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North Carolina: We won't be bullied by big business hypocrites
By                                                                   

March 10, 2015: Signage outside PayPal's headquarters in San Jose, Calif.

March 10, 2015: Signage outside PayPal's headquarters in San Jose, Calif. (AP)

PayPal, the website known for processing online payments, believes grown men have a constitutional right to use the same bathrooms as little girls.

So when North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory signed a bill that banned people from using bathrooms not assigned to their birth sex, PayPal became enraged and retaliated.

They canceled plans to open a new operations center in Charlotte – a facility that would’ve employed more than 400 workers.

“The new law perpetuates discrimination and it violates the values and principles that are at the core of PayPal’s mission and culture,” CEO Dan Schulman wrote in a memorandum on the company’s website.

That’s what a corporate bully looks like, folks. Conform to the demands of radical cultural militants or pay the price.

“It is corporate blackmail,” Lt. Gov. Dan Forest told me.

But PayPal is not just a big business bully – they are also hypocrites.

“PayPal does business in 25 countries where homosexual behavior is illegal, including five where the penalty is death,” NC Rep. Robert Pittenger wrote on Facebook. “Yet, they object to the North Carolina legislature overturning a misguided ordinance about letting men into the women’s bathroom?”

Yes, they do, congressman.

“Perhaps PayPal would like to try and clarify this seemingly very hypocritical position,” he suggested.

I asked PayPal to explain why they were doing business in countries that slaughter gay people – but they did not return my calls or emails.

“This bill was purely to protect women and children in the bathroom from people who are really bad actors,” Forest told me. “This had nothing to do with the transgender movement. Nobody has ever said that it’s the transgender community that’s going to be causing those problems. Other bad actors will.”

In Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas and Indiana – religious liberty bills have come under attack from a number of Fortune 500 companies – from Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines to UPS and Marriott Hotels.

But the American Family Association says what’s shocking is that all of those companies opposing religious liberty in the name of LGBT rights are operating in countries where gays are facing fines and imprisonment.

“The hypocrisy of the major corporations that threatened a boycott in Georgia or other states in response to Religious Freedom Restoration Acts is astounding,” AFA President Tim Wildmon said. “Many of these same corporations are doing business in Saudi Arabia – a country in which homosexuals are fined, jailed or killed for their lifestyle. Yet where is the action there?”

The sad truth is that many Fortune 500 companies have turned a blind eye to the horrors inflicted on the LGBT community in Middle Eastern countries.

Hollywood’s hypocrisy is just as bad.

Celebrity websites are filled with stories about stars of stage and screen vacationing in exotic locales like the United Arab Emirates – where being gay can be a death sentence.

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres recently rebuked Mississippi for protecting the rights of religious people.

“This is not politics, this is human rights,” she told her television audience.

Last year, Miss DeGeneres partied the night away at the Shangri-La Hotel in Dubai – a city where gays can be thrown in jail for simply sharing a public kiss.

If Miss DeGeneres is so concerned about human rights, why would she spend her money in a nation that would commit such atrocities?

Even family-friendly Disney is guilty of hypocrisy on the LGBT issue.

Georgia lawmakers recently passed a bill that would protect pastors from performing same-sex weddings.

Disney threatened to boycott the state and take their business elsewhere.

Gov. Nathan Deal gave in to the bullies and vetoed the legislation.

Disney was willing to boycott Georgia for protecting Christian pastors – and yet just a few months ago they staged a performance of “Beauty & the Beast” in Dubai.

I asked Disney to explain why they would do business in a country that imprisons gay people – but so far they have not returned my phone calls or emails.

There’s only one way to stand up to corporate bullies – with your pocketbook.

I’m not the kind of person to tell you what to do with your hard-earned money. But as of today, I will no longer drink Coca-Cola products, nor will I mail packages through UPS.

And I’m proud to tell you that PayPal is no longer a pal of mine.

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary, heard on hundreds of radio stations. His latest book is "God Less America: Real Stories From the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values." Follow Todd on Twitter@ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.

Tax reform: No go 

N.C. modernization effort again meets resistance, falls short

Editorial from the Charlotte Observer: This is getting to be a bad habit: A high-profile study commission given the job of studying the state's tax system and recommending ways to meet North Carolina's 21st-century needs has all but folded its tents. Again. Too bad.

The State and Local Fiscal Modernization Study Commission, which counts among its members some of the state's brightest lights, has no plans to meet any time soon -- and no specific recommendations for the upcoming General Assembly. A new way to tax businesses may be on the table, but it's not clear it will even be debated.

When this current tax modernization effort began several years ago, it was with the support of the Institute for Emerging Issues at N.C. State University. The institute developed a helpful computer program so that interested citizens could tinker with both the revenue and spending sides of the state budget. The theory was that gauging how changes in tax policy would affect available revenue to support state services -- or how trimming those services could free up revenue for other uses or for tax cuts -- would promote public support for a tax modernization.

North Carolina needs a revenue system that provides adequate support for state services when the economy retracts as well as when it expands. The state is in a boom-or-bust cycle. The old tax system built on a manufacturing economy that depended on textiles, tobacco and furniture is no longer adequate to fund all the services a still-growing state provides.

Last year the study commission recognized that if sales and income tax bases were broadened, the increased revenue would allow policymakers to cut tax rates sharply. One way might be extending the sales tax model to services. And it concluded that the state must find a way to help pay the share of Medicaid now paid by counties.

The legislature ignored the commission's specific recommendation for how to do that and came up with a complicated swap: in exchange for the state's gradually taking over paying for all the non-federal share of Medicaid, counties would give up a half-cent of the local sales tax that counties and cities share. Counties would get the option of asking voters to approve either a transfer tax on real estate or another quarter-cent on the sales tax.

That was significant. But that was pretty much it for tax reform and fiscal modernization. Other pressing fiscal questions were left for another time, perhaps 2008.

Or not. The commission met in Raleigh last week for a couple of hours before its chairman, Sen. David Hoyle, said he didn't expect the group to reconvene until after the general election Nov. 4. There was not a peep of protest.

Nor was there any surprise. It is, after all, an election year, and legislators have no stomach for a bruising fight over taxes. Every major effort at tax reform in North Carolina for the past decade has ended much this same way: with a lack of enthusiasm and a lack of leadership.

Bush Address Pays Tribute to Armed Forces

WASHINGTON

President Bush paid tribute to America's armed forces Saturday, calling Independence Day a time to thank the men and women who defend freedom.

"For more than two centuries, from the camps of Valley Forge to the mountains of Afghanistan, Americans have served and sacrificed for the principles of our founding," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "Today, a new generation of American patriots is defending our freedom against determined and ruthless enemies."

Bush plans to celebrate July Fourth at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he will have lunch with military personnel. The president will return to the White House Tuesday night to watch fireworks in the nation's capital.

On the holiday, Americans should recall the ideals that the nation's founders outlined in the Declaration of Independence, Bush said. He also encouraged every American to find a way to thank those who defend freedom.

He urged people to help America Supports You, a nationwide program set up by the Defense Department to communicate citizen support to military men and women at home and abroad.

"At this hour, the men and women of our armed forces are facing danger in distant places, carrying out their missions with all the skill and honor we expect of them," Bush said. "And their families are enduring long separations from their loved ones with great courage and dignity."

'Slush fund' was legal, AG says
Raleigh News & Observer

Attorney General Roy Cooper said Monday that legislative leaders did not break the law last year when they placed nearly $14 million in reserve funds within three state agencies and then gave that money to nonprofits and governmental agencies in favored lawmakers' districts.

>> Read more...

Lottery appointments will be powerful positions
Greensboro News & Record

RALEIGH -- The nine-member commission appointed to run North Carolina's lottery will be among the most independent of any such agencies in the country.

>> Read more...

Fletcher says lawsuit addresses legal issues
Winston-Salem Journal

RALEIGH - The Republican candidate for state schools superintendent, who lost a historic election two weeks ago at the General Assembly, said Wednesday that he has no plans to challenge June Atkinson's victory even if his pending court case succeeds.

>> Read more...

Legislative leaders say Dole waiting for Easley to sign tax bill 

He said he believed that officials from Dole are waiting for Gov. Mike Easley to sign the bill that extends the William S. Lee Act, which provides tax credits for job creation in North Carolina. That act includes provisions that would apply to Dole if it locates in North Carolina.

Word of the probable decision comes after Dole owner David Murdock toured farms and blueberry and blackberry processing centers in eastern North Carolina on Monday with state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. Those businesses could end up as suppliers for a Dole plant, Troxler said.

"If you land something like this (plant), that actually starts at the farm level, the pyramid is actually very big in terms of what you do for the state," Troxler said. "It goes all the way through the economy to the consumer."

State auditor tracks legislators' largess

Attorney general to study whether money was legal

A new report from State Auditor Les Merritt confirms that legislative leaders directed millions of dollars in the past year to the communities of political allies, without the approval of the General Assembly as required by law.

 

Click here for the full article

 

Related articles:

Attorney general reviewing Legislature audit findings

Dunn Daily Record:  Follow the Money

Audit traces 'slush funds' to top lawmakers

Slush Fund Legal, Morgan Contends

NC Audit Outlines Spending In Grants Flap

Charlotte Observer:  Legislators should embrace more government efficiencies

Budget stalls over high-income tax

Advocates Fight To Make Sure Cigarette Tax Increase Happens

State may close Medicaid loophole

Cigarettes, movies and car registrations would all cost more in the $17.1 billion budget that the N.C. House began debating last night.

But the House's proposed budget for 2005-06 - which won approval by a vote of 62-58 at 12:21 a.m. today - avoids many of the Senate's cuts in education and Medicaid health insurance for the poor.

But cigarettes in North Carolina would no longer be the cheapest in the nation under the House budget. The plan would increase the state's tax on cigarettes from 5 cents a pack to 30 cents a pack.The House plan would also raise taxes on movies and live entertainment, cable TV, health-maintenance organizations and funeral expenses.

More than smokers to feel sting of increases

Counties won’t likely see Medicaid relief

Legislators consider zero-based budgeting

N.C. House budget seeks interstate tolls

House extends two 'temporary' taxes

Legislators consider zero-based budgeting 

"It's the chief argument in the Republican attack on waste in state government. Don't just give bureaucrats more money each year, they say. First, make the state justify each dollar it already spends.

Republicans see Carney's move as a victory, since they've pushed the idea for years."

What's amazing about this is that Democrats fought against this study in the past, but once they retained control of the State House, suddenly had a change of heart and co-opted the Republican proposal. This just doesn't feel right... we'll see.

High school seniors must pass 5 tests, prepare research project
"Students entering ninth grade in fall 2006 would be the first facing the new graduation rules when they graduate in 2010. They would have to pass standardized state tests in English 1, algebra 1, biology, U.S. history, and civics and economics."
But according to public school systems across the state, the NCLB is underfunding their ability to test children as the legislation mandates? Can you say double-talk!


Dwane Powell, Raleigh News & Observer, May 5

"Democrats reach into the pockets of
North Carolina families to pay
for another reckless spending binge"

"It is morally right, and it is economically necessary for our state," Hunt said. "We need these students. They have worked hard. They have excelled in high school. We need them to get all the education they can get."
Official Press Statement From Richmond County Vice Chairman Lee P Butler Concerning This Issue:
"The issue concerning providing in-state tuition for the children of illegal aliens is complex as well as emotional. As it is in the nature of all of us to have a visceral reaction to help these unfortunate children, we have a greater responsibility to adhere to the governance of our laws, which have made America the greatest country in the world.

Currently, North Carolina school systems assert they cannot afford the testing mandated by the No Child Left Behind legislation, yet our state administrators feel we have the necessary revenue to cover the added cost of including illegal aliens to our budget.

Many of the colleges in the state funded system have also addressed that they are near or have already passed the level of enrollment that would accommodate the reported influx created through this legislation.

While these children’s families are being rewarded for purposely violating the laws of this country, other minority children of low income families and immigrants who came to America through legal channels will become disenfranchised as funding becomes even more selectively appropriated.

Not to mention the moral dilemma that is created by giving financial assistance to illegal immigrants, when there are many legal immigrants who followed the rules and are effectively being punished for doing so. This also generates an environment in North Carolina that says illegal activity is acceptable and even encourages it.

Ultimately, North Carolina legislators should be focusing their attention on the larger problem of the illegal activity of the parents before they ever began to address rewarding their illegal activity."

N.C. House approves lottery 

House members approved the measure on a 61-59 vote. The Senate and Gov. Mike Easley will have to sign off of the proposal, which would use proceeds to provide $4,000 scholarships to needy university students.  It was House bill 1023 and here is the vote count by name of representative.

Speaker Black: Good for N.C.? 

NCAE supports a lottery:  From Eddie Davis, a 30-year classroom teacher and the president of the North Carolina Association of Educators: As president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, I hope House Speaker Jim Black and other members of the North Carolina General Assembly continue to display the courage to support a statewide education lottery. Why does the NCAE support the lottery... to help children get a better education? Nooooo...  "NCAE has taken the position that there are plenty of new school programs that could be provided if North Carolina were to establish its own lottery." That's right, more spending opportunities!

Copyright 2016 Lee P Butler. All Rights Reserved.