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Vocal protesters greet returning state lawmakers

Posted May 16, 2012

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— North Carolina lawmakers returning to Raleigh Wednesday morning for a budget-adjustment work session were greeted by a loud group of protesters directly in front of the Legislative Building on West Jones Street. 

Sporting pots and pans, protesters from the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations did their best to cook up some noise to greet returning lawmakers. 

The General Assembly's main job for the roughly six-week "short session" is to change parts of the second year of the two-year budget approved last year.

Republicans, who took control of the Legislature after the 2010 elections, insist the final product of House and Senate negotiators won't include the higher temporary sales tax that Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue proposed last week.

If neither Republicans nor Perdue blink on the issue of taxes, there's a good chance of a showdown similar to last year, when Perdue vetoed the budget bill. 

According to AFL-CIO member MaryBe McMillan, the group protested Wednesday in attempt to bring issues like voting rights, unemployment benefits, healthcare, education and the budget to light. 

"We don't think there should be a cuts-only approach to this budget," McMillan said. "We need to make sure that those who can pay their fair share do. That means the very wealthy 1 percent and corporations."

Conservative advocacy group Americans For Prosperity also protested Wednesday, with protesters holding billboards and wearing earplugs. Protesters at GA May 16, 2012 Protestors cook up noise in front of General Assembly

"We want lawmakers to drown out the calls from the left to constantly raise taxes," said Dallas Woodhouse. "Really, what these people want is a $1 billion tax increase. They want the sales tax increase. They have an insatiable appetite for taxpayer money."

McMillan said the earplugs were fitting because she said the General Assembly has spent too much time not listening to its consituents.

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU May 17, 2012

    @computer trainer, there are several neighborhoods in Durham who have email lists that they have setup for themselves. The combined membership is several thousand. Giving away a baby crib? post it on the email list. Looking to borrow a lawn mower or need a good plumber? ...you get the idea.

    On these email lists, neighbors also post upcoming events, such as this protest, bake sales, home tours, etc. An email notification about this protest was posted a week before the event and went to at least 1500 people (probably triple this). This was posted by neighbors and not anyone associated with BOE.

    If you look at the map WRAL has posted, you can see the percentages of Yes/No votes on Amendment One by county. Durham voted ~80% against discrimination and a big government theft of freedom and liberty.

  • pbjbeach May 17, 2012

    I appreciate that finally the afl an the cio have finally gotten into the fight for a change it is about time for them to assist the workers an most especially the public sector employees as that these current repbulicans legisture members have all but kill an outright destroyed any form of workers protections with regards to dismissals without real cause of state employees we need collective bargining rights in this state an to do away with the right to work state status in this state an to allow for unions to be allowed to be organized in this state as it has been in other states across this country for years.this is the only option that these current republican legisture have left open to state employees for the current nc associations that supposley respresent the state employee acorss this state in the pbulic sector has been one abysmal failure in doing so in my own personal opinion thank you

  • sillywabbitthepatriot May 17, 2012

    Raising taxes is tolerable as long as you aren't wasting the proceeds on worthless investements to pay back your campaign financiers and entitlement voters.

  • YippiYiyoKiYay May 17, 2012

    Once upon a time, unions actually looked out for the rights of the worker. What happened?

  • miseem May 17, 2012

    And that was the posters point, they served their original purpose long ago. Nancy
    Sort of like those dikes and levees. Get them put up and you never have to worry about them or protect and maintain them. There is no such thing as erosion and other forces trying to knock down what you built for protection. Right?

  • muggs May 16, 2012

    piene2, As a business did you get impacted by the economy or just retire,just wondering what has happened to all these businesses that are no more.

  • WRALSUCKS May 16, 2012

    Looks like about 15 people.

    Probably half are from out of state.

  • muggs May 16, 2012

    gotsomesense, May have to research them abit more,never really did,once Palins face showed up I just figured I could never find any common ground with a media seeking,mother of a disfunctional family and one that had used every means to gain popularity as I still think she did by using the Tea party.

  • muggs May 16, 2012

    Unions are in their own way another political party,with the Teamsters being the head of that party,when union negotiations take place without the backing of the Teamsters some of these unions are left with very little fight,but bring on big brother and things usually end up in that unions favor,has always been that way,they have now and will continue to be a major player in politics,only now have learned to be more tactful in their approach.

  • Nancy May 16, 2012

    "Yes, it was a lot better before those evil unions came into being. "

    And that was the posters point, they served their original purpose long ago. Now federal and state regulations protect the workers. The unions are just not serving a purpose other than to negotiate pay and benefits. All the while collecting dues and using them to fund their choice of candidates.

    And if you think that is a good reason for unions to exist, that's your opinion.

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