40. Because the Wealthiest North Carolinians Didn’t Need a 29% Income Tax Cut
Over the past five years, Republicans have cut the top income tax rate from 7.75% to 5.5%, a 29 percent cut for the wealthiest North Carolinians, while eliminating the earned-income tax credit (#75) and enacting regressive sales taxes.
39. To Stop the Privatization of Our School System
Over the past seven years, Republicans in the NCGA have taken many steps towards privatizing our school system, including expanding a private school voucher program (in which more than 90% of the schools receiving money were religious schools), funding the rapid growth of charter schools (up 75% since 2010), and requiring mandatory public school takeovers by corporate charters. All of these programs divert resources from traditional public schools, leaving funding for public schools in NC near the worst in the country (#29).
38. To Stop the GOP’s Endless Unconstitutional Legislation
Since gaining supermajorities in both chambers of the NCGA in 2012, Republican lawmakers have passed a continuous stream of unconstitutional legislation, including their monster voter law (#31), racially and partisan gerrymandered congressional and legislative districts (#54), attempts to seize power from the executive branch (#27), and so on. The GOP-controlled legislature’s power grabs have been so extreme that it was even sued by a governor from the majority’s own party in McCrory v. Berger. Exasperatingly, the GOP often benefits from its unconstitutional legislation during the course of the lengthy legal battles required to contest their illegal laws – while taxpayers pay the literal price, footing the bill for tens of millions in legal fees.
37. To Protect Reproductive Choice
Since taking control of the NCGA in 2010, the GOP has passed a long list of restrictions on reproductive choice including severe limits on insurance coverage for abortion (#52), mandatory long waiting periods and restrictions on medication-based abortion (#63). These new laws, along with the fact that 90% of NC counties do not have any facilities that provide abortions, severely limit reproductive choice for many North Carolinians, especially those with limited ability to travel.
36. To Ensure Fair Elections
In the days immediately following Roy Cooper’s election, the GOP-controlled legislature moved to strip the Governor of his authority to appoint a majority on the State Board of Elections – authority that had been in place for nearly 50 years. The NC GOP has passed three different bills with this aim over the past two years, the first two of which were declared unconstitutional, and proposed a Constitutional Amendment for the 2018 ballot, all with the goal of moving authority to appoint election boards from the Governor to the state legislature.
35. To Protect Our Coast
From supporting off-shore drilling (#64), to banning the study of sea-level rise, to overturning a popular local ban on plastic bags in the Outer Banks, to failing to adequately address coastal erosion, the GOP-controlled state legislature has put our coast at risk. This failure to protect our beautiful coast is a tragedy for future generations.
34. To End Extreme Partisan Gerrymandering
In 2011 and again in 2017, NC GOP lawmakers used detailed board of elections data to draw congressional and legislative maps that are among the most politically gerrymandered in the history of the United States. As a result, although NC is roughly evenly divided, Republicans hold a 10-3 advantage in US Congress and supermajorities in both the NC House and NC Senate, allowing the NC GOP to pass extreme and anti-democratic legislation with no concern about the governor’s veto. The only sure way get fair maps in NC is for Democrats to reclaim the majority in at least one chamber of the NCGA for a seat at the table when maps are redrawn following the 2020 Census.
33. To Fully Repeal HB2 and Let NC Cities Write Their Own Labor Laws
In addition to enshrining LGBTQ discrimination in state law, HB2 also restricts municipalities in North Carolina from enacting anti-discrimination policies of any kind, setting a local minimum wage, regulating child labor, or making certain regulations for city workers – in yet another of example of legislative overreach into local affairs by the NC GOP.
32. To Fully Repeal HB2 and End LGBTQ Discrimination
Proposed and signed into law in less than 12 hours, HB2 became widely known for the restrictions on transgender bathroom use that made our state “a pioneer in bigotry”. But its impact is much broader. The bill also bars NC cities and towns from enacting anti-discrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, making it legal for private companies throughout the state to fire anyone because they are gay. Full repeal of HB2 is not enough. We need full legal protection from discrimination for LGBTQ North Carolinians across our state.
31. Because the NC GOP Passed the Most Restrictive Voting Law NC since Jim Crow
In 2013, the GOP-controlled legislature passed the “monster voter law,” which cut early voting by a week, eliminated out-of-precinct voting, and required voters to show specific types of photo ID – restrictions that election board data showed would disproportionately affect African Americans and other minorities. In declaring the law unconstitutional, the Federal Appeals Court called it “the most restrictive voting law North Carolina has seen since the era of Jim Crow” and charged that Republican lawmakers had targeted “African Americans with almost surgical precision.”
30. To Improve the Health of Pregnant Women and Babies
North Carolina ranks #43 in the country in the fraction of women aged 18-44 who have health insurance, so it may not be surprising to learn that NC women get below-average care during pregnancy and that the health of babies born in NC ranks near the bottom in every category, including #41 in low birthweight, #44 in neonatal mortality, and #43 in infant mortality. The NC GOP’s failure to expand Medicaid (#22) and sabotaging of our health care exchange (#77) has contributed greatly to the poor health and mortality of pregnant women and babies in NC.
29. Because NC Shouldn’t Be Anywhere Near the Bottom in Public School Spending
While education spending in other states has rebounded since the recession, the GOP-controlled legislature has failed to increase spending in NC. In 2016, North Carolina’s per pupil school spending was still below 2008 levels and ranked 45th in the country, significantly below much poorer states like South Carolina, Kentucky and Louisiana. According to one recent study (third link), North Carolina’s public schools have dropped from the Top 20 in the county to 40th due largely to insufficient funding.
28. To Decriminalize Marijuana
Despite 80% support by North Carolinians for medicinal use and 45% for recreational use, NC remains one of 20 states that totally restricts the use of marijuana. Democratic bills introduced in the 2017-18 legislative session would decriminalize possession for personal use, but the NC GOP has completely blocked these bills. Given the strong racial bias in the enforcement of drug laws, decriminalizing marijuana would be a major step towards racial justice in NC.
27. To Protect the Separation of Powers
Having created legislative maps that are extremely gerrymandered in its favor, the Republican legislature moved to weaken the executive and judicial branches of government and concentrate more power in the legislative branch. Their power grab has included: attempting to take over the state board of elections (#35), creating new obstacles to the Governor’s appointment power to fill positions in the Executive Branch, forming unconstitutional commissions to manage pollution from coal plants and fracking (#38), redrawing judicial maps (#78), and interfering with judicial elections. We need to protect the basic checks and balances on our state government.
26. To Make Smart Public Investments for a Growing State
Since taking over the NCGA in 2010, Republican legislators have sharply reduced government spending on everything from schools to infrastructure, failing to make the investments necessary for the next generation of North Carolinians. State spending as a fraction of total personal income has declined over 20% since 2008 as a result of continued tax cuts that have largely benefited corporations and the wealthy. It’s time to invest in North Carolina’s future.
25. Because Voter ID Has Nothing to Do with Voter Fraud
The Republican Party has created and promoted a false narrative about widespread voter fraud to stoke fear and galvanize support for voter ID while hiding their true intent: to disenfranchise African-American, poor, and elderly voters. After their 2013 monster voter law (#31) was declared unconstitutional due to the precision with which it targeted African-American voters, the NC GOP placed a Voter ID Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this November. If it passes, North Carolina will join Mississippi as the only states to enshrine this odious form of systematic disenfranchisement in their constitutions.
24. To End NCGA Restrictions on Local Decision Making
Because local governments in North Carolina ultimately get much of their authority from the state, the GOP has been able to use its unchecked power at the state level to intervene in local affairs in myriad ways, placing restrictions on anti-discrimination (#33), minimum-wage (#32), environmental (#35), natural-resource (#42), housing (#49), education, and election laws.
23. To Restore Progressive Taxation
Over the past six years, Republicans have used their supermajorities in the NCGA to sharply cut taxes for the rich at the expense of everyone else. Regressive changes include reducing the corporate tax rate to the lowest in the country (#72), repealing the estate tax (#93), cutting the top income tax rate by almost 30 percent (#40), eliminating the earned income tax credit (#76), and expanding sales taxes to services like car repair that are disproportionately used by the poor. Taken as a whole, the changes have left the total tax bill of low- and middle-income households almost unchanged, while dramatically reducing the taxes paid by the top 1%.
22. For Medicaid Expansion
The failure to expand Medicaid under the ACA is one of the most self-defeating and harmful policies inflicted by the GOP-controlled state legislature on the people of North Carolina. Not only would Medicaid expansion provide health insurance for nearly 500,000 low-income households and their children – saving more than a thousand lives per year – it would also create an additional 35,000 jobs (including a large number of middle- and high-wage jobs in the health care sector) and expand NC’s economy by over $2 billion. The resulting increase in tax revenues would be more than enough to offset the state’s expenses, with the federal government covering 90% of the cost of Medicaid expansion. The lack of insurance coverage for the working poor in NC has greatly exacerbated the opioid crisis (#81), led to higher costs in NC’s health insurance exchange (#77) and contributing to extremely poor outcomes for pregnant women and babies in NC (#30). It’s this simple: expanding Medicaid would save thousands of lives and improve life for millions of North Carolinians.
21. For Transparency in Government
Over the past several years, the GOP-controlled NCGA has increasingly moved to using secretive practices for writing and passing extreme legislation. Bills – most famously HB2 (#33) – are often written behind closed doors and then passed within hours, with no time for public comment or for lawmakers to even read the final bill. In 2018, the entire state budget was written in secret by the GOP and passed without allowing any amendments or debate. It’s time to restore transparency and thoughtful debate and deliberation to the NCGA.