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Here’s what the NC Budget & Tax Center was up to in July

July was a long, hot month, wasn’t it? I hope you were able to take advantage of the sunny days in July while staying safe and hydrated. Personally, I was able to take a couple weeks away from the office, and I am very grateful to work for an organization that recognizes that paid time off is critical for well-being – everyone in our state deserves the same!

Here’s what the NC Budget & Tax Center was up to in July.

NC put a bad budget in place. We had a few things to say about that.

North Carolina lawmakers approved a bad budget in July after a secretive process to develop it. It kept the tax cuts passed last year intact, continuing to redirect resources from our communities to the richest among us over the next decade. (Read the newspaper opinion piece by our Executive Director Alexandra Sirota: Tax cuts in NC are a power grab that benefits the rich, hurts the state, and listen to a conversation Alexandra had with NC Policy Watch about the budget.)

We have the resources.  We need to fund the solutions that make sure all of us – no matter what we look like or what zip code we call home – can put food on the table, send our kids to good schools, and see a doctor when we need to. Here are some of the other pieces we put out about the budget last month:

More resources on American Rescue Plan funds

Senior Policy Analyst Suzy Khachaturyan put together a guide for local governments on how to make sure American Rescue Plan funds do the most good in their communities, including some examples of what some NC cities have already decided. From the report:

“Local governments should keep in mind four key principles to ensure the American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars do the maximum good in their communities.

    • Get community input on needs and priorities.
    • Prioritize marginalized community members.
    • Advance transformative projects and strategic investments.
    • Be transparent about what, when, and how decisions will be made.”

Read the full piece here.

Suzy also put together a fact sheet with some concrete suggestions on “Leveraging local American Rescue Plan dollars to support immigrants in North Carolina.”

New Summer Policy Institute cohort meets

In July, we had an in-person orientation day to get to know the newest cohort of the NC Summer Policy Institute (NCSPI). NCSPI is an annual program started by Community Connections Manager Chanae Wilson and former Policy Analyst Brian Kennedy II, and supported this year by Engagement Assistant Calissa Andersen, that brings together students from across the state to participate in a multi-day exploration of North Carolina’s top policy issues. This cohort is currently meeting virtually this week for a series of seminars, panel discussions, and workshops with NC Budget & Tax Center staff as well as folks from other policy organizations, lawmakers, and community leaders.

Partner conversation on inflation rescheduled for Friday, Aug. 12

We had to postpone July’s Partner Conversation due to illness, but that just means you have more time to sign up to attend! It will be Friday, Aug. 12, and will cover the question of inflation, what caused it, and what should be done about it. Providing a grounding in the hard economic evidence about what inflation is, what is driving it, and what can be done to blunt its impacts on low-income North Carolinians, this discussion is meant to provide some common language for progressives engaging in these debates over the next several months. We also hope to identify if there are empirical or policy analysis BTC could conduct that would support partners’ ability to address how inflation shows up in the communities they serve.

Register for the Partner Meeting

Unpacking the 2022 Education Budget on Aug. 17: Register now!

The NC General Assembly made several adjustments to the budget recently, and Executive Director Alexandra Sirota will walk through the changes that affect education in NC, hosted by Public Schools First NC, on the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 17. Where was funding increased, what are the implications, and where do we still need more effort?

Sign up here

What people are saying

“At a recent legislative news conference, Heba Atwa, advocacy manager with the nonpartisan N.C. Budget & Tax Center, explained that children experiencing poverty before age 5 are twice as likely to experience poor health into adulthood.”

“Children in the poorest 20% of urban populations are twice as likely as children in the richest 20% of urban populations to die before their first birthday, she said, and nearly 1 in 4 North Carolina children do not get enough to eat.

“What it takes to make ends meet has to be grounded in the actual costs that a household faces on a daily and monthly basis. These actual costs are growing, and income needs to keep up,” Atwa said.”

Source: News & Observer

What we’ve been reading and watching

How to contact us

We’ve put the contact information for each of our team members on our website at NCBudget.org/our-team/, or you can always email us at [email protected] if you’re not sure who to talk to.