The Locker Room

July 22, 2009

Health care reform: now it's personal

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 11:15 PM

In his opening remarks tonight President Obama said, "[T]he reform we're proposing...will limit the amount your insurance company can force you to pay for your medical costs out of your own pocket."

I don't know about you, but my insurance company gave me the option to pay more of my medical costs out of my own pocket so I can have a lower premium, just like I do with car insurance.

The president says his proposal is not about him, but it is about me and tens of millions of people like me who will be forced into more expensive private insurance options, onto a public plan, or fined for not having insurance. Thousands in Massachusetts have already been told their insurance doesn't count anymore. People in Florida are likely going to learn the same thing as their own insurance exchange begins operations.

Arizona's healthcare freedom act is a model the federal government and every other state legislature should examine before they take away our unalienable right to life.

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Annexation reform is just a Moonwalk

Posted by Becki Gray at 4:52 PM

The annexation reform bill, HB 524 is finally only on the House floor today. With such a tightly written title, it is virtually impossible to amend the bill without changing the title (which is prohibited), but Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, tries.

The Dollar amendment increases the time to a year that is allowed to gather the signatures on a petition to hold a referendum for a vote. The amendment passes, 76-37.

The debate on the bill includes thanks around to those who have worked for real reform, including Rep. Larry Brown, R-Forsyth, and Rep. Bruce Goforth, D-Buncombe. Supporters of this bill claim it is wide and sweeping change.  JLF blogs and a good Hood column have discussed the problems with the bill. Some members explain that they don't like the bill, but they say it's better than nothing and they're willing to accept it as a small step toward reform. 

Rep. Kelly Alexander, D-Mecklenburg, says it "looks like democracy, but it's not." He compares it to the Michael Jackson dance step — the moonwalk — that looks like you're moving forward, when you're actually moving backward.  He says he's not going to Moonwalk.

The vote on the bill is 89-27. The third reading (final House) vote is tomorrow.

 

(11:30am - July 23). update: Recorded votes on Dollar Amendment and Second Reading

Vote on Dollar Amendment - PASSED (76-37)

Voting YES:        

Democrats:
Braxton(D-Lenoir); Brisson(D-Bladen); Bryant(D-Nash); Coates(D-Rowan); Cole(D-Rockingham); England(D-Rutherford); Faison(D-Orange); Floyd,E.(D-Cumberland); Gill(D-Wake); Glazier(D-Cumberland); Goforth(D-Buncombe); Harrell(D-Wake); Harrison(D-Guilford); Hill(D-Columbus); Holliman(D-Davidson); Hughes(D-New Hanover); Jeffus(D-Guilford); Jones(D-Guilford); Lucas(D-Cumberland); Pierce(D-Scotland); Stewart(D-Nash); Sutton(D-Robeson); Tolson(D-Edgecombe); Warren, R.(D-Alexander); Whilden(D-Buncombe); Womble(D-Forsyth); Yongue(D-Scotland)    

Republicans:
Avila(R-Wake); Barnhart(R-Cabarrus); Blackwell(R-Burke); Blackwood(R-Union); Blust(R-Guilford); Boles(R-Moore); Brown(R-Forsyth); Brubaker(R-Randolph); Burr(R-Stanly); Burris-Floyd(R-Gaston); Cleveland(R-Onslow); Current(R-Gaston); Daughtry(R-Johnston); Dockham(R-Davidson); Dollar(R-Wake); Folwell(R-Forsyth); Frye(R-Mitchell); Gillespie(R-McDowell); Grady(R-Onslow); Guice(R-Transylvania); Gulley(R-Mecklenburg); Hilton(R-Catawba); Holloway(R-Stokes); Howard(R-Davie); Hurley(R-Randolph); Iler(R-Brunswick); Ingle(R-Alamance); Johnson(R-Cabarrus); Justice(R-Pender); Justus(R-Henderson); Langdon(R-Johnston); Lewis(R-Harnett); McComas(R-New Hanover); McCormick(R-Iredell); McElraft(R-Carteret); McGee(R-Forsyth); Mills(R-Iredell); Moore(R-Cleveland); Neumann(R-Gaston); Randleman(R-Wilkes); Rhyne; Sager(R-Wayne); Stam(R-Wake); Starnes(R-Caldwell); Steen(R-Rowan); Stevens(R-Surry); Tillis(R-Mecklenburg); West(R-Cherokee); Wiley(R-Guilford)


Voting NO:       

Democrats:
Adams(D-Guilford); Alexander, K.(D-Mecklenburg); Alexander, M.(D-Mecklenburg); Allen(D-Franklin); Bell(D-Sampson); Bordsen(D-Alamance); Carney(D-Mecklenburg); Cotham(D-Mecklenburg); Dickson(D-Cumberland); Earle(D-Mecklenburg); Farmer-Butterfield(D-Wilson); Fisher(D-Buncombe); Gibson(D-Anson); Goodwin(D-Richmond); Hall(D-Durham); Jackson(D-Wake); Love(D-Lee); Luebke(D-Durham); Mackey(D-Mecklenburg); Martin(D-Wake); McLawhorn(D-Pitt); Mobley(D-Hertford); Owens(D-Pasquotank); Parmon(D-Forsyth); Rapp(D-Madison); Ross(D-Wake); Spear(D-Washington); Tarleton(D-Watauga); Tucker(D-Duplin); Underhill(D-Craven); Wainwright(D-Craven); Warren, E.(D-Pitt); Weiss(D-Wake); Wilkins(D-Person); Williams(D-Beaufort)    

Republicans:
Killian(R-Mecklenburg); Samuelson(R-Mecklenburg)

Not Voting: Crawford(D-Granville); Michaux(D-Durham), Setzer(R-Catawba)
Absent: Haire(D-Jackson); Insko(D-Orange); Wray(D-Northampton)
 

Vote on Second Reading - PASSED (89-27)

Voting YES:        
Democrats:
Adams(D-Guilford); Braxton(D-Lenoir); Bryant(D-Nash); Coates(D-Rowan); Cole(D-Rockingham); Crawford(D-Granville); Dickson(D-Cumberland); England(D-Rutherford); Faison(D-Orange); Floyd,E.(D-Cumberland); Gibson(D-Anson); Gill(D-Wake); Glazier(D-Cumberland); Goforth(D-Buncombe); Harrell(D-Wake); Harrison(D-Guilford); Hill(D-Columbus); Holliman(D-Davidson); Hughes(D-New Hanover); Jeffus(D-Guilford); Jones(D-Guilford); Lucas(D-Cumberland); Luebke(D-Durham); McLawhorn(D-Pitt); Michaux(D-Durham), Pierce(D-Scotland); Rapp(D-Madison); Stewart(D-Nash); Sutton(D-Robeson); Tolson(D-Edgecombe); Underhill(D-Craven); Warren, E.(D-Pitt); Warren, R.(D-Alexander); Weiss(D-Wake); Whilden(D-Buncombe); Womble(D-Forsyth); Yongue(D-Scotland)    

Republicans:
Avila(R-Wake); Barnhart(R-Cabarrus); Blackwell(R-Burke); Blackwood(R-Union); Blust(R-Guilford); Boles(R-Moore); Brown(R-Forsyth); Brubaker(R-Randolph); Burr(R-Stanly); Burris-Floyd(R-Gaston); Cleveland(R-Onslow); Current(R-Gaston); Daughtry(R-Johnston); Dockham(R-Davidson); Dollar(R-Wake); Folwell(R-Forsyth); Frye(R-Mitchell); Gillespie(R-McDowell); Grady(R-Onslow); Guice(R-Transylvania); Gulley(R-Mecklenburg); Hilton(R-Catawba); Holloway(R-Stokes); Howard(R-Davie); Hurley(R-Randolph); Iler(R-Brunswick); Ingle(R-Alamance); Johnson(R-Cabarrus); Justice(R-Pender); Justus(R-Henderson); Killian(R-Mecklenburg); Langdon(R-Johnston); Lewis(R-Harnett); McComas(R-New Hanover); McCormick(R-Iredell); McElraft(R-Carteret); McGee(R-Forsyth); Mills(R-Iredell); Moore(R-Cleveland); Neumann(R-Gaston); Randleman(R-Wilkes); Rhyne; Sager(R-Wayne); Samuelson(R-Mecklenburg); Setzer(R-Catawba); Stam(R-Wake); Starnes(R-Caldwell); Steen(R-Rowan); Stevens(R-Surry); Tillis(R-Mecklenburg); West(R-Cherokee); Wiley(R-Guilford)


Voting NO:       

Democrats:
Alexander, K.(D-Mecklenburg); Alexander, M.(D-Mecklenburg); Allen(D-Franklin); Bell(D-Sampson); Bordsen(D-Alamance); Brisson(D-Bladen); Carney(D-Mecklenburg); Cotham(D-Mecklenburg); Earle(D-Mecklenburg); Farmer-Butterfield(D-Wilson); Fisher(D-Buncombe); Goodwin(D-Richmond); Hall(D-Durham); Jackson(D-Wake); Love(D-Lee); Mackey(D-Mecklenburg); Martin(D-Wake); Mobley(D-Hertford); Owens(D-Pasquotank); Parmon(D-Forsyth); Ross(D-Wake); Spear(D-Washington); Tarleton(D-Watauga); Tucker(D-Duplin); Wainwright(D-Craven); Wilkins(D-Person); Williams(D-Beaufort)    

Republicans: none

Absent: Haire(D-Jackson); Insko(D-Orange); Wray(D-Northampton)
 

 

 

Linkable Entry

Energy/Electricity/Clean Smokestacks, oh my!

Posted by Becki Gray at 3:23 PM

The House takes up Senate Bill, 1004, Amend Certain Electricity Generation Laws. Another one of those bills resulting from the massive 2007 renewable energy Senate Bill 3.

Rep Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) proposes an amendment to the first part of the bill and Progress energy's compliance with the Clean Smokestacks Act regarding scrubbing requirements of coal fired plants can be met better with conversion to a natural gas plant. 

Rep Pryor Gibson (D-Anson) asks if this will expedite compliance with clean air requirements. Refers to SB 3, and says this is an excellent amendment.

Amendment passes 117-0.

Harrison explains the part of the bill that deals with financing utilities to convert to renewable energy. The third part of the bill eliminates an exemption for coal ash ponds regulations. Hopes to find more regulations later.

Vote on the bill is 117-0. Goes back to the Senate.

The House takes a recess until 3:40. When they return, they'll take up the annexation reform bill.

Linkable Entry

Education CEO retires from DPI

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 3:21 PM

William Harrison will continue to be chair of the State Board of Education, but he is CEO no more.

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"Free Market Warrior" kicked out of Concord Mills

Posted by Alex Pitsinos at 2:25 PM

Starting in August, a kiosk selling bumper stickers and posters of a political nature will not be allowed to continue operations at Concord Mills. The kiosk chain named "Free Market Warrior" sells items critical of government intrusion and President Obama in particular. A letter to the editor by Jennifer Ibanez published in the Charlotte Observer brought attention to the kiosk. She accuses the political messages at the kiosk as being supportive of "racism, sexism and even slavery."

WCNC's report, linked above, notes that Concord Mills' owner is a noted contributer to Obama and Democratic causes. I have only seen a few images of the products sold at Free Market Warrior, but none of them seemed to be the slightest bit racist, sexist, or pro-slavery.

Mall management has decided not to renew the kiosk's lease. The kiosk's owner proposed another solution: let a leftist store move in and sell competing products. Loren Spivack, the owner, thinks he is waging a battle of ideas. Unfortunately, his opponents seek to silence his ideas rather than debate them.

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More taxpayer money to be doled out to film companies

Posted by Becki Gray at 2:01 PM

The House Commerce meets today and considers SB 943, Expand Film Credit, which increases the tax credit to film companies from 15 percent to 25 percent.

All committee members have the recent JLF spotlight, Not the Best of Both Worlds, which explains why an increase in the tax credit is a bad idea. There is no evidence that the tax credits have even helped the film industry -- they will cost the taxpayer $74.5 million and the jobs "created" by film production are short term with 39 percent of wages going to out of state residents. 

State agency, the North Carolina Film office distributes an info sheet claiming the tax credit won't cost anything for two years (since it's a rebate). Is a deferred waste of taxpayers money better than an immediate waste of money? The sheet has maps and graphs showing what other states do and include warnings that we have to increase the giveaways to stay competitive. 

Of note: Nine states (Nevada, N Dakota, S Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Vermont and New Hampshire) offer no film incentives. California offers a 20-25 percent incentive.

Bill sponsor, Sen. Linda Garrou (D-Forsyth) (takes a break from her duties as Senate approps chair) explains the bill and nods to Rep Danny McComas (R-New Hanover) and Sen Julia Boseman (D-New Hanover) who have sponsored similar bills to benefit the Wilmington area. Garrou says the credit will create 4,000 jobs. McComas says this will help "Hollywood East" and benefits the journeymen. Says we just lost a Nicholas Sparks movie to Savannah. Rep Sandra Hughes (D-New Hanover) says our people are skilled and need to have the jobs here.  Incentive is needed, it's economic strategy. They have a special effects tank, large costume collections, and skilled workers. Only thing missing is the incentives.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Safo says this is about jobs in a clean industry. Can only be competitive if tax credits are at 25 percent. 

Rep Becky Carney (D-Mecklenburg) likes incentives. Says it's a good idea to "Step out now in these economic times to keep jobs for arts students here."

Rep Ray Rapp asks about their estimates of jobs produced. The Dept of Commerce rep says they prepared the numbers after asking companies that had left if the incentives had any effect. Looked at full time equivalent jobs.

Rep Marilyn Avila (R-Wake) asks for figures of growth since 2000 rather than starting in 2005 to see the real growth and the impact of the 15 percent credit before we consider increasing it. McComas says we need to decide if we are commited to growing the industry or not.

Rep Hugh Blackwell, R Burke, asks if they have done a similar study of how many industries have left because of the incentives? Why are we doing this only for film industry? Why not expand to all other industries?

Garrou makes the comment that the film industry is a "clean" industry and "does not require the building of schools". Which would seem to underline the point that these jobs are short term and go mostly to out of state residents who are raising their families elsewhere.

Commerce Secretary, Keith Crisco, in response to Blackwell's questions says it is very complicated and we should not be looking for a broad tax credit for all industries.

By a voice vote, the bill passes the House Commerce Committee.

 

Linkable Entry

Budget growth

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 12:59 AM

Our honorable legislators seem set to vote as early as Monday on a budget for the fiscal year that includes a $750 million sales tax hike and other unknown new taxes and fees. (Can they even spell transparency?) They argue that state government needs the money, but they are taking it from people whose income has grown less rapidly than the state's. From 2005 through 2008, per capita personal income grew 7.9 percent after adjusting for inflation. The General Fund budget, what the state takes directly from taxpayers and spends on things other than transportation, grew 11.8 percent on a per capita basis, again adjusting for inflation. So state spending over the time period grew 50 percent faster than personal incomes. Now you know why they want a tax hike.

updated to clarify

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Why are we in a recession?

Posted by George Leef at 12:06 AM

According to the propagandists for our leviathan state, it isn't due to any political mistakes, but just the awful greed of some capitalist pigs. If most people believe that, the state can actually take advantage of the crisis and expand further, just as Rahm Emanuel wants.

The truth, however, is that the crisis is due to nothing but politics, as Professor Steven Horwitz explains in this video of his recent talk at the Foundation for Economic Education.

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$3.7 million to move 60 miles

Posted by Paul Chesser at 11:37 AM

"North Carolina has never met a targeted tax break it didn't like," as my Heartland Institute colleague Steve Stanek (who has watched these things nationwide for years) said today, but this one has to take the cake (nice quote from Coletti in the article too). From The Charlotte Observer:

Continental Automotive announced Monday that it will expand its plant in Fletcher – just south of Asheville – with 338 jobs averaging $36,179 in wages per year. The facility makes brake calipers, which squeeze the wheel to slow vehicles.

Continental will receive up to $2.2 million in state grants for bringing the positions. Henderson County offered up to $1 million over seven years in tax rebates, and Fletcher added up to $500,000 in the same period.

In May, the company told the state it laid off 90 people at its Morganton anti-lock brake plant after Chrysler filed for bankruptcy.

For a company to move 90 jobs just 60 miles within a state and get $3.7 million for its trouble is beyond absurd. Meanwhile the legislature and the governor are prepared to pass $1 billion in new taxes for the next state budget. Add in the rampant corruption in recent history, how can the Democrats continue to hold power? They keep winning elections, so they will probably find a way.

The phone number for the clowns at the NC Department of Commerce, who approved the state portion of this mess, is here if you want to thank them for their generosity with your money.

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'Hands Off My Health Care' full video

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 11:32 AM

If you enjoyed the highlights, now you can watch the full 1:29:51 video of Americans For Prosperity North Carolina's event by click play below.

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The NO "Joy" of Government Health Care

Posted by Michael Moore at 11:30 AM

Just listen to Barbara Wagner's story.

 

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U.S. Senate to Consider Important Gun Rights Issue

Posted by Daren Bakst at 11:23 AM

The United States Senate is expected to consider an amendment today that would allow individuals with concealed weapons permits in one state to carry their concealed weapons into other states.

From this AP article:

Backers, led by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., say truckers and others with concealed weapons permits should be able to protect themselves when they cross into other states. Opponents say the measure would force states with strict procedures for getting permits to accept permits from states with more lax laws.

It is an interesting issue that brings up questions of state rights in addition to gun rights.

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Re: Master's degrees in education: pretty much a waste of money

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 11:15 AM

Terry,

Good post, but you underestimate the cost of education master's degrees to the taxpayers. This scam also includes the huge taxpayer subsidies to schools of education that are just diploma mills.

The scam goes something like this: Ed schools benefit from the flow of students in to their MA programs. Schools can brag about the number of MAs they have on staff fooling parents into believing that their kids are getting a better education from teachers with MAs. Taxpayers lose because they foot the bill and kids suffer because student achievement does not improve.

Another consequence is that increasingly the ed schools, lacking any meaningful substance to teach, indoctrinate teachers with Marxism. Thus, the MA degree teacher becomes a more effective teacher of Marxism.

Linkable Entry

Is Republican a dirty word?

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 10:54 AM

Townhall is running a fundraising ad from the Senate Conservative Fund (SCF) founded by Senator Jim DeMint. The fund will support conservative senate candidates in the current election cycle. If you donate $25 to the fund you will receive a copy of DeMint's book, Saving Freedom. Learn more here.

The following paragraph from the letter is instructive. If you want to raise money from conservatives, you better distance yourself from the Republican Party. 

And let me be absolutely clear about something. SCF does not support liberal Republicans and is not affiliated with the Republican Party or any of its campaign committees. SCF only supports conservatives and will support conservative challengers in Republican primaries when it's necessary.

For example:

In Florida, we have endorsed former Speaker of the House Marco Rubio who is running for the GOP nomination against Governor Charlie Crist. Rubio is a bright, articulate, and principled leader who has what it takes to win this important seat for conservatives.


 

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Roll 'em

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 10:41 AM

North Carolina already loses money on its film tax credit. It would lose even more under the proposal in Senate Bill 943 to expand the film credit, as Joe Coletti explains in his new Spotlight report.

Click play below for more from Joe.

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The arrogance of "reinventing" our health care system

Posted by George Leef at 10:40 AM

In this column John Stossel reflects on the sheer arrogance of politicians in thinking that they can reinvent the nation's health care system at all -- much less do so in the short time span they're planning to allow for consideration of the Obamacare bill.

A good historical parallel is the Bolshevik takeover of Russia. The communist zealots who suddenly found themselves in control had the same arrogance that our politicians do. They had no idea about the long-run consequences, but didn't really care. They had an agenda to fulfill and it had to be done immediately!

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Highlights from Tuesday's 'Hands Off My Health Care' event from Americans for Prosperity

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:20 AM

The threat of government-controlled health care drew hundreds of people to a packed RBC Center Arena Club last night, as Americans For Prosperity North Carolina drew attention to the heated health-care reform debate.

Click play below to hear AFP state director Dallas Woodhouse explain why the battle over health care is a personal fight for all of us.

Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory explained why now is the time to address the issue.

Dr. C.L. Gray of the group Physicians for Reform discussed the benefits of giving patients a larger role in their health-care choices.

Former mayor and New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Steve Lonegan, who is legally blind, became a self-made millionaire after ignoring government advice that he make his livelihood from Social Security disability benefits.

Linkable Entry

Master's degrees in education: pretty much a waste of money

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 07:42 AM

On Monday, the Center on Reinventing Public Education and the Center for American Progress released Separation of Degrees: State-By-State Analysis of Teacher Compensation for Master’s Degrees. The authors concluded,

On average, master’s degrees in education bear no relation to student achievement. Master’s degrees in math and science have been linked to improved student achievement in those subjects, but 90 percent of teachers’ master’s degrees are in education programs — a notoriously unfocused and process-dominated course of study.
In North Carolina, a teacher with a master's degree receives an additional $4,417 in annual salary compared to a bachelor's degree level teacher. The state spends over $140 million a year (or $97 per student) to fund a master's degree bump that typically does little to increase student achievement.

Linkable Entry

The N&O headline says it all

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 07:05 AM

Pick up today's newspaper, and the first thing that's likely to catch your eye is:

The new plan: more taxes for all

Why do we need "more taxes for all"? Look to the left of that headline, and you'll read this paragraph:

An efficiency expert finds too may supervisors, bloated costs and a hobbling bureaucracy. The findings will go to a task force. Actual changes could take years.

That paragraph is tied to a blurb about a story describing UNC's administration, but it could apply to much of state government.

What's the alternative to "more taxes for all." Joe Coletti has some ideas.

Linkable Entry

Today's Carolina Journal Online features

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 06:54 AM

Today's Carolina Journal Online exclusive features Sam Hieb's report on Guilford County leaders' deliberations about the fate of an abandoned elementary school.

John Hood's Daily Journal explores the differences between those who advocate for limited government and those who seek more expansive roles for government.

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