Under the Dome

Dome: $20.6 billion budget clears NC Senate

From Staff ReportsMay 23, 2013 

The state Senate took the final vote on its $20.6 billion budget Thursday, passing it along party lines.

But not before both sides got a chance to fire a few shots at each other.

“This really is about the No. 1 priority that you have for the state – to give a big tax cut to a few wealthy people,” said Sen. Martin Nesbitt, an Asheville Democrat.

Sen. Jerry Tillman, an Archdale Republican, countered by saying Democrats imposed sales tax increases paid by the poor. Those tax increases would still be around if Republicans hadn’t eliminated them, Tillman said.

Republicans will “cut taxes and put in back in taxpayers’ pockets so they can plan where to spend it,” he said.

The plan now moves to the House for consideration. Lawmakers there are sure to be lobbied by groups concerned by various provisions.

Already a group of manufacturers are asking Gov. Pat McCrory and the legislature to restore funding to the state’s recycling office and Solid Waste Trust Fund.

The manufacturers said the cut may save money but would “result in serious blows to the manufacturing base of tomorrow.”

“It’s easy to understand that recycling saves trees and landfill space,” the industry said in a statement. “But recycling is as much about the economy as it is the environment. The modern manufacturing base depends on today’s recyclables to make tomorrow’s consumer goods, and in turn creates something else the economy sorely needs: jobs.”

This year, 43 North Carolina companies will receive a total of $1.1 million in grant money through ENR’s Recycling Business Assistance Center. The agency anticipates those grants will create more than 240 jobs and generate $22.9 million in new capital investment. The proposed state budget would stop those investments.

Trooper dines with governor

State Trooper Michael Potts, wounded in a shooting during a traffic stop in Durham earlier this year, has taken the governor up on that promise of a steak and lobster dinner at the mansion.

The private dinner with Potts and his family was scheduled for early Thursday evening, according to the schedule Gov. Pat McCrory’s office put out Thursday morning.

Potts was shot in the face, shoulder and both hands when he pulled over a car. A Vermont man was later arrested and is in jail.

McCrory announced at the end of March that he had invited the Potts family to dinner to thank him for his service. McCrory visited the trooper in the hospital the night he was wounded.

Matalin teams with PETA

Republican political pundit Mary Matalin has made a video for – are you ready? – PETA.

“You may be wondering what a meat-eating conservative Republican like me is doing in a PETA video,” Matalin says in the three-minute piece.

Well, yes, we are.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is sending the video to lawmakers in states considering so-called “ag-gag” bills, which are aimed at preventing undercover whistleblowers from exposing inhumane conditions. In North Carolina, Sen. Brent Jackson – a Republican farmer representing parts of Johnston, Duplin and Sampson counties – introduced SB648, which appears dead for the session.

Regardless, the video is being sent to North Carolina legislators. Similar bills have cropped up in other states, without much success, according to PETA.

Matalin’s video shows graphically violent clips of animal abuse.

Staff writers Lynn Bonner, Rob Christensen and Craig Jarvis

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