The Occupy Raleigh folks have put out a request on their FB page asking for input on their demands. That may be a little surprising to those of you who spend months developing such things before hitting the streets. Well, welcome to 21st Century organizing. This is, quite rightly, an outrage first/ figure the rest out later kind of movement. But since media people will be probably stuck on the question of what the protesters are asking for, it might be nice to have a few things spelled out.
In the spirit of Nick Kristof’s piece in the NYT, I’d like to offer a few North Carolina-centric demands. My two cents as follows:
1. Members of the General Assembly should refrain from ever using jobless benefit extensions for political leverage.
This was one of the saddest moments I’ve seen in decades of watching the NCGA. The extension was a formality that cost the state nothing. It was a true insult to the people who needed them and inflicted hardships on tens of thousands of Tar Heel families for pure political sport. Since so many legislators these days like pledges, how about one saying they’ll never pull this kind of stunt again?
2. Jump start the economy
There are public works projects waiting to go in all 100 counties. There are school principals who know exactly who they’d hire back if they had the money. The state needs some counter cyclical spending. Austerity does not create economic growth, but the NCGA seems determined to learn that lesson the hard way.
3. No fracking
4. No disenfranchisement
Demand that the House and Senate leaders pull the Voter ID bill and promise not to bring it up again. Ever.
5. Vigorous pursuit of Wall Street Fraud
Demand that NC go after the money it lost in pensions and elsewhere and the money lost by its citizens due to abusive practices in financial markets.
6. Greater representation on state boards and commissions
The dozens of governing boards and commissions in this state are stacked with industry representatives and big campaign donors. For starters, the student representatives on the UNC Board of Governors and the UNC system schools’ Board of Trustees should have full voting rights.
7. Combined reporting and tougher corporate tax enforcement
This last one is the least sexy of the bunch, but it’s every bit as important. In the past session the state loosened tax enforcement on corporations and, once again, the General Assembly failed to pass combine reporting, letting hundreds of millions in revenues slip away.