Jun 17th - 8:37 pm
On Capital Tonight: Gov. Pat McCrory talks with Tim Boyum about tax reform and budget negotiations, and, we remember the life of former Gov. Jim Holshouser, the first Republican to be elected chief executive in the 20th Century. Watch the full episode here.
Jun 17th - 6:51 pm
GREENSBORO — For many consumers, the tax free weekend in August is like a Christmas shopping spree. But this may be the last year shoppers can take advantage of the savings on everything from clothes to computers.
The laundry list of back-to-school supplies many families will face in a few short months can quickly get expensive. The tax free weekend helps ease some of that financial burden and when the first weekend of August rolls around, the stores are packed.
“They put everything on sale for the school supplies,” shopper Cheryl Wyrick said. “Definitely good savings. Then on top of that you don’t have the tax. It’s a wonderful thing.”
And retailers like Target feel a nice boost in sales.
“The whole weekend it drives around 20 to 25 percent in incremental sales,” assistant store manager Jarrett Dunston said.
But if the state Senate passes the current tax bill, this would be the last year for that tax break.
Last year, the North Carolina Department of Revenue estimated the state lost $13.6 million in tax revenue during the sales tax holiday weekend.
Lawmakers said those are dollars the state can’t afford to lose.
Yet, many shoppers wait for that discount to make their higher-end purchases.
“If you’re buying a very large item, you can actually get quite a bit of savings,” shopper Amanda Boothby said. “So when you get a computer or something like that, of course it’s probably a little more worth it.”
But other customers don’t think the savings are worth dealing with the crowds.
“When I look in the paper and see the kind of deals they have, it doesn’t really seem like a big savings to me,” shopper Sherry Gibson said. “Not enough to pull me in.”
Retailers said they may not see the usual spike in sales, but families will still have to buy those new school supplies.
“I believe shoppers would still shop, but I don’t believe retailers would see the large crowds that they usually see during the tax free holiday weekend,” Dunston said.
The Energy Star tax holiday on major appliances is also on the chopping block.
Lawmakers are expected to vote on the bill Tuesday. Then it will be up for the House to decide.
- Amanda McKenzie
Jun 17th - 5:10 pm
Before he became North Carolina’s longest-serving governor, Jim Hunt served as lieutenant governor under Gov. Jim Holshouser. The two served together and, after each left the Governor’s Mansion, they worked together on shared passions.
Reporter Andy Mattison spoke with the former governor about his friend:
I think Gov. Holshouser values most were people – sometimes we called it the human capital of North Carolina. He knew that the way you build the economy and have good jobs for people — and equal opportunity for all people, because he believed in that – was to have education for everyone.
And he believed we needed to invest in that. We needed, in particular, to have wonderful teachers, to pay them well, to start children early in Smart Start and kindergarten and he was, in every way, a great human leader of North Carolina.
On his legacies
I well recall two big things that he did, three in fact: One was starting public kindergartens. I helped him with that. I’d campaigned on that, as he had. Second was raising teacher pay very significantly in North Carolina, and third was standing for and pushing for the Coastal Management Act to protect the coast of North Carolina, and to have things built on them that would make them ugly and not fun for people to go to the beach for.
On working in a bi-partisan manner
He was a great unifier. He was a strong Republican, he believed in his party. Even more than that, he believed in people working in a bi-partisan way to move North Carolina forward. He was a bi-partisan kind of leader and it was my joy to work with him in that way.
Jun 17th - 4:27 pm
Gov. Pat McCrory’s approval numbers are slipping and the General Assembly remains unpopular.
Public Policy Polling said Monday that only 20 percent of voters approve of the job the General Assembly is doing; with 56 percent disapproving. Not surprising, Democrats (10/64) and independents (20/63) are very unhappy with the legislature, but Republicans (36/40) also have a negative view, despite their party being in power.
McCrory’s approval numbers sloping downward, with 45 percent approving of the job he’s doing, and 39 percent disapproving. That’s down 10 percent in May.
Voters also are not thrilled about Republican legislative proposals:
- 66 percent oppose allowing guns on school and college properties and eliminating gun permits;
- 48 percent oppose banning selling Tesla electric cars in North Carolina;
- 68 percent oppose raising interest rates on consumer finance loans up to $4,000 to 30 percent.
Read the full results here.
Jun 17th - 2:10 pm
North Carolina politicians reacted to the death of former Gov. Jim Holshouser.
Gov. Pat McCrory
“James Holshouser was more than a friend and mentor, he was a genuine leader. His passing is not only a loss for the state of North Carolina, but for the countless number of people who were personally touched by his guidance and kindness. Ann and I will have the Holshouser family in our prayers His counsel was invaluable. Compassion was the foundation of Governor Holshouser’s life. He was a champion of education. He made health care available in counties that didn’t have doctors. And he provided historic professional opportunities to women and minorities. North Carolina is a better place because of his leadership and heart.”
House Speaker Thom Tillis
“One of the greatest privileges of my political career has been the opportunity to develop a personal friendship with Gov. James Holshouser. I treasure the many times we spent together discussing his passion – the education of young North Carolinians. Gov. Holshouser was an expert at building relationships with people of all backgrounds and political persuasions. His success was directly linked to his kind and decent demeanor, and the manner in which he defined statesmanship. Even as his health failed him in later years, his service to North Carolina never stopped. Today our state lost one of its greatest sons, but Gov. James Holshouser will be remembered and respected for generations to come.”
Senate President Pro-Tem Phil Berger
“As North Carolina’s first Republican governor in the 20th century, Gov. Holshouser made an indelible mark on our state’s history. He dedicated his life to serving others, and his legacy of strengthening our state’s public schools and universities continues to ensure bright futures for our students. Gov. Holshouser was a dear friend and trusted adviser, and I will miss him greatly.”
Sen. Kay Hagan
“I am sad to learn that former Governor Jim Holshouser has died. Jim was such a good man, and I’ve long admired his ability to work with Democrats and Republicans. His moderate, consensus-building approach made him an effective leader who brought health clinics to underserved areas, bolstered our public education system and backed important legislation to protect our environment. Jim served during a time of great change in our nation. As our state and our country worked to fulfill our ideals as a land of opportunity for all, he appointed African-Americans to key positions and named the first woman to a cabinet-level position. Jim leaves behind many contributions to North Carolina, and my thoughts and prayers are with Jim’s family during this difficult time.”
Sen. Richard Burr
“I was terribly sad to hear of Gov. Jim Holshouser’s passing. Gov. Holshouser was one of the kindest and most sincere people to ever become involved in North Carolina politics. Staying true to his mountain roots, Jim would always shoot you straight and stay true to his word. His lifelong dedication to service to our state was defined by many outstanding accomplishments that made North Carolina a better place to live. To those of us who knew him personally, Jim was a trusted counselor, leader, and, most importantly, a great friend. Today, all North Carolinians have lost one of the true statesmen of our time.”
NC Republican Party Chairman Claude Pope
“I am so saddened to hear that Governor Holshouser has passed away. He was a dear friend of our family, a committed and visionary leader, and a true servant to the people of North Carolina. Gov. Holshouser will be dearly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
UNC President Tom Ross
“For more than four decades—as a state legislator, as North Carolina’s governor, as an elected member of the UNC Board of Governors, and as a long-term board member emeritus—Jim Holshouser was actively involved in the development and evolution of the University of North Carolina. On any issue of long-term importance to the University or higher education in this state, his counsel was sought out and highly valued. He was seen as the elder statesman of the Board of Governors, one with a gift for simply, but eloquently getting to the heart of a complicated issue, bringing together diverse points of view, and guiding his colleagues to consensus or resolution. Throughout his long and storied career, Governor Holshouser personified the true meaning of statesmanship and servant leadership, and our University had no greater friend or better role model. He will be deeply missed. “
Jun 17th - 1:02 pm
James Holshouser, the first Republican governor elected in the 20th Century, died Monday in Pinehurst after a period of declining health.
He was 78.
Holshouser rode into office in the 1972 election on the wave of President Richard Nixon’s landslide election. He was the first Republican governor elected since 1896.
He focused on lower taxes, judicial reform, modernizing the state’s transportation system and broadening foreign trade. Working with UNC President Bill Friday, Holshouser helped to consolidate the state universities into what is known now as the University of North Carolina.
Holshouser had been ill recently, and he died on his 52nd wedding anniversary.
“We are grateful … for the many friends and family who have so lovingly supported him and our family through the last several months. Most of all, we are grateful for his example of wisdom, integrity, love and servant leadership,” his daughter Ginny said, in a statement.
He was born Oct. 8, 1934 to James Holshouser, a U.S. Attorney, and Virginia Dayvault Holshouser, a nurse. He described his family as “Lincoln Republicans” – moderate in nature. He grew up in Boone and got his first taste of politics as senior class president at Appalachian High School.
Holshouser attended Davidson College, then UNC-Chapel Hill for law school. He returned to Boone to practice law with his father in 1960 and got active in Republican politics.
He married Patricia Hollingsworth in 1961. His daughter, Virginia, is born in 1963, and named after her grandmother.
In 1962, Holshouser was elected to the state House as part of a growing Republican Party in North Carolina. At that time, the Democrats has a grip on state government for nearly 100 years. He rose quickly through the legislative ranks, becoming House Minority Leader in 1965 and state party chairman in 1966, the youngest at age 31.
He fought against taxes on tobacco, soft drinks and gasoline in the legislature as he continued his rise in Republican politics.
In 1972, he announced his candidacy for governor.
“Our state stands on the threshold of greatness, and yet so much needs to be done,” he said during his announcement. “I recognize the awesome responsibility and enormous task in the job I seek. I know that no man can do it alone. At the same time, I also know that the people in North Carolina have a spirit equal to any challenge.”
Holshouser ran against Skipper Bowles, a Democrat, former commerce secretary under Gov. Terrry Sanford, and father of Erskine Bowles, who would later serve as UNC president.
Holshouser won office by a narrow margin. At age 38, Holshouser was the youngest chief executive since the 19th Century. Democrat Jim Hunt, who would go on to serve four terms as governor, was elected lieutenant governor.
Holhouser worked with the Democrats to modernize North Carolina’s infrastructure and open the Tar Heel State’s doors to international trade. He lead a trade mission to Moscow, capital of the then-Soviet Union, in 1973.
He also worked with UNC President Bill Friday to shepherd through the consolidation of the state’s public universities into the modern University of North Carolina, creating the Board of Governors to administer the system. He also expanded public school kindergarten programs statewide.
“If you are going to have a full life, education makes so much difference; not just in terms of your ability to make a living, but also in terms of your ability to see all of what life has to offer,” Holshouser told UNC-TV, as part of its “Biographical Conversations” series.
He created health clinics to serve rural areas where local physicians weren’t available. He also appointed the first woman to a Cabinet-level position. Grace Rohrer served as his Commissioner of the Department of Art, History and Culture.
Holshouser was a moderate Republican, which that left him vulnerable in a party that was fighting amongst itself. Conservatives, who rallied behind Sen. Jesse Helms, were not open to compromise, while Holshouser worked with Democrats on policy. That, along with fallout from the Watergate scandal, lead to his decision not to run again in 1976.
“We were very, very tired by the end of 1976,” he told UNC-TV. “And we were ready for a break from politics, ready to sort of get out of the limelight and back in the private sector because I never really anticipated a political career.
After he left office in 1977, Holshouser moved to Southern Pines to practice law, creating a law firm with former Gov. Terry Sanford.
The General Assembly appointed him to the UNC Board of Governors in 1979, where he served two, eight-year terms, and later as a member emeritus.
He championed higher education in his post-gubernatorial career – serving on boards at Davidson College and Lees-McRae College, lead the board of trustees at St. Andrews Presbyterian College and served on the board of advisors of Elon University Law School.
Because of his dedication to higher education, Appalachian State University and UNC-Chapel Hill endowed professorships in his name.
Holshouser suffered from kidney disease for years and, in 1986, had a kidney transplant, after which he promoted organ donation and sat on the board of United Network for Organ Sharing. He also worked on the campaigns of Jim Martin and Ronald Reagan, and served on Gov. Pat McCrory’s transition team.
Holshouser has recently been ill. He didn’t attend McCrory’s inauguration in January because he was recovering from pneumonia.
McCrory visited Holshouser over the weekend to pay his respects.
“James Holshouser was more than a friend and mentor, he was a genuine leader,” McCrory said in a statement. “His passing is not only a loss for the state of North Carolina, but for the countless number of people who were personally touched by his guidance and kindness.”
- Ben McNeely
Jun 16th - 11:40 am
The Supreme Court is set to hand down decisions in the gay marriage cases — and the Court may surprise us all.
Support for gay marriage has been building among Americans. Most Americans now believe that gay marriage is inevitable, even among those who oppose it.
During the debate in 2012 over the marriage amendment in North Carolina, House Speaker Thom Tillis echoed this sentiment, saying younger generations who support gay marriage will probably overturn the amendment in 20 years or so.
It may happen sooner than that. Most everyone who observes the Supreme Court believes the justices will hand down a split decision — striking down the federal Defense of Marriage act, but upholding the state’s right to determine who can marry.
This is the more realistic, and expected, outcome and the one that matches closely to what we heard from the oral arguments in March.
But I am not so sure.
When it comes to landmark cases, the Roberts Court is going to be decisive — and split.
Consider these cases:
On health care: Chief Justice John Roberts joined with the liberal justices to uphold the substantive portions of the Affordable Health Care Act, aka Obamacare. The vote was 5-4.
On enemy combatants: In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Court said Congress didn’t have the authority to try enemy combatants in a military tribunal and that the Supreme Court and lower federal civilian courts had jurisdiction. The vote was 5-3.
On campaign finance: In Citizens United v. FEC, the Court said the McCain-Feingold Act, which prohibited corporations and unions from giving money to political candidates and campaigning for their issues, violated the First Amendment (freedom of speech). This opened the door for unlimited spending in elections. The vote was 5-4.
In the gay marriages cases, the opponents to gay marriage specifically asked the Court to rule if the Constitution does affirm a right for gay folks to marry. Opponents want a solid yes-or-no answer, in an attempt to settle the issue once and for all.
That’s a bold move, but it’s these types of questions the Court is supposed to answer, despite the crowing about unelected judges handing down legally binding precedents from on high.
If you ask the question, though, you can’t crow about it if the decisions don’t go your way.
No matter which way the decisions in the gay marriage cases go, however, I believe the Court will act more decisively than not.
- Ben McNeely
Jun 15th - 10:26 am
On Capital Tonight: It was a busy week in North Carolina politics. Jenifer Daniels and Larry Shaheen convene the Bow Tie Caucus to put a bow on the week’s news, plus, Loretta Boniti wraps up week On Jones Street.
Watch the episode here.
Jun 14th - 9:47 am
On Capital Tonight: We recap a busy day at the General Assembly: Sen. Bob Rucho resigns his committee chairmanship over a disagreement on tax reform plans, and the House passes a two-year budget plan.
Watch the episode here.
Jun 13th - 5:31 pm
UNC President Tom Ross released this statement on the budget proposal the House passed Thursday:
Across the country, state leaders from both parties are making strategic investments in their public universities. They understand that talent is our economy’s most valuable commodity, and they are gearing up to compete. Ten of the 11 Southern states, including our neighbors Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia, have adopted budgets for 2013-14 that will increase funding for higher education. They are joined by California, Wisconsin, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, to name a few.
Meanwhile, the North Carolina House has proposed disproportionate budget cuts of $107 million to our public University, on top of the more than $400 million in permanent budget reductions imposed two years ago.
As other states are stepping up to compete, North Carolina cannot afford to stand down. If the House-proposed cuts remain in the budget, it would signal a weakening of North Carolina’s historic commitment to public higher education and make it more difficult for our University to produce the talent needed by business and industry. Since 2008, state funding has declined from 73% to 66% of the University’s budget, forcing students and their families to shoulder more of the cost.
If lawmakers make the choice to continue pulling back from higher education, our state will be placed at a serious competitive disadvantage. Academic quality and our campuses’ ability to improve retention and graduation rates will suffer. Some of our best and brightest faculty researchers will be pirated away by other institutions, and their research grant dollars—and the economic benefits they bring to our state—will leave with them.
While I am grateful the proposed House budget includes some expansion funds for the University’s newly approved Strategic Plan and our growing enrollment, and that House leaders showed strong continued support for our research mission, I worry about the impact deep new cuts would have on our ability to provide a high-quality education to our students and help drive North Carolina’s economic recovery.
We are operating leaner and more efficiently than ever before, producing more degrees with fewer resources. We have won a growing share of federal research dollars in recent years, putting those funds to work for North Carolina and creating jobs. We have absorbed large budget cuts that were painful, but necessary. Now, as the state’s economy has begun to grow again, the House is proposing more cuts that are excessive and damaging.
As the oldest public university in the nation, our historic promise of affordable, high-quality education has set an example for the rest of the country. We must continue to honor that covenant with the people of North Carolina. Our state cannot grow and our people cannot meet the challenges of this highly competitive economy without a strong, well-positioned University of North Carolina.