3 Important Things
- Secret Plans. Rep. Rob Bryan (R-Mecklenburg) has been working for weeks on a plan to transform the worst elementary schools in the state to charter schools. The plan details have not been placed in any public records, but may nonetheless still be voted on this session by becoming a substitute for another bill that was filed by the deadline for filing. While Bryan sees it as an opportunity to improve low-performing schools, others see it as a dramatic reformation to public education that deserves public discussion before being implemented.
- Tax Payers Bill of Rights. A bill proposing the addition of a “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” to the North Carolina constitution was introduced in the North Carolina Senate. If it gets a three-fifths majority vote from the legislature, it will be added to the ballot in the March 2016 presidential primary for voters’ consideration. The proposed amendments would cap income taxes at 5% and would only allow for growth in spending to keep up with inflation and population growth. Colorado is the only other state to pass similar amendments, and has since loosened provisions tying spending limits to inflation and population growth.
- Benefits Rescinded. Mecklenburg County’s current policy of providing health benefits for the domestic partners of its employees will change in January. “Domestic partnerships” are defined as long-term relationships between people of the same sex who live together and are financially interdependent. Because same-sex marriage was recently deemed constitutional, the route for county employees who are homosexual to receive benefits for their partners is the same as the way that heterosexual employees do – marriage.
2 Happy Things
- Thursday is the 10th anniversary of “pop the cap” legislation becoming law. Pop the cap legislation allowed for higher alcohol content in beer and led to the state’s explosion of craft brewers. We now have 132 craft breweries in North Carolina, with 18 of those currently located in Charlotte and 15 more planning to open in the QC soon. The legislation has led to increased jobs, revenues, and, perhaps most importantly, good beer.
- Charlotte’s RevTech Labs’ QC FinTech unit is one of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s winners of the second annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. They’ll recieve a cash prize of $50,000 from the SBA. RevTech offers free work space, mentoring and programming at Packard Place Uptown. The QCFinTech program focuses on innovations in technology in financial services.
1 Random Thing
- Walkscore.com gives cities scores based on their walkability – how easy it is to walk to amenities like grocery stores, schools, transit stops, etc. It looks at things like nearness of housing to those amenities as well as infrastructure like sidewalks, crosswalks, etc. The #1 most walkable city? New York, with a ranking of 88. Charlotte gets a score of 24. We might want to work on that.