Phil Berger

vote
Dave DeWitt

If you plan to vote in a future election in North Carolina, the Voter Information Verification Act – if it passes – affects you. That goes double if you are a younger voter, don’t have a driver’s license, like to vote early, or may ever be subject to a random challenge of your status as a voter.

Gov. McCrory signs tax reform into law.
Dave DeWitt

It was all smiles inside the Governor’s mansion today. Flanked by Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, House Speaker Thom Tillis, and his own budget director Art Pope, the Governor praised his fellow Republicans for their leadership in passing wide-ranging tax reform.

He says it will help the state recruit new businesses.

"There are a lot of people unemployed right now," McCrory said. "There are a lot of people looking for work and there are a lot of companies looking at other states to go to create new jobs. And they’re beating out North Carolina."

Reverend William Barber led another Moral Mondays protest at the capitol.
Matthew Lenard

For many lawmakers and lobbyists, the culmination of five months of work during this biennial long session came when a final budget was released late Sunday night. More than 500 pages and $20.5 billion, the budget was finalized behind closed doors by two men, both Republicans – Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

A busy week at the General Assembly starts today. Republican Leaders in the House and Senate hope to wrap up the session this week. But first they will have to approve a final budget.

That budget was posted online last night (pdf). It contains some provisions that are close to Senate President pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis, who have been meeting behind closed doors for several weeks to hammer it out.

NC General Assembly, tax reform, Governor McCrory
Jessica Jones

Governor Pat McCrory and leaders of the state House and Senate have come to a long-awaited agreement on what they say is fiscally responsible tax reform.

The plan would replace the state’s tiered personal income tax rate with a flat 5.8 percent in 2014, and the corporate tax rate would fall as well. The sales tax would be broadened only slightly.

Teaching Fellows
Henderson County Schools

Back in the 1980s, North Carolina had a serious teacher problem. There were shortages in much of the state, but the bigger problem wasn’t how many teachers, but who they were.

“We had a real need to raise the scholastic profile of candidates for teaching and also to increase the numbers of males and minorities in teaching,” remembers Jo Ann Norris, President and Executive Director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

Lawmakers in the state Senate have unveiled more details of their proposal to overhaul the state's tax code, though they haven't filed a bill yet. They propose lowering income tax rates significantly over the next three years. They also seek to lower the combined local and state sales tax to 6.5 percent.

State lawmakers convened in Raleigh today for the official first day of the 2013 legislative session. In the Senate, lawmakers re-elected Republican Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger for another two years. In the House, Speaker Thom Tillis- also a Republican- will also serve for two more years. He told lawmakers he's looking forward to this session.

The North Carolina legislature has begun a new session at a historic time in its history. Republicans now hold a majority in both chambers of the General Assembly for the first time in more than a century. But it's going to be a difficult year. Lawmakers face a potential 3-point-7 billion dollar budget deficit. Jessica Jones reports they say they're ready to meet that challenge.

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