Current Actions

  • I Pledge to Vote
  • SIGN THE PETITION

    Tell state lawmakers: Ensure that North Carolinians who are doing their best to get by have access to food assistance and job training programs. Sign the petition below.

    SNAP, or food assistance known as FNS, provides the nutritional fuel that people need to build a productive future. Yet North Carolina is reinstating a harsh federal law requiring a time limit on food assistance for nondisabled childless adults threatens that future. As a result, North Carolina may deny up to 100,000 people the help they need to put food on the table over the course of 2016.

    State lawmakers can reverse their decision to permanently ban the state from accessing a waiver from this time limit—and they can invest in job training programs for these vulnerable adults--but convincing them to do so will take pressure from North Carolinians like you, starting right now.

  • Take Action! Tell Governor McCrory and lawmakers to end legal discrimination in NC and repeal HB2

    We can all agree that North Carolina should never tolerate legal discrimination against anyone. Unfortunately, Governor McCrory recently signed HB2, legislation passed by the General Assembly that returns North Carolina to an era where businesses can discriminate against customers and employers can discriminate against workers. 

    Under the North Carolina Constitution, the legislature has the authority to determine what local governments can and cannot do. For decades, however, the General Assembly has provided our municipal and county governments freedom to regulate private businesses in a limited way, including prohibiting discrimination and boosting the wages of the employees of public contractors. The City of Charlotte recently used this authority to pass an important ordinance preventing public and private discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Yet HB2, which was introduced, passed, and signed into law in just 12 hours, permits just this kind of discrimination. Specifically, the bill would:

    • Ban local governments from prohibiting businesses from engaging in any type of discrimination. The draft would effectively overturn Charlotte’s new ordinance, permit private businesses to discriminate against gays, lesbians, and transgendered residents, and prevent local communities from regulating other types of discrimination by private businesses.
    • Enact sweeping new restrictions on the ability of governments to protect workers and raise wages. Public contracts with private businesses have been an important tool used by local governments to raise wages and ensure basic job standards in their community. In an unprecedented overreach, the bill prohibits local governments from considering wages, benefits, and basic job safety standards when awarding public contracts—in effect telling local governments what they can and can’t do with their own money.
    • Eliminate state law remedies for employees who are fired based on their race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap. Specifically, section 3.2 of the bill ended an employee’s private right to sue an employer who fires him or her for any one of these discriminatory reasons. As a result, this leaves employees who are fired simply because they are black or a female or Christian without any effective protections under state law. North Carolina now joins Mississippi as the only state without any state law protecting private sector employees from workplace discrimination

    This legislation is bad news for North Carolina’s economy. It empowers businesses to discriminate and weakens the ability of local governments to raise wages—policies that will do nothing to create jobs or grow an economy that works for everyone.

    Take Action! Tell the General Assembly to stop discrimination and repeal HB2!

  • Take Action! Tell the General Assembly to stop taking away our communities’ freedoms!

    We can all agree that North Carolina’s local governments need more freedom to protect their residents against discrimination, defend workers, and build an economy that benefits everyone in their community.

    Unfortunately, the General Assembly has called a special session this week for the sole purpose of taking these freedoms away from our local communities.

    Under the North Carolina Constitution, the legislature has the authority to determine what local governments can and cannot do. For decades, however, the General Assembly has provided our municipal and county governments freedom to regulate private businesses in a limited way, including prohibiting discrimination and boosting the wages of the employees of public contractors. The City of Charlotte recently used this authority to pass an important ordinance preventing public and private discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

    Yet draft legislation unveiled this morning without any public input takes these freedoms away from our local communities. If it becomes law, the bill would:

    • Ban local governments from prohibiting businesses from engaging in any type of discrimination. The draft would effectively overturn Charlotte’s new ordinance, permit private businesses to discriminate against gay, lesbian, and transgendered residents, and prevent local communities from regulating other types of discrimination by private businesses.
    • Enact sweeping new restrictions on the ability of governments to protect workers and raise wages. Public contracts with private businesses have been an important tool used by local governments to raise wages and ensure basic job standards in their community. In an unprecedented overreach, the bill prohibits local governments from considering wages, benefits, and basic job safety standards when awarding public contracts—in effect telling local governments what they can and can’t do with their own money.
    • Eliminate state law remedies for employees who are fired based on their race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap. If it becomes law, North Carolina will join Mississippi as the only state without any state law protecting private sector employees from workplace discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age or disability. The bill eliminates an employee’s private right of action to sue an employer who fires him or her for a discriminatory reason. 

    This legislation is bad news for North Carolina’s economy. It empowers businesses to discriminate and weakens the ability of local governments to raise wages—policies that will do nothing to create jobs or grow an economy that works for everyone.

    Take Action! Tell the General Assembly to stop taking away our communities’ freedoms!

  • Take Action: Tell candidates to lead on paid leave!
    The national momentum for paid family leave and paid sick days is growing.

    States and local governments across the country are adopting policies that allow working people to take care of themselves and their families in the event of illness, welcome a new baby to the family, or recover from surgery without going broke. 

    Business leaders are also speaking up in support of policies that require employers to provide paid sick and medical leave, and research is clear that paid leave is a smart move for businesses.

    Bills on paid family leave and paid sick days are under consideration in Congress and in the legislatures of several states—including North Carolina's. But if we want paid leave to be a reality, we need to make sure our elected officials know how important this issue is to us as constituents.

    Take Action: Ask candidates for their plans on paid leave!

    The U.S. is one of the only nations in the world without some kind of paid leave policy. We can do better. Election season is upon us, and candidates are taking public positions on a range of issues impacting families. Now that the North Carolina primary is over, it’s time to ask candidates how they plan to address the need for paid leave.
  • SIGN THE PETITION! Tell NCGA that cuts to unemployment insurance have hurt NC families and communities

    After the changes enacted in 2013, North Carolina’s unemployment insurance is providing too little for too short a period to too few of North Carolina’s jobless workers.

    • TOO LITTLE: North Carolina ranks 46th in the nation in its average weekly benefit amount of $233 which monthly would leave a North Carolina family with one adult, one child more than $1,800 short in meeting their basic needs.
    • TOO SHORT: North Carolina ranks last for its average duration of unemployment insurance of just 11 weeks. It is the only state to allow a maximum of just 13 weeks for all jobless workers.
    • TOO FEW: North Carolina ranks last for the number of jobless workers who receive unemployment insurance. Just 11 percent of jobless North Carolinians receive unemployment insurance.

    Tell the North Carolina General Assembly that they must rebalance the unemployment insurance system so that it supports families and communities with too few jobs to ensure that all can work.

    SIGN THE PETITION TODAY!

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell lawmakers that a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit is the best tool to address the tax shift in North Carolina

    Today—just as North Carolinians began paying sales taxes on more services—leaders at the General Assembly held a press conference to praise all of the tax changes they have enacted since 2013. But we know that large income tax cuts over the last couple of years have primarily benefited those who are already well-off and profitable corporations. Combined with the expanded sales tax, this is making North Carolina’s upside-down tax system worse, not better.

    And despite leaderships’ claims that the series of tax changes are pushing more families up the economic ladder, the truth is that more families are struggling to make ends meet while working low-wage jobs. The tax changes have not created an economy that works for everyone.

    If policymakers truly want to address inequities in our state’s tax code, a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would deliver the greatest impact and reach. Instead, lawmakers are considering a proposal to raise the state standard deduction by $2,000. This tax change would reduce the income tax owed by all taxpayers (including millionaires) and does nothing to address the greater share of income that low- and middle-income families pay in sales taxes compared to the wealthy—a worthy goal because state legislators have increased our reliance on the sales tax.

    Help us send a message to state legislators: if they care about the greater tax load that low- and middle-income taxpayers carry, they should put in place a state EITC.

    The refundable state EITC is a more effective tool for promoting equity in North Carolina’s upside-down tax system because it targets working families that earn low-wages and struggle to meet basic needs. Prior to being eliminated in 2014, North Carolina’s EITC reached nearly one million working low-income families and their children. A state EITC has the added benefit of being linked to the federal EITC, one of the nation’s most powerful anti-poverty tools. It has delivered improved outcomes over decades on labor force participation, earnings for workers, and educational attainment, health, and lifetime earnings for children.

    Here are some key points to lift up when you reach out to your legislators to share your perspective on this important policy for North Carolina’s working families, communities and the economy.

    • A refundable state EITC reduces the impact of regressive sales tax on low-income families. In recent years, state lawmakers expanded the sales tax to more goods and services to partially pay for costly income tax cuts. The regressive sales tax hits low-income North Carolinians particularly hard, as they pay a significant share of their income in sales tax and other local taxes. The EITC helps offset the higher tax responsibility they have overall relative to wealthier taxpayers.
    • Reinstating a refundable state EITC at its prior value would cost half the price tag of the proposed increased standard deduction. Increasing the standard deduction as proposed would reduce state revenue by $205 million for tax year 2017 – the actual cost may actually be higher as a result of tax changes passed since 2013. As such, state lawmakers could reinstate a refundable EITC at 5 percent of the federal credit and reach nearly one million working, low-income North Carolinians at half the cost of this proposal.
    • The EITC is widely recognized as one of the most effective anti-poverty tools nationwide, especially for children. There is increased recognition at the national level that the EITC is the best tool to ensure workers keep more of what they earn and in so doing move families out of poverty

    Raising the standard deduction will not halt the tax shift that has taken place in North Carolina and will not help as state policymakers continue to expand the sales tax to more goods and services while cutting income tax rates. Contact your legislators TODAY to let them know that a refundable state EITC is a better way to address our state’s upside-down tax system and would reach low-income workers in each of the state’s 100 counties.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell your policymakers that the tax shift is real and a refundable EITC for North Carolina’s working families is the better choice.

  • TAKE ACTION: Tell lawmakers that a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit is the best tool to address the upside-down tax code in North Carolina

    This week members of the General Assembly’s Revenue Laws Committee were briefed on a proposal to raise the state standard deduction by $2,000. This tax change would reduce the income tax owed by all taxpayers and will not target low- and middle-income taxpayers or address the greater share of their income paid in sales taxes as state policymakers have increased reliance on the sales tax. If policymakers truly want to address inequities in our state’s tax code, a refundable state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) would have a greater impact and reach. 

    Help us send a message to the Revenue Laws Committee: if they care about the greater tax load that low- and middle-income taxpayers carry, they should put in place a state EITC.

    The refundable state EITC is a more effective tool for promoting equity in North Carolina’s upside-down tax system because it targets working families that earn low-wages and struggle to meet basic needs.
    Prior to being eliminated in 2014, North Carolina’s EITC reached nearly one million working low-income families and their children. A state EITC has the added benefit of being linked to the federal EITC, one of the nation’s most powerful anti-poverty tools. It has delivered improved outcomes over decades on labor force participation, earnings for workers, and educational attainment, health, and lifetime earnings for children.

    Here are some key points to lift up when you reach out to members of the Revenue Laws Committee to share your perspective on this important policy for North Carolina’s working families, communities and the economy.

    • A refundable state EITC reduces the impact of regressive sales tax on low-income families. In recent years, state lawmakers expanded the sales tax to more goods and services to partially pay for costly income tax cuts. The regressive sales tax hits low-income North Carolinians particularly hard, as they pay a significant share of their income in sales tax and other local taxes. The EITC helps offset the higher tax responsibility they have overall relative to wealthier taxpayers.
    • Reinstating a refundable state EITC at its prior value would cost half the price tag of the proposed increased standard deduction. Increasing the standard deduction as proposed would reduce state revenue by $205 million for tax year 2017 – the actual cost may actually be higher as a result of tax changes passed since 2013. As such, state lawmakers could reinstate a refundable EITC at 5 percent of the federal credit and reach nearly one million working, low-income North Carolinians at half the cost of this proposal.
    • The EITC is widely recognized as one of the most effective anti-poverty tools nationwide, especially for children. There is increased recognition at the national level that the EITC is the best tool to ensure workers keep more of what they earn and in so doing move families out of poverty.

    Tax changes passed since 2013 that include large income tax cuts that largely benefit the already well-off and profitable corporations have made North Carolina’s upside-down tax system worse. Raising the standard deduction will not halt the tax shift that has taken place in North Carolina. We urge you to contact members of the Revenue Laws Committee TODAY to let them know that a refundable state EITC is a better way to address our state’s upside-down tax system and would reach low-income workers in each of the state’s 100 counties.

    Tell your policymakers that a refundable EITC for North Carolina’s working families is the better choice.

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell Senator Burr to support paid family leave!

    The Family Medical Leave Act turns 23 tomorrow, but too many North Carolinians still can’t get time off when they need it most—when they are faced with chronic illness, when they need to care for a newborn, or when they need to take an ailing grandparent to the doctor.

    Twenty-three years on, nine out of 10 working North Carolinians still lack access to paid family leave through their employers. Those same workers sacrifice wages so they can recover from serious illness or pregnancy, or care for a sick child or parent. And for a low-income family with no paid family leave, going just 3.5 days without wages is equivalent to losing a month’s groceries.

    The U.S. is one of the only nations left in the entire world that doesn’t have some type of paid medical leave policy.
    In this day and age, this is completely unacceptable.

    Fortunately, Congress is currently debating two pieces of legislation that can correct this critical gap in our nation’s employment laws. The Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act (H.R. 1439/S. 786) would provide workers with family medical leave insurance. In exchange for a small premium of less than $5 a week, workers would receive a significant portion of their incomes for up to 12 weeks while they take time off to welcome a newborn or adopted child, recover from pregnancy, or provide care for family members suffering from serious health conditions.

    This bill represents a major step towards ensuring that all workers don’t have to choose between paying bills and recovering from illness, taking care of a newborn or helping an aging parent.

    Last year, Senator Burr voted in support of a non-binding amendment to provide paid sick days for America’s working people, but he has yet to announce his support for the FAMILY Act. Now is the time for Senator Burr to join his colleagues in cosponsoring these important bills.

    Take Action! Ask Senator Burr to co-sponsor the FAMILY Act.

  • SIGN THE PETITION

    The NC Senate has approved putting arbitrary formulas and restrictions into our State Constitution that would make it impossible for lawmakers to respond to the priorities of North Carolinians for quality schools, healthy communities, and vibrant main streets.

    Sign our petition today in opposition to Senate Bill 607 or any other TABOR-type legislation that reduces accountability and makes it impossible for North Carolina policymakers to take care of our state's priorities.

  • TAKE ACTION! Tell lawmakers to increase access to higher education for all NC students

    Late last month, Senator Fletcher Hartsell introduced Senate Bill 463, entitled “Increase Access to Education.” This bill calls for any individual who has attended school in North Carolina for at least three consecutive years immediately prior to graduation and has received a high school diploma from a school within North Carolina or has obtained a general education diploma (GED) issued in North Carolina to receive resident tuition status.  

    Increasing educational opportunities for all North Carolinians is a win for young people and a win for our state. Access to our state’s colleges will prepare an educated workforce that will increase the state’s collective productivity and strengthen economic growth. Enabling all students to attend college will provide young people with the opportunity to pursue their choice of a career, will reduce dropout rates, and strengthen our future tax base.

    TAKE ACTION! Tell your state Representative and Senator to support increasing access to higher education for all NC students by supporting Senate Bill 463.