Lobbyists attend legislative hearings and committee meetings
to ensure their clients’ interests are protected. Some are trying to avoid
regulation, some are trying to avoid fees or being taxed, some are advising on
compliance with new laws and some are just trying to get more money. And all
of those clients pay a pretty penny for lobbying services.
What if taxpayers were paying for lobbying services - services that would advocate for more
taxpayer money to be used for more and bigger government, which would require –
more taxpayer money?
Well, you are. McGuire Woods, lobbyists and silk stocking law firm (employer of former Governor Mike Easley and other former high power government
operatives, including .Ruffin Poole and Franklin Freeman) has eight of their best and brightest lobbying the legislature for
Smart Start. Also known as NC Partnership for Children is classified as a non-profit but is generously funded
with state government money. This week, the McGuire Woods folks were busy trying to convince
lawmakers to restore a $15M cut in the Senate budget, even though taxpayer’s
will still be paying $183 M for this child care subsidy program.
As the budget discussion continues, keep in mind that your
tax money is hard at work – paying for lobbyists to get more money to fund more
Although heavily debated, North Carolinians have
traditionally celebrated “Mec Deck Day” on May 20. According to legend (and the
North Carolina state flag and state seal), more than 25 prominent citizens of Mecklenburg
County signed the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence on May 20, 1775,
preceding the Declaration of Independence by more than a year.
May 20 is also significant date in North Carolina history
because 149 years ago today North Carolina seceded from the Union. The date of
secession is no coincidence, North Carolinians deliberately chose May 20 to
announce their secession as a symbolic nod towards the North Carolinian “right to revolution.” For more on North
Carolina secession and more information on the Tar Heel state during the Civil
War, visit the North Carolina History Project.
Playing off the assumption that Harry Reid is going to get his backside handed to him on a silver platter this November, The Washington Postdevotes quite a few inches of column space to floating this nightmarish, disturbing, odious, and cringe-inducing suggestion for a replacement: Chuck "Chucky" Schumer.
During his three-decade legislative career, Schumer, 59, has developed a reputation as a razor-elbowed, shamelessly self-serving, media-addicted political monster. He is also arguably the single most effective lawmaker of his generation.
Now, with confidant Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) hanging on to his seat by a thread, the Brooklynite is nearing the goal line of his long game. Succeeding Reid would make Schumer the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in American history and, more important for the uber-competitive politician, the first among peers.
Schumer has thrust himself into the center of issues ranging from jobs to immigration to Supreme Court hearings, but as that momentum has carried him into a more intimate arena where popularity matters, the grating architect of the current Democratic majority has become noticeably more collegial. Perhaps not coincidentally, his colleagues see him as the front-runner to be their leader.
Republicans didn't want to use the Hunt-held device money for just any ordinary school buses.
Republican Senators wanted the money to go to Triad-based Thomas Built Buses, Inc. Who would not be on board with using the money to purchase the new Saf-T-Liner® C2 and ever reliable Saf-T-Liner® EF and Saf-T-Liner® HDX models?
Leave it to Republicans to make this an argument about economic development, rather than the possible Jim Hunt connection to the handheld device software company, Wireless Generation.
Terry Stoops' latest research exposes flaws in the criticism that North Carolina's public charter schools are not racially or ethnically diverse. State law mandates that charter school operators fill slots with a colorblind lottery, thus limiting any efforts to pursue racial or ethnic diversity.
I'm guessing it won't be the great GOP year many expect.
According to polls by the Civitas Institute and just about everyone else, Republicans are in a dead heat with Democrats this year. Voters hate ObamaCare and are ready for change. But you need to live the change you talk about, and so far Republicans haven't done that.
This isn't just about the national GOP blowing three races, including this past Tuesday's election to replace the late, corrupt, John Murtha.
Here in North Carolina, three Senate Republicans voted for the anti-freedom $19 billion budget. Instead of going after the profligate spending, $1.6 billion in on-time federal money, the flat-out earmarked pork for RTI International (though the budget writers couldn't even get the name right) and Wireless Generation, or the continued refusal to consider low-cost alternatives for the state health plan, the Senate GOP complains about what the Senate did not spend on school buses.
Senate lawmakers give final approval to a $19 billion budget today — and it might include monetary candy for a company with ties to former Gov. Jim Hunt.
Hunt is chairman of the board of advisers for Wireless Generation, a hardware/software company headquartered in New York. It contracts with the Department of Public Instruction to implement reading software for the federal Reading First program.
More recently, DPI contracted with Wireless Generation in December 2009 to provide support for schools participating in a pilot program created by the state that encourages teachers to use diagnostic technology to help students learn.
The Senate budget proposal devotes another $15 million to the pilot program. Gov. Bev Perdue’s original budget would have allocated a whopping $39 million to the program. If passed, the new funds might go to Wireless Generation for the hand-held devices.
Yesterday on the Senate floor, Republicans tried to pass an amendment that would have diverted the $15 million to fund school buses rather than the pilot program. It failed on a party line 20-29 vote.
It’s not clear whether Wireless Generation compensates Hunt, who is the longest serving governor in state history. The company’s website lists 14 other advisers aside from the former governor.
The latest Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Sarah Okeson's report on the management fees collected by a San Diego firm connected to North Carolina's state pension fund and former state Treasurer Richard Moore.
John Hood's Daily Journal assesses the wisdom of cutting millions of dollars in state Medicaid spending on in-home "personal care services."