Betsy Muse's blog

CBO updates Obamacare price tag projections and it's a shocker

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have released updated projections on the cost of Obamacare over the next ten years and the savings start immediately.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have updated their estimates of the budgetary effects of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that relate to health insurance coverage. The new estimates, which are included in CBO’s latest baseline projections, reflect CBO’s most recent economic forecast, account for administrative actions taken and regulations issued through March 2014, and incorporate new data and various modeling updates.1

Three Taxi Cab Industry Donors Maxed Out to Cannon and Mayor Pro Tem Barnes

In 2013 three men from Florida, California, and Virginia with ties to the taxicab and parking industries made $24,000 in donations to Charlotte City Council Mayor Pro Tem Michael Barnes and $24,000 to former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon. One of the men, William H. Bodenhamer, Jr. is an executive with Standard Parking (SP+), which had bid on a large airport-related contract that was voted on by the Charlotte City Council in early 2014. All three men are part owners of NBRS USA Holdings, which owns Yellow Cab in Charlotte. Yellow Cab was one of three taxicab companies selected to work out of the Charlotte Airport in 2011 in a controversial decision.

New Government Data Shows Economic Recovery Limited to Upper Income Groups

This comes as no surprise to those who read BlueNC, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics is delivering evidence that income inequality is even more pronounced in economic recovery data.

According to BLS:

While average income has returned to prerecession levels, income gains have been distributed unevenly across income quintiles. (Income quintiles are five equally sized groups of households that have been divided from lowest to highest according to their annual income.) Between 2008 and 2012, the highest income quintile accounted for more than 80 percent of the total increase in household income in the United States. The fourth income quintile also experienced a significant gain between 2008 and 2012, while the lowest, second, and third income quintiles experienced essentially no change in income.

Feds seized gun, cash, and computers from Cannon

On the day Patrick Cannon was arrested Feds seized a gun, cash, cell phones, computers, bank records, campaign finance records, and his passport. The gun, a Glock 10mm semi-automatic handgun may be one that Cannon had reported stolen in 1994.

From the Charlotte Observer:

In 1994, Cannon, then a city council member, reported that his car had been stolen along with a Glock 10mm semi-automatic handgun that was inside the car. The car was returned, but it was unclear what happened to the gun.

I bet I know what you're thinking.

State Senator Dan Clodfelter appointed Charlotte Mayor

State Senator Dan Clodfelter has been appointed Charlotte mayor. He will have to resign from the NC Senate before being sworn in as mayor.

Now the jockeying begins for his replacement in the NC Senate. He was running unopposed in November's general election.

This story is developing.

Update: The final vote was 10 to 1 after a vote for James Mitchell, the former council member who challenged Cannon in the primary last year, failed. The lone holdout was LaWanna Mayfield. I don't think she was voting against Clodfelter as much as representing the wishes of the Mecklenburg LGBT community that had endorsed Mitchell. Mayfield is one of two openly gay members of council. Mitchell and Clodfelter are both strong allies to the gay community.

Supreme Court strikes down aggregate limit on campaign contributions

Today the Supreme Court ruled that you should be able give the base contribution to as many candidates as you like with no aggregate limit applied.

In the 2011–2012 election cycle, appellant McCutcheon contributed to 16 different federal candidates, complying with the base limits ap- plicable to each. He alleges that the aggregate limits prevented him from contributing to 12 additional candidates and to a number of noncandidate political committees. He also alleges that he wishes to make similar contributions in the future, all within the base limits. McCutcheon and appellant Republican National Committee filed a complaint before a three-judge District Court, asserting that the ag- gregate limits were unconstitutional under the First Amendment. The District Court denied their motion for a preliminary injunction and granted the Government’s motion to dismiss. Assuming that thebase limits appropriately served the Government’s anticorruption in- terest, the District Court concluded that the aggregate limits sur- vived First Amendment scrutiny because they prevented evasion of the base limits.

Held: The judgment is reversed, and the case is remanded.

893 F. Supp. 2d 133, reversed and remanded. CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS, joined by JUSTICE SCALIA, JUSTICE KENNE-
DY, and JUSTICE ALITO, concluded that the aggregate limits are inva- lid under the First Amendment.

No early indictment for Patrick Cannon

The Charlotte Observer is reporting there will be no early indictment for Patrick Cannon in the corruption and bribery case against him after his attorney, James Ferguson, waived Cannon's preliminary hearing. Experts are quoted saying this may indicate he is in plea negotiations.

Cannon remained free Monday on an unsecured $25,000 bond. The office of U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins says the investigation continues.

Experts say the delay of an indictment could signal that plea discussions are imminent.

“Once that (indictment) happens, the opportunity for flexibility is greatly reduced,” said James Wyatt, a prominent Charlotte defense attorney.

I wonder if the location of the current grand jury may have anything to do with it.

Charlotte Observer Erases Patsy Kinsey's Airport Efforts

Today, the Charlotte Observer completely erased Patsy Kinsey's work to keep the airport under Charlotte's control. In the article published this morning about the fate of the airport they jump from Anthony Foxx directly to Patrick Cannon as if Kinsey's time in office never happened.

Anthony Foxx was mayor when the airport fight began but stepped down in July to become U.S. transportation secretary. Cannon became mayor pro tem in December 2011 and was later elected mayor in November 2013.

Kinsey was widely credited for helping the city maintain control of the airport that Charlotte citizens paid to build. The writers could have easily covered this in one or two sentences. The following are links to and quotes from articles referencing Kinsey's work on the airport issue, as well as some of her public comments. Do you think her accomplishments are worthy of being ignored?

Patrick Cannon Dodged Rumors and Won Voters

By now, most of you have heard of former Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon’s self-induced fall from grace. Rumors have circulated around him for years, and while a lot of us are not surprised he is seeing trouble, I do not think anyone expected this. Of course, Cannon is innocent until proven guilty, but that hasn’t stopped most of us from accepting the contents of the affidavit as the truth.

Steve asked in a comment on BlueNC earlier this week how Charlotte voters could elect Patrick Cannon if there were so many rumors flying around about him. It’s a good question, without a good answer, or it may be better to say it doesn’t have a simple answer.

Rumor Mill

Democratic National Convention: First Night is Rocking

The Time Warner Cable arena is rocking. With the dismal record of the Charlotte Bobcats, this arena has never heard so much cheering. Many of the speakers have brought the crowd to its feet and they weren't just being polite.

The speakers have kept their messages short and the stage managers are moving them on and off the podium at a pace that is keeping delegates on their toes. The pace and messages may be scripted, but this convention feels more spontaneous than the convention held in Denver in 2008.

So far tonight I've not seen posters passed around at all. Some may come out for the First Lady, but so far I haven't seen any. ...Aaand, as soon as I wrote that the signs come out. Still, I think there were more signs on the first night in Denver.

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