INSTITUTE INDEX: NC tries to patch frayed social safety net with turnip greens

Turnip greens are delicious and nutritious, but are they a solution to North Carolina's worsening poverty crisis? (Photo by Sue Sturgis.)

Pounds of turnip greens North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) this week announced were being harvested at the state prison farm and delivered to food banks around the state to ease the pain of the federal government shutdown: 6,700

Number of additional deliveries of turnip greens the McCrory administration is planning: 3

Amount in state funds McCrory released to food banks earlier this month during the shutdown, announcing the decision at a press conference where he criticized President Obama and Congress by noting that "real people are being impacted in very real ways" by the standoff: $750,000

The same day McCrory unveiled his plan to send turnip greens to food banks, amount that his budget director, wealthy businessman and GOP mega-donor Art Pope, said his family foundation would donate to various food and medical charities across the state, calling it an effort to "mitigate the effects" of the shutdown: $185,000

Of the six members of Congress from North Carolina* who voted against ending the government shutdown, all Republicans, number to whose campaigns Art Pope has directly contributed: 3**

Under a law passed this year by a Republican supermajority-controlled legislature put in power with Pope's financial help and signed by McCrory, number of low-income North Carolinians who will be denied health care coverage under the Medicaid expansion provision of the federal Affordable Care Act: about 500,000

Under another state law passed this year, amount to which North Carolina's maximum weekly unemployment benefits were cut, from the previous $535: $350

Rank of North Carolina among the states that this year were first to cut unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless: 1

Number of North Carolina workers affected by the cut to long-term unemployment benefits: about 170,000

As a result of the cut, amount in payments those chronically unemployed North Carolinians collectively lost: more than $700 million

During the shutdown, North Carolina's rank among states that were first to cut off food benefits for poor women, infants and children, even though it's one of the worst states for food insecurity among young children: 1

North Carolina's rank among states that were first to cut off the Work First program that helps families in financial crisis: 1

Amount in cash assistance Work First provided to needy North Carolinians in September alone: $4.8 million

Under a law passed by the legislature earlier this year and signed by McCrory, year in which North Carolina will stop offering the state earned income tax credit, created to address a regressive tax system by allowing low-income families whose tax credits exceed what they owe to collect a check from the state: 2014

Percent of North Carolina tax filers who claimed the EITC in the 2011 tax year: 20

Under the state's new Republican tax plan, percent by which taxes on the state's top 1 percent of earners will decrease: 1.1

Percent by which taxes on the state's bottom 20 percent will increase: 0.2

Percent of contributions to a private foundation like Pope's that are tax-deductible: 100

* Renee Ellmers, Virginia Foxx, George Holding, Richard Hudson, Walter Jones, and Mark Meadows.
** Foxx, Holding, and Hudson.

(Click on figure to go to source.)