Local Politics

Progressives push legislators to maintain programs, consider taxes

Posted January 25, 2011
Updated January 26, 2011

As Republicans prepared to take control of the entire state legislature for the first time in more than a century, progressives gathered outside the legislature Tuesday, calling on the new leaders to preserve public policy they say moves North Carolina forward.

“We must say that we will never go back,” urged state NAACP chief Rev. William Barber. “North Carolina must not take one step backward from the progress we’ve made in education, health care, civil rights and social justice.”

Barber laid out the 14-point agenda of Historic Thousands on Jones St., a coalition of progressive groups. “We demand educational equality, good jobs, workers rights and equal protection under the law,” he said, citing the redistricting fight in Wake County schools as an example of what he believes is at stake.

Exonerated convict Darryl Hunt spoke in support of the Racial Justice Act, a likely target of conservative lawmakers. “There have been two studies done by Michigan State and the University of Colorado that prove that race does matter when it comes to sentencing people in North Carolina,” Hunt said. “If you don’t believe in the Racial Justice Act, then you don’t believe in justice.”

Democracy NC Director Bob Hall spoke out against a new proposal to require photo ID for voters. It’s likely to be one of the first bills of the new session. “It is unbelievable and shameful that apparently the Republican majority, at a time when we have a budget crisis, wants to spend millions of dollars to put in place new barriers for people to vote.”

NC Justice Center’s Jeff Shaw called on leaders to reconsider raising or extending taxes to help cover the state’s projected $3.7 billion shortfall. He said balancing the budget through cuts alone would cost tens of thousands of jobs, and would gut services like education and mental health care. “It would have a devastating and disproportionate impact on poor and minority communities,” Shaw added.

“It’s unwise to throw tools out of the toolbox before you start working on a problem,” Shaw said. “We call on our leaders to use every tool in the toolbox to fix our state budget and to fund those vital public services.”

If lawmakers were to renew the temporary sales and income taxes set to expire in June, they’d bring in about $1.4 billion dollars to help close the gap. But both incoming Speaker Thom Tillis and incoming Pro Tem Phil Berger say they won’t consider that option. Berger believes the state doesn’t need more revenue – it just needs to spend less. He says that’s why voters put the GOP in charge.

Gov. Bev Perdue said in December she was also looking to cut, rather than raise or extend taxes. But Tuesday, she said she hadn’t ruled the latter out. “I don’t know what I’m gonna do, quite frankly. I know where my priorities are,” Perdue said. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to be the one that shuts down public education in North Carolina.”


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  • smokeyqtr Jan 27, 2011

    Progressives need to get out of my pocket! The government is not the answer to all. At some point in time folks need to suck it up and do for themselves. There are some truely needy out here in this world and I would help in a minute and do, but that's my choice not the governments. I have to show my Id somewhere at least 5-6 times a week. Now it's a problem with progessives to show an ID to vote. OH PLEASE. Gov. Perdue is the the most wishy-washy "leader" I have ever seen. CUT taxes don't cut taxes, depending on what is popular at the time. Darn Bev stand up so I can make a decision at the poles myself. I am so dizzy from all this spinning from both sides of the aisle. I got to go lay down.

  • ifcdirector Jan 27, 2011

    Who writes these headlines? Progressives? How is increasing present levels of alredy over the top taxation constitute a progressive proposal? Try liberal WRAL. L.I.B.E.R.A.L. You can do this if you really try.

  • Mugu Jan 27, 2011

    You say pro life, I say anti choice.

  • babedan Jan 26, 2011

    godnessgracious you don't get a better society by allowing people to get something for nothing. The only way you make society better is by making people earn their way, when you earn something it gives you pride and you work hard to make sure others don't take it away. If you just give it to someone why should they care how they got it, they have no pride, no incentive and no responsibility for themselves. You want a better society, cut the social programs make people earn what they get and our society will improve.

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Jan 26, 2011

    "Also, lets not forget which party has been hijacked by folks who are anti birth control and anti-abortion under all circumstances."

    You say "abortion" I say "baby killer".

  • Keepin_it_real_in_NC Jan 26, 2011

    Come on WRAL...your bias is showing. They are not progressive, they are LIBERALS. Sheesh, everyone knows you are the propaganda arm of the DNC, but you can at least pretend to be fair and balanced.

  • godnessgracious Jan 26, 2011

    Maybe in some cases but it sure doesn't help when 70% of the babies born to a particular group don't have an in-home daddy. That is a personal choice not made by others.

    Also, lets not forget which party has been hijacked by folks who are anti birth control and anti-abortion under all circumstances.

  • godnessgracious Jan 26, 2011

    But you're ticked off about mortgage interest tax deduction because, well, you don't own a house?

    Do you not see your own hypocrisy here? Finding fault with those that have earned more is not the answer here.

    I never said I was ticked off at the Mortgage tax credit I was simply debunking the assertion that rich people don't get handouts sometimes. So no I don't see my hypocrisy. I never said the middle class does not utilize this program either. But with this particular program the bigger your house the bigger your handout. of course they will have to pay prop taxes so its a wash for the gov't. You people seem to think that I am the tax collector if I argue for the existence of tax. The only ways I would benefit is from having a better society to look at. I think we could all benefit from that. even the rich.

  • brassy Jan 26, 2011

    What's wrong with checking IDs at the polls? Oh right, I forgot, illegal aliens don't have driver's licenses!!

  • godnessgracious Jan 26, 2011

    Maybe in some cases but it sure doesn't help when 70% of the babies born to a particular group don't have an in-home daddy. That is a personal choice not made by others.

    so lets take it out on disadvantaged children. Cut their food stamps and welfare checks and other handouts. Walk down that path in your mind and tell me, what happens to the crime rate? You think things are bad now? Can we afford to just let these fatherless children ruin our society? What can we really do here? We could tax the rich and help educate these kids or we can give tax breaks to billionaires and tax breaks to oil companies and see what these kids can make of themselves without help. What are they making of themselves now?