Perdue signs JobsNOW legislation, but who benefits?

Gov. Bev Perdue  signed House Bills 1973 and 1035 yesterday that she says will help create jobs for more North Carolinians. Gov. Perdue signed the bills in a ceremony at Epic Games, a video game company headquartered in Cary.

Who will benefit?

• A new tax credit for investments in the digital media industry.

• Extension of tax credits for businesses that create new jobs and new investment.

• Enhancements to North Carolina’s film tax credit to increase our competitiveness in film production. Continue reading

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Myrick on board with amicus brief in support of Arizona immigration law

Sue Myrick and 75 other members of of the House and Senate filed a brief is support of the Arizona immigration law. The Department of Justice is in the process of blocking Arizona from such a law, arguing that it is the federal government’s role to enforce immigration laws.

Says Myrick:

“Arizona has the right and the responsibility to protect itself and its citizens,” Rep. Myrick said. “It is clear that the federal government is not taking the steps necessary to secure our border, and make sure that immigration laws are enforced. The Arizona immigration law in question is perfectly legal and complies with the intent of Congress that the states assist in the enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.”

Meanwhile, the first court hearing in the Obama administration’s lawsuit against Arizona’s new immigration law is taking place today.

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CMS makes gains in end-of-year test scores

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools showed improvement in 23 areas tested and the district’s graduation rate rose by almost four percentage points in the 2009-2010 school year, according to preliminary state data released July 19. CMS just released the findings today. According to CMS:

The results continued a positive upward trend in CMS since 2006 in nearly all tested areas. Comparisons to other districts for the 209-2010 year, as well as data for academic growth at individual schools, will not be available until the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction releases statewide data in early August, district officials said.
“Overall, we are pleased but not satisfied,” said Dr. Peter C. Gorman, superintendent of CMS. “We want to see the pace of improvement accelerate even more. However, the preliminary results from the 2009-2010 year show that we are continuing to make substantial academic progress in CMS, and that’s good news.”

Gorman also noted in the press release that the gains had taken place “against a backdrop of diminishing resources and staff.” CMS cut $35.1 million from its 2008-2009 budget – the largest local-funding cut in the state – and the cuts eliminated 181 teacher-level positions. There were additional staff cuts in special areas.

While budget cuts sound bad, it’s ironic that test scores and graduation rates have gone up as teaching jobs have been lost.

Retests have helped CMS’s scores go up, which begs the question: is it a fair measurement of student performance if one is allowed to retake the test for a higher score? Further, one teacher who spoke to the Mint Hill Times said she helped proctor a test for one student that lasted more than six hours one day, and a few more hours the next day.

Measuring student performance is not easy to do. But teaching to a test, and then bending over backwards to make sure the student gets a good score doesn’t sounds like the ideal criteria to measure schools.

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Mint Hill not the only town building a new town hall

A rendering of the new Locust, NC town hall.

Twelve miles down Albemarle Road, the town of Locust is also building a new town hall. The town hall used to be in a small building along Highway 200. However, when widening of 24/27 began several years ago, Locust was forced to move its town center to a new development just off 24/27. Ground was broken last week for a new town hall in that development. Matthews and Harrisburg have also placed new town halls in recently constructed developments. Mint Hill residents should know this Thursday whether the land at Mint Hill Village has cleared the due diligence period for the new town hall.

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Myrick: no abortions on military bases

Myrick, along with 179 of her colleagues, sent a letter to House and Senate leaders stating opposition to an amendment that would allow abortions on U.S. Military Bases. There are two sides to this: Federal law says that abortion is a woman’s choice. However, should taxpayers have to foot the bill for something they find morally wrong? Not according to Myrick and many others. Continue reading

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