25 Reasons to FLIP NC
The NC GOP has passed so much extreme legislation since taking control of the NCGA in 2010 that it can be hard to keep track of all of the damage they’ve done to our state. But hope is on the horizon. If Democrats can break the Republican majority in at least one chamber of the NCGA, a new progressive era can begin in North Carolina.
Here are 25 reasons we’re fighting for democracy and a progressive future for North Carolina. Check out our full list of 99 Reasons to FLIP NC, and then share yours – there are far more than 99 Reasons to FLIP NC!
25. Because Voter ID Has Nothing to Do with Voter Fraud
The Republican Party has created and promoted a false narrative about widespread voter fraud to stoke fear and galvanize support for voter ID while hiding their true intent: to disenfranchise African-American, poor, and elderly voters. After their 2013 monster voter law (#31) was declared unconstitutional due to the precision with which it targeted African-American voters, the NC GOP placed a Voter ID Constitutional Amendment on the ballot this November. If it passes, North Carolina will join Mississippi as the only states to enshrine this odious form of systematic disenfranchisement in their constitutions.
24. To End NCGA Restrictions on Local Decision Making
Because local governments in North Carolina ultimately get much of their authority from the state, the GOP has been able to use its unchecked power at the state level to intervene in local affairs in myriad ways, placing restrictions on anti-discrimination (#33), minimum-wage (#32), environmental (#35), natural-resource (#42), housing (#49), education, and election laws.
23. To Restore Progressive Taxation
Over the past six years, Republicans have used their supermajorities in the NCGA to sharply cut taxes for the rich at the expense of everyone else. Regressive changes include reducing the corporate tax rate to the lowest in the country (#72), repealing the estate tax (#93), cutting the top income tax rate by almost 30 percent (#40), eliminating the earned income tax credit (#76), and expanding sales taxes to services like car repair that are disproportionately used by the poor. Taken as a whole, the changes have left the total tax bill of low- and middle-income households almost unchanged, while dramatically reducing the taxes paid by the top 1%.
22. For Medicaid Expansion
The failure to expand Medicaid under the ACA is one of the most self-defeating and harmful policies inflicted by the GOP-controlled state legislature on the people of North Carolina. Not only would Medicaid expansion provide health insurance for nearly 500,000 low-income households and their children – saving more than a thousand lives per year – it would also create an additional 35,000 jobs (including a large number of middle- and high-wage jobs in the health care sector) and expand NC’s economy by over $2 billion. The resulting increase in tax revenues would be more than enough to offset the state’s expenses, with the federal government covering 90% of the cost of Medicaid expansion. The lack of insurance coverage for the working poor in NC has greatly exacerbated the opioid crisis (#81), led to higher costs in NC’s health insurance exchange (#77) and contributing to extremely poor outcomes for pregnant women and babies in NC (#30). It’s this simple: expanding Medicaid would save thousands of lives and improve life for millions of North Carolinians.
21. For Transparency in Government
Over the past several years, the GOP-controlled NCGA has increasingly moved to using secretive practices for writing and passing extreme legislation. Bills – most famously HB2 (#33) – are often written behind closed doors and then passed within hours, with no time for public comment or for lawmakers to even read the final bill. In 2018, the entire state budget was written in secret by the GOP and passed without allowing any amendments or debate. It’s time to restore transparency and thoughtful debate and deliberation to the NCGA.
20. Because People Should Matter More Than Corporations
Across the broad spectrum of public policy, the NC GOP has favored corporations over North Carolinians. From cutting corporate taxes to the lowest rate in the nation (#72); to protecting polluters like corporate hog farms (#83), Duke Energy (#48), and Chemcour (#74); to expanding corporate charter schools, the NCGA has placed the profits of big corporations above the health and welfare of the people of North Carolina.
19. To Support Renewable Energy
Since taking control of the NCGA, the Republican legislature has stifled renewable energy growth, causing NC to fall behind other states in creating sustainable energy markets. From repealing tax credits for rooftop solar and electric hybrids to the most recent moratorium on new wind turbines, their resistance to renewable energy continues to hurt North Carolina.
18. For Fair and Independent Courts
Over the past five years, the GOP-controlled legislature has passed an increasingly alarming series of legislation aimed at taking control of the courts, first making judicial elections partisan (#51), then changing how judicial elections work in urban counties (#78), and, most recently, putting a deceptively-written Constitutional Amendment on the ballot that would move authority to appoint judges from the executive to the legislative branch (#44). If the 2018 election were to go their way, there would be a serious threat of GOP Supreme Court packing (#65). It is not hyperbole to say that the independence of our courts hangs in the balance on November 6th.
17. To Restore the Social Safety Net and Provide a Way Out of Poverty
Since gaining control of the NCGA in 2010, the GOP has shredded North Carolina’s social safety net, cutting unemployment benefits to the worst in the country (#84), reducing eligibility for food stamps (#43) and child care subsidies for the working poor, failing to expand Medicaid under the ACA (#22), and even overriding Republican Gov. McCrory’s veto to add drug testing to the Work First welfare program. The NC GOP’s policies have made it much more difficult for NC families to climb out of poverty, and, as a result, poverty levels in NC remain higher than before the recession. We can do so much better for the people of North Carolina.
16. For Criminal Justice Reform
While North Carolina’s overall incarceration rate has stabilized over the past decade, enormous racial disparities persist (the ratio of the black incarceration rate to the white incarceration rate is 4.66), and fully 25% of those incarcerated are in jail awaiting trial, a number that has quadrupled since 1988. Incarceration rates could be reduced dramatically by decriminalizing marijuana (#28), ending the criminalization of poverty (#71), preventing racial profiling by law enforcement (#85), and reforming the pre-trial bail and bond systems. In so doing, North Carolina would also become a more just, equitable, and productive society.
15. To Protect Our Air, Water, and Land
Over the past eight years, the NC GOP has overseen a complete dismantling of North Carolina’s environmental protections with devastating effects for our environment, natural habitats, and public health. The long list of GOP achievements includes failing to clean up drinking water sources for the Triangle; removing wetland protections across the state; failing to protect ground and surface water from coal ash (#48) and agricultural (#83) and chemical pollutants (#74); reversing the ban on fracking (#42); reducing the number of air quality monitoring stations; and cutting the budget for conservation land trusts by 80% – among many others. It’s time to bring back the progressive environmental policy that once distinguished our state.
14. For Better Jobs and Better Pay
While high-income earners continue to thrive in North Carolina’s economy, the GOP-controlled legislature has completely failed the poor and middle class. Median household income has actually fallen by over $1,000 in North Carolina since 2007. By comparison, it has grown by 14-15% in the neighboring states of South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia over this same time period. NC has become a national model of failed GOP tax policy, where large tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy have failed to produce the kinds of jobs and pay that benefit all North Carolinians.
13. For Common Sense Gun Laws
In response to widespread mass shootings, Gov. Cooper and Democrats in the NCGA have proposed several common-sense gun policies, including banning bump stocks, requiring a background check to purchase an assault-style weapon, and red-flag gun legislation (#82). Similar legislation has been enacted on a bipartisan basis in many other states; yet, the NC GOP refuses to consider even the most widely supported ideas for reducing gun violence.
12. Because We Should Welcome Refugees and Immigrants
As the Trump administration takes direct aim at reducing the number of non-white refugees and immigrants – whether documented or not – in our country, North Carolina should resist these racist and xenophobic federal policies to the maximum extent possible. Instead, the GOP-controlled legislature has pursued a toxic immigration agenda (#50), putting immigrants and other ethnic and racial minorities at risk of increased profiling and harassment and raising fear and anxiety for many families. We need immigration policies for our state and country that are fair, humane, and not racially motivated.
11. To Expand Access to Affordable Health Care
Under GOP one-party rule, North Carolina has one of the lowest rates of health insurance coverage (#30) and the highest health care costs (#77) in the country, with devastating consequences for many NC families. Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (#22) would provide insurance coverage for an additional 500,000 residents, lower prices for almost everyone, and cost the state nothing. It has taken deliberate action on the part of the GOP to make health care so unavailable and unaffordable in NC. There is no defense for such morally reprehensible and fiscally irresponsible behavior.
10. To Strengthen Public Education
Since seizing control of the NCGA, Republicans legislators have worked to dismantle public education in North Carolina, inflicting incredible harm on a system that was once a crown jewel of our state. While starving the public school system as a whole for resources (#29), cutting teacher pay (#47), placing unfunded mandates on school districts (#59), and failing to provide adequate facilities (#78), the NC GOP has simultaneously transferred funding to 75 new charter schools and set aside funds to support a rapid expansion of private school vouchers (#39). Funding for NC’s public colleges and universities has also been cut by nearly 20% per student since 2008 (#45). All of this has happened while the GOP has enacted enormous tax cuts for corporations (#72) and the wealthy (#23). It’s time to restore the funding that our public education system needs to thrive.
9. To Protect Our Constitution
As the six amendments on the ballot in 2018 prove (#44), North Carolina’s Constitution is extremely vulnerable to Republicans’ supermajorities in the NCGA. The NC GOP is more than willing to deceive and mislead the public to seize more power for themselves and systematically disenfranchise voters. The only sure way to protect our constitution is to defeat all six amendments and break the GOP supermajority in the NCGA on November 6th.
8. For Fair Maps
While the US Supreme Court threw out the congressional and legislative maps the GOP-controlled legislature drew in 2011 because of racial gerrymandering (#54), current maps remain extremely gerrymandered by political party (#34), giving the GOP a 10-3 advantage in D.C. and supermajorities in both the NC House and NC Senate. To get truly fair maps, Democrats need to take back control of at least one chamber of the NCGA by 2021 to have a seat at the table when new maps are drawn following the 2020 Census. Beyond 2021, North Carolina badly needs to establish an independent commission to draw congressional, legislative, and judicial maps that ensure fair representation and create true political competition in as many districts as possible.
7. Because Love is Love
Since taking control of the NCGA in 2010, GOP lawmakers have done everything in their power to block the extension of civil rights to members of the LGBTQ community, including passing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions in 2012, preventing local governments from banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity with the infamous House Bill 2 (#33), and blocking the expansion of hate crime legislation to sexual orientation and gender identity (#86). We must fight for equal rights and protections for all North Carolinians.
6. For Equal Rights for Women
North Carolina has a long way to go to ensure the full political, social, and economic equality of women. Political representation remains low (#46), the NC GOP continues to place severe restrictions on women’s health insurance (#52) and reproductive (#37) choices, we badly need more funding to support victims of domestic violence (#75), and the gender wage gap remains at 20% due to weak equal pay policies. Perhaps most emblematic of where North Carolina stands on women’s rights is that NC remains one of only thirteen states not to have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment (#90).
5. For Racial Equity and Justice
From voter suppression efforts that targeted African Americans “with almost surgical precision” (#31), to policies that undermine education (#10) and re-segregate our schools (#68), to extremely regressive changes to the tax code (#23) and the shredding of the social safety net (#17), the NC GOP has consistently enacted legislation that disproportionately harms African Americans. We need a legislature that will fight for racial equity and justice.
4. To End One-Party Rule in Raleigh
In 2011, the NC GOP used its control of the state legislature to draw maps that were extremely gerrymandered by both race (#54) and political party (#34). These unfair maps have delivered supermajorities for the GOP in both the NC House and NC Senate ever since (#8), rendering the Governor’s veto power useless. With unchecked power, Republican have not only enacted an extreme right-wing policy agenda (#2) but also attacked the basic democratic institutions of our state. It’s long past time to end one-party rule in NC.
3. To Protect the Sacred Right to Vote
From the racist and unconstitutional monster voter law of 2013 (#31) to the newly proposed constitutional amendment to require a yet-to-be-specified form of ID to vote (#25), the GOP has attacked voting rights, aiming to make it difficult for African-American, poor, and elderly North Carolinians to vote, thereby cementing their supermajorities in the NCGA for decades to come. We should be making it easier to vote, not harder. Fifty years ago, many civil rights leaders across the South gave their lives to ensure the right to vote. We need to protect that sacred right.
2. To End the GOP’s War on the Poor
From failing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (#22), to cutting funding for public education (#29), to shredding the social safety net (#17), all while providing huge tax cuts for the rich (#23), the NC GOP has passed a wave of regressive policies over the past decade that can only be described as a war on the poor. We need make sure the NCGA works for everyone – not just wealthiest among us.
North Carolinians deserve a government that truly represents the people. From drawing unconstitutional congressional and legislative maps, to creating a structural political advantage, to using their ill-gotten supermajorities in the NCGA (#8) to seize power from the executive and judicial branches of government (#27), to continuous efforts to suppress voting (#3), the GOP-controlled legislature has attacked the basic democratic institutions of our state at every turn. It’s time to restore a functioning democracy to North Carolina.