Cope: Governor choosing business over families

I interviewed Dana Cope for this week’s Political Connections this afternoon. He’s the executive director with the State Employee’s Association of North Carolina (SEANC). He was on the show to talk about the governor’s budget proposal.

He essentially said the governor has put the state on a race to the bottom. He believes the governor has chosen corporate welfare and the business community over North Carolina’s working families.

Cope says his group will carry out a campaign to show where tax payer dollars are going and where they should go instead.

He also talked some about the issue in Wisconsin where state employees are protesting the governor’s proposal to curb the employees rights to collective bargaining. North Carolina law prevents state employees from collective bargaining.

The interview airs on Political Connections this Friday night at 6pm and Sunday at 11am!

-Tim Boyum

Perdue meets with UNCW leaders for input on budget proposal

Governor Perdue will make a stop in the Port City Monday. At 10 a.m. she will visit UNC Wilmington and meet with UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo and NC Small Business Commissioner Scott Daugherty. We hear she wants to get their input on the budget proposal. She also wants to discuss the economy and ways to recruit jobs. Perdue is traveling across the state and hosting a series of business roundtable discussions. We will be at the UNCW discussion and bring you more details throughout the day.

-Julie Fertig, News 14 Carolina Coastal Reporter

ON JONES STREET: Dust settling after budget proposal

The dust is settling one day after Governor Bev Perdue released her budget proposal. There is a not a lot of outcry from groups- but some definite concerns. I spoke with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners who say there are big problems with her proposal to “push” some funding obligations down to the local level. It says it will be lobbying hard to convince lawmakers to get rid of that when they approve a final spending plan.
Meanwhile, Perdue has hit the road today to try to “sell” her budget proposals to newspapers and people across the state. She is meeting with editorial boards and making some public appearances to talk about her spending plan.
She says when she is done with this tour- she will head back to Raleigh to decide what to do about Senate Bill 13. As late as yesterday, Perdue says she is still considering it- but always adds the caveat that she does NOT like the section about clawing back dollars from several state incentives funds.
She has until next Wednesday to decide what to do. Any thoughts on whether or not this will be Perdue’s first veto of this legislative session?

Wilmington city councilors meet to make cuts to budget

Wilmington city councilors gathered Friday to work on trimming the fat from the city’s budget. The city faces close to a $7 million shortfall. Councilors say they are hoping to avoid cutting positions or implementing furlough days on city workers. Councilors are considering revamping the city’s parking meter system to help cut costs. This is just a preliminary discussion. Final budget decisions won’t be made for a while.

-Julie Fertig, News 14 Carolina Coastal Reporter

Wilmington police chief asks for five more officers

During the Wilmington City Council budget retreat, Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous asked councilors for funds to place five full-time police officers in downtown Wilmington. Currently, only one officer is stationed downtown full-time. Evangelous feels more staffing will help improve the nightlife problems downtown has been experiencing, especially on weekdays after 11 p.m. and weekends.

-Julie Fertig, News 14 Carolina Coastal Reporter

New feature, big guests on tonight’s Political Connections

On Jones Street premieres tonight on a big time episode of Political Connections. Senior Political Reporter Loretta Boniti will give us a more indepth look or behind the scenes look at the legislature and its people each week. She does a great job reporting on a daily basis so we are really excited to see this extended look.

If that wasn’t enough, we have both the Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis in studio! Typically, I like to have a republican and democrat to even out, however with brand new leadership I felt it was important to get the top two leaders in studio as soon as possible. Believe me, we will have plenty of response from democrats through the session. I don’t want to give away all the good stuff but let’s just say Speaker Tillis is very candid. He makes no apologies about the closed door caucus meetings involving lobbyists. He also has some interesting stuff to say about the relationship between GOP leaders and the governor. While there are big philosophical differences, it appears they still plan to try and work together. In fact, there is talk of meeting in person once a week once budget negotiations begin.

Check it out Friday night at 6pm and Sunday at 11am. See you then!

Port City looks to the ‘Big Easy’ for growth strategies

The President and CEO of the Downtown Development District in New Orleans Kurt Weigle makes a trip to the Port City.

Weigle will speak to hundreds of Wilmington city and business leaders during a luncheon. He’s responsible for adopting and implementing the Canal Street Development Strategy, resulting in millions of dollars of new residential and retail investments.

Wilmington Downtown Inc President John Hinnant said he’ll be listening closely to Weigle’s advice as the Port City has a lot of similar qualities to the New Orleans including infrastructure, architecture and a hurricane prone environment.

Gov. Perdue to unveil budget proposal

Big day in budget news Thursday. We will carry Governor Perdue’s budget release live Thursday at 10 a.m. Republican leaders will be having their response later in the afternoon so make sure to check back for that reaction.

It will be interesting to see if she continues the temporary taxes that were supposed to expire. She also promised to keep all state funded teachers. How does she pay for that and what gets cut because of it?

The other big items will be amount of jobs lost, the impact on social services, what gets consolidated, and does she include video poker/gaming legalization?

Should be a big day so don’t miss our coverage!

Convention Countdown – A gift from Charlotte

The Charlotte in 2012 committee proposed this interesting question: If you had to pick just one gift from Charlotte to give to out-of-town friends or family, what would it be and why?

Some of the suggestions so far:
• A bag of shredded money- financial center
• Miniature light house
• Barbecue
• Fried pickles
• Moravian cookies
• Lance Crackers (Based in Charlotte)
• Carowinds Tickets
• Tickets to NASCAR Hall of Fame
• The Panthers ("they stink anyway)

Personally, I think it’s more of a North Carolina question rather than Charlotte. Maybe, I’m too big of a sports fan, but I’d probably say either a small NASCAR toy or a small basketball with all of our college teams logos on it. Of course, you could always give the Wright brothers model plane.

Convention Countdown – Work under way for DNC

Two weeks after securing the 2012 Democratic National Convention, a lot of work is already underway. Check out some of the buttons this one fan did for the convention. Personally, I like the "We put the NC, in DNC" button.

Buttons are HUGE at these conventions. When I was at the 2008 RNCC in St. Paul, MN, there were button vendors everywhere. All of the media made their own buttons and it was one trade after another. Being a convention newbie, I brought no buttons to trade. I’ll be ready in 2012.

This is just the beginning for entrepreneurs to try and make a profit off the convention.