INVESTING IN NORTH CAROLINA’S FAMILIES & FUTURE
N.C. Families First believes in making North Carolina the greatest state in the nation to live, work and raise a family. Our state had so much going for it that for decades thousands of new families moved to North Carolina every year. Unfortunately, North Carolina’s family-friendly reputation has taken a hit and over the last few years state lawmakers have made the task of raising a family demonstrably more difficult.
Today, North Carolinians are working more and making less while facing rising taxes and a shrinking commitment to public education at all levels. Meanwhile, politicians in state government are more concerned with protecting polluters, the wealthy and big corporations rather than protect average families.
If that wasn’t enough, North Carolina state lawmakers and Gov. Pat McCrory made clear that North Carolina wouldn’t welcome all types of families. HB2 legalizes discrimination against the LGBT community. NC Families First recognizes that North Carolina must be open and welcoming to all people. Discrimination of any kind is bad for business and bad for families.
Politicians choose to listen to those at the top and ignore families who can’t afford their own lobbyists. Raising a family requires a commitment, not just from parents, but from the community. It’s time for North Carolina to put families first.
North Carolina families lose out when politicians cannot be held accountable to the people. That’s what happens when Raleigh politicians are in charge of drawing their own districts. They get to pick their voters, instead of voters picking them.
Using bizarrely drawn districts that segregated North Carolina voters by race and partisanship, legislators’ have used redistricting to grow their political power. Too many districts in North Carolina are not competitive and heavily favor one party or the other. That leads to more politicians led by ideology and not the will of the people and violates the principle of one person, one vote.
NC Families First supports redistricting reforms that will take legislative map-making out of the hands of partisan politicians. Fair maps will ultimately produce leaders that are accountable to North Carolina’s families, not partisan ideology.
In 2004, North Carolina created the nation’s first public campaign finance program for statewide judicial campaigns, but in 2013 the program was eliminated. NC Families First supports the restoration of judicial public financing because families are better off with voter-owned judges, instead of judges owned by special interests.
Public financing for judicial races was successful in North Carolina. By encouraging candidates to agree to spending limits and requiring small-dollar fundraising, the program successfully decreased the amount of special-interest money in judicial races.
When judges hear cases from the bench, we want them to prioritize the law and the best interests of North Carolina families and not the interests of big-money special interests that backed their campaigns.
When parents think about where the best place is to raise their family, schools are always at the top of the list. North Carolina must recommit to public education from Pre-K to K-12 to post-secondary education. Funding for public schools has dropped.
North Carolina ranks 46th in the nation in per pupil funding. Teachers are leaving North Carolina classrooms in record numbers. Our commitment to Pre-K has diminished and our world-class university and community college systems have lost some luster.
We support investments in public education, raising teacher salaries and equipping our schools with the most up-to-date technology and curriculum, to make our students competitive with the rest of the world.
A community that singles out any group of people for discrimination cannot be family-friendly. We oppose all forms of discrimination, including those based on race, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other type of division. The effects of HB2 extend well beyond bathrooms and threaten the economic well being of North Carolina families.
HB2 has already led to the loss of more than $285 million and thousands of jobs, including PayPal and Deutsche Bank expansions in North Carolina. TV and movie productions, concerts, conventions and the 2017 NBA All-Star game have been moved or canceled. Discrimination is bad for business and hurts North Carolina families already struggling to make ends meet.
Moreover, the damage HB2 is doing to North Carolina’s reputation may be irreparable. Over 180 corporate executives have denounced the law and North Carolina has become the target of late night comedians. Meanwhile, our governor and state legislature have only fanned the flames of division.
Whether it’s the mountains, coast, parks, cultural amenities, clean water, clean air, access to fresh foods and good health care options, North Carolina must invest in our quality of life. Unfortunately, many politicians favor protecting polluters, like big oil and gas companies, that threaten our water supply. Fracking and the disposal of coal ash can contaminate drinking water with cancer-causing toxins.
We support an expedient cleanup of coal ash waste that is paid for by the polluters, not electricity ratepayers.
We also support Medicaid expansion and bringing affordable health care options to underserved rural and urban communities.
North Carolina’s economy isn’t creating the type of good-paying jobs that can support a family. Fifty-seven percent of the jobs created since 2008 pay poverty-level wages and North Carolina’s median income is almost $7,000 below the national average. Even many public school teachers in North Carolina are forced to accept government assistance to make ends meet with their meager salaries.
We support tax policies that ease the burden on working families and give more breaks to small businesses and entrepreneurs rather than large corporations.
We support increasing the minimum wage and protecting workers who are unfairly cheated out of pay and benefits by misclassification.
And we oppose amnesty for polluters and other corporations that threaten the health and safety of North Carolina families.
In the last four years, state lawmakers made several changes to our state tax code that made it harder to raise a family. By simply reinstating many of the family-friendly tax policies that have recently been eliminated, the state of North Carolina can be more affordable for families.
1) Reinstate the Earned Income Tax Credit. In 2011, over 900,000 North Carolina families used the state EITC to make ends meet. Research shows that the federal EITC is one of the greatest anti-poverty tools at the government’s disposal, lifting millions of families around the country out of poverty.
2) Reinstate the Back-to-School sales tax holiday and child care tax credits.
3) Make owning a car more affordable. State politicians have made it more expensive to drive to work and take your kids to school. They raised gas taxes, increased DMV fees, added new sales taxes to many car repairs and are installing toll lanes on highways without community support.
Saving for college is a difficult task for any family and student debt is a burden on young families trying to buy a first house, save for retirement and achieve financial stability. Fortunately, the state can do a lot to help.
By reinstating tax deductions for 529 plans and keeping tuition low at state colleges and universities, the state can keep college affordable.
By offering options to refinance student debt, the state has an opportunity to help young families gain financial stability faster, buy a home, and begin saving for retirement or college expenses for their children.
Making North Carolina open and affordable, with good schools, clean water and a high quality of life is the recipe necessary to make our state truly family-friendly.
For more information, please contact NC Families First at: