person was unemployed received income from UI in 2009. In 2009, the median contribution of UI benefits to the income of families that received those benefits was $6,000, accounting for 11 percent of their family income that year.
* Both the percentage of families receiving UI benefits and the median annual benefits received by those families over the course of the year were larger for families with more weeks of unemployment than for families with fewer weeks of unemployment.
* In 2009, about 14 percent of families had income below the federal poverty threshold; those families received about 8 percent of total UI benefits paid out during the year. In contrast, 67 percent of families in 2009 had income more than twice the poverty threshold; those families received about 70 percent of total UI benefits. The higher-income families received a larger share of benefits for several reasons: because only people with sufficient recent work histories qualify for benefits, benefit levels rise with previous earnings, and receiving benefits tends to push families into higher income groups.
* Without the financial support provided to families by UI benefits (and under an assumption of no change in employment or other sources of income associated with the absence of that support), the poverty rate and related indicators of financial hardship would have been higher in 2009 than they actually were. For instance, in 2009 the poverty rate was 14.3 percent, whereas without UI benefits and under the assumption mentioned, it would have been 15.4 percent.

So why all the posturing over something that makes so much sense. As some guy who won a Nobel in economics put it during one of the previous tussles over an extension:

The answer is that we’re facing a coalition of the heartless, the clueless and the confused.


Organizing the place

The new majority get’s organized. Via LL on Roger Ailes’ favorite radio network:

North Carolina Republicans have had plenty of time to think about how they would run the state Senate — they haven’t controlled it since just after the Civil War. So perhaps it’s not surprising that Senate Republicans had their leadership plans pretty much ironed out before the official meeting. It took less than 90 minutes to finalize the details.

Let’s see, seating charts, meetings, press conferences and electing the leadership. No sense in measuring the drapes for the new office, ’cause the state can’t afford no new drapes.

The House, as noted is in more flux as to its leadership structure. Stam or Tillis?

Shuler falls a few votes short

Depending on how your politics run, Shuler’s attempt to unseat Nancy Pelosi was either a principled stand, an attempt to send a message or a vainglorious waste of time. Either way, it failed.
In the aftermath Steny says nice things about Shuler and the incoming Minority Leader sets the record straight on what the election was about. Via The Hill:

After her victory, Pelosi forcefully shot down the notion that, by remaining leader, she was ignoring a message for change from the voters.

“The message we received from the American people was that they want a job – they want jobs,” the Speaker said. “Nine-and-a-half percent unemployment is a very tough screen to get through with any other message.”

Shuler discusses run against Pelosi

The loneliness of the long distance blue dog.

Not an awful article, but I hate these 20,000 foot views of politics in the NC. Here’s some textbook insipid:

North Carolina’s curious politics are on full display in Mr. Shuler’s district, which is wedged into the state’s mountainous western corner. It includes the heavily Democratic city of Asheville, home to yoga studios and holistic medicine centers, as well as staunchly conservative hamlets scattered throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains.

You know, because nothing says ‘Democrat’ like a yoga studio.

Meanwhile, Shuler admits he doesn’t have the votes, but said he’d rather vote for himself if given no alternative.
He’s being really modest about it, too.

“I don’t know how I can be any clearer,” Shuler replied. “I can do as good a job as anybody in the U.S. Congress, because I can actually bring people together.”

‘Cause he’s special.