Carolina Journal’s Dan Way reports here on the ramifications of who filed to run for the General Assembly — and who didn’t.
Incumbent members of the General Assembly appear to be the major winners of that weak candidate turnout.
Twelve Senate incumbents appear to have won re-election because they have no primary opponents and no candidates filed from an opposing party. Another 24 Senate incumbents have no primary opposition and will advance to the Nov. 6 general election.
Forty-three House incumbents will win re-election automatically, barring write-in opponents or unaffiliated candidates who petition to be on the ballot, because they had no opposition from their own party, and no candidates filing to run in the other party’s primaries. Another 48 will have no primary opponents.
Curtis Riskey, president of the Christian Booksellers Association, writes a very good column about the critical U.S. Supreme Court case, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, which centers around the ObamaCare mandate that seeks to force Hobby Lobby to pay for abortion-inducing drugs for its employees — which violates the owners’ religious beliefs.
For hundreds of years, Christian-owned companies have been woven into the fabric of our community life, not only from a religious perspective but also from a values-driven desire to do good and bear one another’s burdens. Many of these companies support food programs and homeless outreach services, adoption support, crisis pregnancy centers, prison rehabilitation programs, women’s shelters, rescue missions and many other community services. They contribute to social care and promote the moral values of their faith by contributing selflessly to the community. Frankly, the America we have known and love wouldn’t be the same without them.
With their values-driven outreach, Christian-owned businesses have demonstrated the positive economics and moral stability in a capitalistic system that is good for America.
Capitalism when guided by the values of a Christian-owned business is a part of what makes America exceptional.
I believe the writer’s conclusion is true, but I also believe every American has the right to believe that is not true. The freedom to believe — or not to believe — is fundamental to who we are as Americans — at least until ObamaCare. If the Obama administration prevails in this religious freedom case, there will be no limit to government’s power to mandate its values over yours.
Thirteen candidates will appear on the May 6 primary ballot for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Kay Hagan. With the filing period officially closed, eight Republicans, three Democrats, and two Libertarians had made the list compiled by the State Board of Elections.
Hagan filed for re-election earlier this week. She faces a challenge from fellow Democrats Will Stewart of Hampstead and Ernest Reeves of Greenville.
The eight Republicans seeking the GOP nomination are:
– Ted Alexander of Shelby
– Greg Brannon of Cary
– Alex Bradshaw of Icard
– Heather Grant of Wilkesboro
– Mark Harris of Raleigh
– Edward Kryn of Clayton
– Jim Snyder of Lexington
– Thom Tillis of Cornelius
Two Libertarian Party members will face off for their party’s nomination. Sean Haugh of Durham and Tim D’Annunzio of Raeford both filed for the seat on Wednesday.
Wake County Commissioner Tony Gurley has accepted a job as the chief operating officer for the Office of State Budget and Management. The news release from Gov. McCrory’s office is below.
Raleigh, NC - The Office of Governor Pat McCrory announced today that Tony Gurley will be serving as the chief operating officer for the Office of State Budget and Management.
“Tony’s experience as a county commissioner, entrepreneur, pharmacist and attorney provides a well-rounded perspective that’s needed to manage a budget of this size and level of complexity,” said Governor McCrory. “His expertise will strengthen our efforts to streamline state government and improve operational efficiency.”
Gurley has served on the Wake County Board of Commissioners since 2002, including as chairman. He also served as the chief operating officer of In-Office Pharmacy in Durham and as a pharmacy consultant.
Prior to this role, Gurley was the owner and manager of Gurley’s Pharmacy Inc. He was an attorney at Gurley & Cookson, having received his law degree from North Carolina Central University. Gurley is also a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and a master’s degree in pharmacy administration.
Conservative icons such as Ronald Reagan, Barry Goldwater, and Milton Friedman would have appreciated some of the North Carolina General Assembly’s key accomplishments in 2013. That’s the assessment of John Locke Foundation President John Hood, who discussed this with me in a recent edition of Carolina Journal Radio.
Martinez: Let’s talk a little bit more about the specific idea, then, of the tax reform that has occurred. How will North Carolinians benefit from what the legislature has done?
Hood: Previously, North Carolina had a progressive rate tax structure, rates of 6 percent, 7 percent, and 7.5 percent. There was actually even a fourth rate for a while, of 8.25 percent. And these are fairly high income tax rates by Southern standards. Most of our neighbors didn’t have as high rates, or even any income tax in a couple of cases.
And so the proposal from the legislature — and Gov. [Pat] McCrory supported and signed the legislation — was to create a single rate. It’ll be at 5.75 percent when fully implemented. That will be lower than all the previous rates, so everybody gets a rate reduction in North Carolina regardless of income. And that rate is lower now than most of our surrounding states.
The idea there is to make North Carolina more competitive, to create more growth and more job opportunities, and to let people keep more of what they earn. This is not just a tax reform; it is a tax reduction. And usually you have to do those two things together. Sometimes you hear, “Well, we should reform the tax code and generate more money,” meaning a higher tax burden out of it. Or that it ought to be revenue-neutral.
You can understand why some people think that, but you’ve got to remember that tax reform is inevitably a process of taking some special benefits away from some people. The reason the tax code is so goofed up is because there are very active lobbies pressing for special breaks, special advantages. And any sensible tax reform will take those away and treat everybody the same. If you’re going to do that, politically, you need a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. So you’ve got to give people — almost everybody — a break, so that the people who lose something from tax reform will not prevail.
Martinez: John, when a company looks at locating in North Carolina, what do the executives look at when it comes to the tax code? Are they just looking at the corporate rate, or are they trying to figure out what it’s going to cost their employees to live in the state? What do they look at when they start comparing?
Hood: It depends upon the situation. Lots of smaller companies, people setting up new companies, they might not even organize themselves in ways that would subject their business earnings to corporate tax. So they might just be looking at the personal income tax rate. Pretty much all corporate managers, corporate executives, look at the personal income tax rate in addition to the corporate rate because they’re going to pay it, and they want to know about that. And they want to think about recruiting high-level talent and whether the tax burden will be a turnoff or a turnon in that process.
So when the giants of conservative tax philosophy were thinking about tax reform, they were thinking about this very issue: What is the most efficient way to collect the money the government needs in a way that does not discourage economic investment? And the flat tax is at the top of that list. North Carolina now has a flat tax. Most states don’t, so this is a competitive edge for us, and it’s something that I think Ronald Reagan and other conservative icons would be very proud of North Carolina for doing.
The hardship and additional costs imposed on hard-working Americans by ObamaCare continues. A Florida restaurant chain has posted a sign on its doors alerting its customers to the devastating impact of ObamaCare to explain why an ObamaCare tax is being added to every customer bill.
“The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors,” the sign reads. “Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator’s Dockside locations have implemented a 1% surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.”
The company employs a total of 500 people, with about half working full-time. Currently only management receives health benefits, but the restaurant will have to offer coverage to all full-timers once the mandate takes effect. The fee will allow the company to continue offering full-time hours to many workers, according to Sandra Clark, the group’s director of operations.
“I’m just trying to keep the employees I have that I’ve worked hard to train,” Clark said.
For how much longer will Big Government liberals close their eyes to this misery and continue to defend this terrible policy?
Stay updated on ObamaCare’s impact, and learn why it must be replaced by a consumer-driven model for health insurance/health care delivery. Follow the analysis of JLF’s health and human services analyst, Katherine Restrepo.
From the Washington Examiner, which obtained e-mails related to ObamaCare that showed serious concerns prior to the disastrous rollout of the disastrous ObamaCare expressed by HHS official Anton Gunn.
HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters side-stepped questions about why Gunn said the White House was in “disarray on healthcare” on May 1 and expressed a need for a “Come to Jesus meeting” with staff.
“As we have said many times, the Affordable Care Act is more than a website, and in the months leading up to October 1, we worked collaboratively across the administration to get the word out about enrollment through education and outreach efforts, such as travel by principals, online chats, media interviews and coordination with partners on the ground,” she told the Washington Examiner.
Peters last week also would not say whether Sebelius or HHS staff were continuing to solicit private donations to help Enroll America promote the president’s health care law as the administration works to boost enrollment figures.
ObamaCare — terrible policy before the rollout, terrible policy today. To follow the very latest on ObamaCare’s real-world impact, read the analysis of JLF’s health and human services analyst, Katherine Restrepo.
Anyone who tries to renovate a home in Chapel Hill will run into a maze of costly and confusing regulations. The impact of these government rules has gotten so bad that local realtors have considered forming a task force to try to get the town’s attention.
To real estate agent Larry Tollen, getting a permit for a home renovation in Chapel Hill is always a new experience.
And Tollen is a veteran home renovator.
“Every time I have to get something permitted, I get the impression that no one has ever done a renovation before,” he said. “It’s like the process is being designed for you from scratch every time.”
Chapel Hill is run by public officials who believe government should play a dominant role in our lives. You see the result. This is a great example of why the Locke Foundation focuses on the need for regulatory reform. The realtors should be pushing Chapel Hill to justify its renovation regulations and to tell the public specifically which “harms” the government is seeking to prevent.
Meantime, at the state level, we are fortunate the new legislative majority is very concerned about regulations’ impact on business and the public, and has, in fact, moved on reforms, as JLF’s Becki Gray describes here.
But even with comprehensive tax reform, business owners tell us that the regulatory burden in North Carolina discourages business investment and expansion. Again, starting in 2011, the General Assembly began unraveling the complicated, outdated, and oppressive regulations that have been strangling our economy.
Administrative rules may be made by unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats, but they carry the same form, punch, and penalties as laws. Every regulation imposes a cost on someone. Businesses pass higher costs along to customers, affecting our overall economy. Many rules are outdated, unnecessary, burdensome, and inconsistent with regulatory principles or legislative intent.
Touted as the most important business bill this year, the 2013 regulatory reform requires government agencies to review their rules periodically and determine if they are still needed. Those that are not will expire. Rules that work and are fair will stay on the books. All new rules will come with a built-in sunset date — ensuring regular review and justification.
Review and justification — that is the key.
The Weekly Standard has the story of what evidently is a new strategy being used by Leftists in support of ObamaCare.
There appears to be a new Obamacare strategy on the left: to tell people their Obamacare horror stories are made up. First, Harry Reid said, ”Despite all that good news, there’s plenty of horror stories being told. All of them are untrue, but they’re being told all over America.”
Now, Progress Now Colorado says in an email to supporters, “Don’t believe the hype: Obamacare is working.” And the liberal group is saying an Obamacare horror story isn’t “true.”
Oh for goodness sake, grow up. Some people are benefitting from ObamaCare, while many, many others are being hurt.
If you’re like me, you’re in the middle of the tax filing process. Taxes are necessary to fund core services we can’t reasonably be expected to provide on our own. You notice I write “core” services. That, of course, is where the debate begins about the role of government, and it is where the John Locke Foundation plays a significant role in defending freedom and pushing back against government involvement in areas that fall outside “core” services. I hope you’ll think about the concept of “core” services as you focus on your personal tax burden for 2013. And I hope you’ll realize that the fiscally conservative majority in the General Assembly has taken a big step on our behalf by passing tax reform AND tax reduction. John Hood explains why the legislative majority deserves our thanks for standing up for freedom and families.
North Carolina’s 2013 tax package fits this definition of successful tax reform. A new study of its effects, published by the John Locke Foundation with the assistance of the Massachusetts-based Beacon Hill Institute, shows thatthe average household at every income level will pay lower state taxes in 2014 and beyond than they would otherwise have paid.
The total tax burden will drop by about $150 million a year for households with incomes below $50,000. For those with incomes between $50,000 and $100,000, the net tax savings will approach $140 million a year. Upper-middle-income and wealthy taxpayers will get significant tax relief, as well, reflecting the fact that they were previously paying the highest marginal income tax rate, 7.75 percent, which will drop two full points to the new flat rate of 5.75 percent.
This is only the beginning of the story, however. For one thing, 2013 wasn’t the first year of spirited debate about state taxes. Two years earlier, when Democrat Bev Perdue was governor and Republicans had just taken over the General Assembly, Democrats proposed to extend most or all of a one-cent sales tax they had originally enacted in 2009 as “temporary.” Republicans refused. If Perdue and the Democrats had gotten their way, poor and middle-class North Carolinians would be shouldering as much as $400 million a year in higher sales taxes today. Where were liberal journalists and activists in 2011? In favor of the Democratic plan, of course.
Anyone familiar with the past three decades North Carolina tax policy would know that Democrats have repeatedly raised state and local sales tax rates while Republicans have opposed those hikes. To claim otherwise is to reveal either ignorance or dishonesty.
Another reason why the nearly $300 million in net tax cuts for poor and middle-income North Carolinians in the 2013 tax package is only the beginning of the story is that it doesn’t include the dynamic effect on the state’s economy. Empirical research suggests that the lower tax rates will make North Carolina a more attractive place to invest, start businesses, and create jobs over the next few years.
McCrory and the legislature didn’t tax average folks more to fund tax cuts for the rich. They crafted a tax reform with broad fiscal and economic benefits for the vast majority of North Carolinians.