Beware of the false remedy of "Opportunity Zones"

A better name might be, "Gentrification On Steroids":

President Trump has portrayed America’s cities as wastelands, ravaged by crime and homelessness, infested by rats. But the Trump administration’s signature plan to lift them — a multibillion-dollar tax break that is supposed to help low-income areas — has fueled a wave of developments financed by and built for the wealthiest Americans.

Among the early beneficiaries of the tax incentive are billionaire financiers like Leon Cooperman and business magnates like Sidney Kohl — and Mr. Trump’s family members and advisers.

Personal anecdote time: Last year my town's merchant's association held a "business social," bringing in bankers and other Very Important Persons to discuss economic growth possibilities. One of the topics I was very keen to hear about was Opportunity Zones, because we have some areas that really need a lift. But the investment advisor (woman) who presented did not even mention economic improvement, or helping marginalized citizens. It was all about how to leverage the program to reap the most financial benefits. And another quick take: The more the merrier. The more expensive the project, the more tax savings reaped. Which means, the finished product (luxury apartments, high-end retail) would be inaccessible for people on the low end of the totem pole:

Saturday News: Wrong Medicaid bill

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GOVERNOR COOPER VETOES MEDICAID "TRANSFORMATION" LEGISLATION: These mini budgets came to the governor's desk this week as the legislature's Republican majority explored ways around his June veto of the state's overall budget. The pay raises, covering state highway patrol, prison system employees, the State Bureau of Investigations and a long list of other state employees, moved through the General Assembly with bipartisan, unanimous support. But Medicaid transformation, long a GOP priority even though it fell to Gov. Roy Cooper's administration to implement, drew opposition from legislative Democrats. Cooper said in a statement that "passing mini-funding bills that simply divvy up the vetoed Republican budget is a tactic to avoid a comprehensive budget." "Health care is an area where North Carolina needs us to do more, and to do it comprehensively," Cooper said in his statement.
https://www.wral.com/cooper-signs-employee-raise-bills-vetoes-medicaid-transformation/18602048/

NC09 Debate fact-check reveals dismal state of NC teacher pay

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This is why you should wear red for ed:

When moderator Christine Sperow asked the candidates to address the economic concerns of rural farmers, McCready quickly transitioned to Bishop’s performance on teacher pay. McCready argued that the state of public education in North Carolina is harming rural North Carolinians just as much as the Trump administration’s trade policies. “We have got to be investing in our public schools,” McCready said, “alongside taking on China, to make life better for so many people.”

Bishop interjected, saying he supported teacher pay increases in the state budget for five consecutive years. A sixth and seventh consecutive raise would be possible, Bishop said, if Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper hadn’t vetoed this year’s state budget. Bishop is right — the past five budgets have increased teacher pay — but critics say these raises weren’t enough.

While Congress has zero impact on NC teacher pay, this is a legitimate debate point because it reveals how ineffective Bishop (and his GOP colleagues) have been in managing critical state policies and programs. And these numbers can't be harped on enough:

Friday News: Debunking propaganda

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DUKE ENERGY AGREES SOLAR ENERGY DOES *NOT* INCREASE POLLUTION: The Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization that has labeled Duke “Public Energy Enemy No. 1” in part for not investing more in renewable energy, says “the nation’s largest investor-owned electric utility is pushing an outlandish claim that the growth of solar power will increase air pollution.” By the time the group had blasted the company, Duke had already released its own statement, suggesting that past media articles had mischaracterized its request of regulators. Duke credited the growth of solar energy, along with the replacement of coal-fired power plants with cleaner-burning natural gas units, for steep overall declines in its carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxide emissions. The claim that solar energy causes more air pollution is “faulty logic,” Duke’s statement said. “It’s like saying an electric vehicle is bad since it will increase your electric bill, while neglecting to mention the cost savings of not buying gasoline.”
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article234303987.html

Climate crimes: EPA set to undo rule to curb fugitive Methane emissions

This is the price we pay for electing a dangerous idiot:

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to announce Thursday that it will loosen federal rules on methane, a powerful greenhouse gas linked to climate change, according to two senior administration officials.

The proposed rule will reverse standards enacted under former president Barack Obama that require oil and gas operations to install controls on their operations to curb the release of methane at the well head and in their transmission equipment, including pipelines, processing and storage facilities.

I just had a debate with a friend over the fugitive Methane problem, which is why these numbers are already in my head: We've got 2.4 million miles of pipelines in the U.S. alone, and some 1.1 million active oil & gas wells in some stage of operation. This rule was a critical step in reducing greenhouse gases, but Trump doesn't care about any of that. He's like an angry toddler breaking some other kid's toys:

Thursday News: Swing-state activities

BIDEN & BETO MAKE PIT STOPS IN CHARLOTTE: Biden spoke at a fundraiser at the home of Erskine and Crandall Bowles. Erskine Bowles is the former UNC system president and served as President Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff. Crandall Bowles was CEO at S.C.-based Springs Industries. Costs for attending the Charlotte fundraiser ranged from $1,000 to $2,800, the Observer reported in early August. O’Rourke met crowds at a town hall at Armored Cow Brewing in the University area. Biden is leading in national polls, with the support of 32% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning Independent voters surveyed in two different polls released Wednesday. O’Rourke trails with 1% support in the Quinnipiac University Poll, and 2% support in the USA Today Suffolk University Poll.
https://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/election/article234440822.html

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