Under the Dome

Dome: Americans for Prosperity ready to spend to promote new tax code

April 16, 2013 

Americans for Prosperity will spend $500,000 on a campaign to promote a new state tax code, the organization announced Tuesday.

AFP, a political advocacy group founded by the Koch brothers, has been prominent in issues advertising on the state and national levels. In North Carolina, it ran an ad campaign supporting the legislative Republicans’ budget.

Legislators have not presented a specific tax proposal, but they’ve discussed taxing more services such as hair cuts and lawyers’ fees, while eliminating or reducing corporate and personal income taxes.

AFP has spent about $500,000 in Indiana on a campaign supporting tax code restructuring, said AFP national president Tim Phillips, who was in Raleigh on Tuesday.

“One of our goals is to let legislators know they will have someone who will have their back if they just do the right thing,” Phillips said.

The ads will run in specific districts and identify legislators by name. In a later phase of the campaign, AFP will run ads in national and international publications promoting the state, said Dallas Woodhouse, AFP state director.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who spoke at the news conference, said he had not talked in detail with AFP about more extensive participation in its campaign, but said he would be willing to participate in its community meetings and appear in ads.

College students need money

Presidents and chancellors of most of North Carolina’s 11 historically black colleges and universities said in a meeting in Washington with Sen. Kay Hagan Tuesday morning that their schools are in danger of losing students because so many of the young people have run out of money.

Chancellor Donald Reaves of Winston-Salem State University told Hagan that the school lost about a 750 students this year. Of those, more than 600 were academically eligible. Two hundred of those who left were seniors. But they were short of funds – by an average of $2,700, Reaves said.

These students exhausted their Pell grants, the main federal scholarship for low-income students, and student loans, Reaves said. “These students simply ran out of options.”

Reaves and fellow leaders of the HBCUs were meeting with Hagan and later with Sen. Richard Burr at the U.S. Capitol to talk about the challenges their institutions face.

Chancellor Willie J. Gilchrist of Elizabeth City State University said all of the schools have students who can’t afford to stay in school. When Hagan asked what she could do at the federal level to help, he said that federal work-study dollars were important to give students jobs.

Hagan said the problem of college affordability continues to worsen and noted that unemployment is still 18 percent in parts of northeastern North Carolina.

“For some of our low-income families, there are so many hurdles,” she said. “We’ve got to encourage our students to get an education.”

Holding sent to funeral

U.S. Rep. George Holding will attend the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at the request of House Speaker John Boehner.

Holding and Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., flew to London on Tuesday.

Holding, a Raleigh Republican, said in a statement: “Baroness Thatcher was a woman of conviction and strength, a champion of freedom and conservative principles. … The world has lost a great leader, and I am very honored to be a part of the congressional delegation that will offer heartfelt condolences on behalf of the House of Representatives and the American people.”

Staff writers Lynn Bonner, Mary Cornatzer and Renee Schoof of McClatchy’s Washington Bureau

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