Under the Dome

Dome: Young Dems mount effort against GOP tax plan

May 29, 2013 

North Carolina’s Young Democrats are mounting a concerted effort against the Republican tax plan in the Senate.

The group launched a web ad Wednesday and a website, nctaxhike.com, to brand the Senate’s plan. It cites studies from the N.C. Justice Center, a group opposed to the plan, saying it will lead to a tax hike for middle class families. The web ad, titled “No Appetite,” features a Charlotte family carrying groceries from the car to the kitchen to highlight the potential increase in the food tax. The Senate plan would apply the state sales tax to groceries more than a decade after lawmakers repealed it.

“We launched NCTaxHike.com to combat the Republican effort to shove ‘Tax Reform’ down the throats of working- and middle- class North Carolinians,” Sam Spencer, president of Young Democrats of North Carolina, said in a statement.

The group also commissioned questions in a recent Public Policy Poll about taxes. It found little support for GOP lawmakers’ efforts to rewrite the tax code. Spencer said the group had a cheap convention last year and used the extra money to focus on the tax campaign.

Meanwhile, Americans for Prosperity has launched a TV ad in support of the tax plan. The 30-second spot is largely devoid of the details, but describes “a new day” in North Carolina politics and urges viewers to “encourage our new leaders to keep going.” It doesn’t note that the GOP leaders of the House and Senate are far apart on the effort.

Dallas Woodhouse, the AFP’s state director, declined to provide additional details on the TV buy for the ad, titled “Back in the Game.” But he said it is appearing on cable channels across the state and on some broadcast channels.

AFP has promised to put $500,000 into supporting the plan.

Ross casts final vote

Rep. Deborah Ross on Wednesday cast her final vote in the state House – in support of the deal to extend the Dorothea Dix negotiations. Several House members, Republican and Democrat, rose to send her off with praise

The six-term Raleigh Democrat doesn’t officially leave office until Saturday. She will be replaced by former Rep. Grier Martin, whom Wake County Democrats elected to the District 34 seat Tuesday night.

House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes recalled the first time he met Ross. She had come to his office to talk about his bill strengthening penalties for the death of unborn children.

“This lady walked in and said, ‘I’m Deborah Ross, and I’m from the ACLU,’ and I thought, ‘Oh, Lord,’ ” he said. “I had always heard of the ACLU. I never realized the ACLU wore a skirt and had a pretty face.”

Starnes said Ross worked with him to salvage a bill that wouldn’t have cleared the Senate. “We are friends, but we don’t agree on very many issues,” he said.

Ross offered some advice for freshman and sophomore legislators by noting that power has changed hands several times in the House since she’s been around.

“This institution is only good when we work together and we make this institution a better place, and we respect each other, because power is going to shift and people are going to leave,” Ross said.

SBI doesn’t want to move

Add one more agency opposed to the Senate’s proposal to move the State Bureau of Investigation from the attorney general to the Department of Public Safety: the SBI.

Dome, spotting Director Greg McLeod in the statehouse Wednesday, asked whether he could take a public position on the move.

“We’re opposed to it,” he said, noting that the police chiefs’ and sheriffs’ associations, prosecutors and Gov. Pat McCrory also are on record against the move.

Berry happy where she is

State Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry told an Associated Press reporter she will pass on a chance to run for Kay Hagan’s U.S. Senate seat next year because she does not want to leave the state and loves her job.

Berry said many people had asked her to consider challenging Hagan, but even more want her to stay where she is. The Catawba County Republican is in her fourth term.

Berry is one of several Republicans who’ve been considering whether to challenge the Democratic Hagan.

Burr building up PAC

Sen. Richard Burr will hold a fundraiser this weekend on the Outer Banks, the Sunlight Foundation reports.

The Winston-Salem Republican is building up the war chest of his leadership PAC for the 2014 election cycle. Burr uses the money to contribute to other Republican candidates.

The fundraiser for the Next Century Fund will be Friday and Saturday. The cost of attending: $3,000 for political action committees, and $2,000 for individuals.

Staff writers John Frank, Rob Christensen, Lynn Bonner

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