This week, the North Carolina Chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP-North Carolina) announced its Legislative Goals for the 2013-14 legislative biennium. The Regular Session convened briefly on January 9th to adopt rules and organize the session but will reconvene on Wednesday, January 30th.
When it comes to advancing the free market agenda, no state has a better opportunity this year than North Carolina. We believe that we have a genuine opportunity to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit in North Carolina with lower taxes and regulations to make government less entangling and burdensome to North Carolinians. We will aggressively promote the opportunities of cheaper energy, quality educational choices, leaner and less burdensome government, and lower taxes.
Please remember that AFP deals only with issues of economic freedom, school choice, and property rights. There are other important issues that face North Carolinians which fall outside of our mission.
We hope you will stand with us once again to promote the following goals:
- Passage of the state budget without tax increases;
- Lower overall tax burden in North Carolina;
- Support for Constitutional Spending Limits that could include: Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) that would limit government spending to the increase in population and inflation and/or legislative supermajority requirement to raise taxes;
- Keeping North Carolina as a “Right-to-work State,” by implementing it into the state constitution along with the state’s ban on public employee collective bargaining;
- Dedicating all North Carolina Education Lottery revenue to school construction; or support ending all state-run gambling;
- Elimination of North Carolina’s Estate Tax – also called the “Death Tax”;
- Promotion of legislation that allows for the exploration and production of North Carolina’s energy resources;
- Advocating a “rollback” of North Carolina’s Renewable Portfolio Standard;
- Blocking the creation of a North Carolina Healthcare Exchange;
- Allowing the purchase of health insurance from any state;
- Passage of legislation to get the state of North Carolina out of the liquor business;
- Ending all “welfare for politicians,” known as taxpayer-funded elections;
- Protecting free and political speech rights by deregulating campaign speech;
- Ending the Golden Leaf Foundation;
- Converting the Tax Credit for Children with Disabilities into a refundable tax credit;
- Increasing the number of non-public school choice options available to parents;
- Repeal of the corporate income tax and elimination of all corporate welfare;
- Simplifying and lowering individual income taxes;
- Promoting the elimination of redundant committees and commissions in order to shrink the size of government in North Carolina;
- Expanding recently passed tort reforms, including “loser pays”; and
- In general, greatly reducing the regulatory burden on businesses and citizens.
On behalf of everyone that makes up the North Carolina Values Coalition and the 61% of North Carolina voters who voted for the Marriage Amendment last May, the North Carolina Values Coalition has filed an Amicus Brief with the United States Supreme Court to defend North Carolina’s definition of marriage.
California’s marriage amendment and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will go before the Supreme Court this Spring, and experts speculate these cases could be the deciding opinion on marriage and the ability of government to redefine marriage.
“The Court should not dismantle liberties of conscience and religious freedom by re-defining marriage to include same-sex ‘marriage,’ said Tami Fitzgerald, Executive Director of the North Carolina Values Coalition. “This would have a catastrophic impact on those who cannot conscientiously embrace it.
Since Attorney General Roy Cooper has not filed a brief in defense of our Marriage Amendment, we have filed this Amicus Brief to ensure the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court hear the voice of the 61% of North Carolina voters who supported marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
By Susan Bryant, Chairman, Wake County Republican Party
It’s Tax filing time, and when you file your IRS and North Carolina Tax returns, I am asking that you DO NOT check off the box that sends public funds to political parties!
From the time it began in the 1970’s, I have been opposed to public financing of political campaigns. This includes the years I made my living as a campaign consultant, and could therefore have pocketed some of the money involved myself. I consider my position one of the most selfless and altruistic I have ever espoused. But seriously, why should taxpayers’ money go to pay for politicians’ bumper strips when we are running up trillions of dollars of debt?
So I’ve been against all public financing schemes, the Presidential check-off, the many various proposals for financing Congressional campaigns that have been floated over the year, and, yes, the North Carolina check-off law, too. Now that we have a Republican legislature, I think elimination of the Political Parties Financing Fund ought to be a major part of the campaign reform bill they pass, along with Voter ID and a number of other changes that are needed.
Not all of the reports have been filed yet, but last year, more than $2 million was doled out by the state to the three recognized political parties, with by far the largest share going to the Democrats, who got over a million and a half. Some of the Democrat money (as Francis DeLuca pointed out in a Civitas Review article last April,) went to pay for the settlement the Dems paid to cover up the allegation of sexual harassment.
Doing away with the check-off fund would also make it unnecessary for Republicans to wrestle with the choice between honor and political expediency. Assuming they don’t get it repealed in time for the 2012 tax returns we’re all dealing with now, I will decline to say yes to wasteful spending again, hopefully for the last time, at least at our state level. I hope you will, too.
Democrats argue that public financing will cut down on political clout by fat cats and other special interests, but doesn’t that go against their basic philosophy of “soak the rich?” When they check the box, they are taking $3 out of the funds that would otherwise go to education, mental health and other worthy causes in the state budgets and give it to the politicians. How did that ever get to be the policy of the party of the “little guy,” anyway?
I don’t believe those precious dollars should go to politicians, but rather should go to the education of our children, homeless veterans and other worthy causes. And I encourage all who want to contribute to a political party to do so…and for you Republicans, I’m including a link to do so for either the North Carolina GOP or the Wake County GOP.
Senators Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson), Harry Brown (R-Onslow) and Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg) filed Senate Bill 4 to exempt North Carolina from establishing a state-based health insurance exchange or a state-federal partnership exchange.
The bill also directs the N.C. Department of Insurance to return unspent taxpayer funds awarded by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services earlier this month to create a state-federal partnership exchange.
“Obamacare was forced on us against our will by the federal government, and they should shoulder the burden of implementing it,” said Sen. Apodaca. “Any claim that North Carolina would ‘control’ this program is nothing more than an illusion.”
Senate Bill 4 also rules out expansion of the North Carolina Medicaid program. In its 2012 decision on Obamacare, the U.S. Supreme Court exempted states from the federal mandate to expand Medicaid eligibility. Based on the court’s ruling, North Carolina has the authority to opt out of expansion.
Costs for North Carolina’s existing Medicaid program have increased significantly in recent years. In 2012, the General Assembly was forced to fill a surprise Medicaid shortfall that totaled more than $500 million. Recent figures from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services indicate that an expansion of the program would add hundreds of millions of dollars in additional state costs to North Carolina’s Medicaid budget through 2019.
“Senate Republicans are committed to ensuring every North Carolinian receives the highest quality health care and outcomes,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). “Saddling our citizens with the enormous costs of a new federal bureaucracy and entitlements is simply not the way to achieve this goal.”
Under Obamacare, each state must have in place a health exchange where individuals and small businesses, which are now mandated to have insurance, can purchase health care coverage. There are three options: a state-run exchange, a state-federal partnership exchange and a federally-run exchange. Senate leaders have spent months evaluating the implications of each type of exchange.
In November 2012, former Gov. Beverly Perdue prematurely declared her intent to establish a state-federal partnership exchange – three months before the deadline for the state to make this declaration – while at the same time applying for $73.9 million dollars in federal grant funding to set up the new government program.
1:00 p.m. The Republican National Committee has reconvened and only one candidate has qualified to run, Reince Piebus. He is being nominated and seconded.
You may follow the proceedings live on C-SPAN.
Since no other nominations qualify, rule 5-B says that they close nominations and stand for voting. Only three people voted against him, assuring him of re-election. Congratulations to Chairman Priebus.
In his acceptance speech, he called this overwhelming support, “a great honor.”
Renew, Grow, Win is the theme of the meeting and is his agenda for the next two years.
1:16 We must train activists and volunteers with modern tools. (We will have more details of the speech soon.
1:33 Sharon Day is being nominated for a second term as Co-Chairman of the RNC.
1:40 After four seconding speech, Sharon Day was elected, un-opposed, as Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee. She wants to lead a principled path to reach every single voter. Lead a path that every single American knows is right.
The convention next elected Treasurer, Tony Parker, and Secretary Demetra DeMonte, unanimously, as was Sharon Day.
NC National Committeewoman Ada Fisher thanked everyone for coming down to North Carolina.
2:00 After a few final announcements, the meeting was adjourned.
CHARLOTTE: Friday, January, 25, 2013
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11:00 After a series of morning meetings and regional breakfasts, the meeting has been called to order by Republican National Committee Chairman (RNC) Reince Priebus.
Committeeman David Lewis of NC gave the Invocation. Committeewoman Ada Fisher lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
This writer spoke with NC Chairman, Robin Hayes this morning before the meeting. Unfortunately, he had to leave and gave his voting proxy to Dr. Fisher.
At 1:00 today, C-SPAN will broadcast live from this event.
Possible controversies: Chairman Reince Priebus could be challenged by a Ron Paul follower from Maine. NC Committeewoman Ada Fisher stated in an interview that she would support the re-election of Chairman Priebus.
NC Chairman Hayes mention that he did not have enough states to qualify to run in this race, will may hamper the Maine candidate’s chances.
Currently, there are about 8 people protesting outside the Westin Hotel. Perhaps the extreme cold has kept their numbers down. Meanwhile, there are a number of college students in the audience who, instead of going to class this week, have chosen to follow the proceedings, here. They appear to be interested in learning how the party works.
The Meeting has adjourned for lunch. The election of officers, will take place after they reconvene at 1:00.
This concludes this post. See Part II after lunch.
More than 500 people came out to support homeless Veterans recently at a benefit for the group Veterans Leadership of North Carolina – Cares (VLC). The “Salute to North Carolina Veterans” raised $250,000, according to a spokesman for the group.
Many purchased tickets and gave them to active duty military or veterans, who attended in their places.
The benefit was organized to raise funds for the Veterans Life Center, a temporary housing facility for up to 400 homeless and at-risk Veterans. The ultimate goal of the group is to reintegrate NC Vets into society as self-reliant citizens.
In addition to the needy Veterans, the night belonged to Governor Pat McCrory. McCrory was sworn-into office earlier in the day in a small ceremony and this was his first official outing in that office.
The Governor was introduced by Captain Tina Shanahan (USN-RC), wife of McCrory Cabinet Secretary Kieran Shanahan.
In his first address as Governor, Pat McCrory discussed the man who he’d most wished most had been at the inauguration he called “emotional”. In discussing his grandfather Walter McCrory, his voice grew soft. Walter McCrory fought in World War I and when it was over, he said he never wanted to see war again. His life had changed because of his experiences.
The Governor also discussed his own father’s involment in Vietnam. His father worked hard, saw horrible things, and when he came home, he thought he’d done a good thing. Yet he was spat on and had to go back to his home in Seattle dealing with the protests on the west coast in such places as Berkley.
He wants the Veterans to be a part of NC’s economic recovery. You can look at these people and pick out potential leaders: you name it, they can do anything. ”If you don’t mind, I’m using you,” he said to a chuckle from the crowd.
McCrory also stated that he wanted his first event to be non-partisan. He encouraged all business owners to say thank you to our Veterans by employing them. He urged his audience to go back and say thank you and say “lets get these people jobs”.
In previous wars, such as the those his father and grandfather fought, non of those men had any psychological treatment. Today, we must take off our blinders and help these service men and women because they have seen the same thing.
He wants the Veterans to be a part of NC’s economic recovery. ”You can look at these people and pick out potential leaders: you name it, they can do anything,” the Governor added.
He finished his remarks, greeted well-wishers, and departed, shortly before the dinner began.
After dinner an auctioneer started auctioning high-end items that had been donated to help raise money for the cause. In total, the dinner brought in $250,000.
To learn more about the VLC, visit their website.
With the beginning of the new year, more of the provisions of Democrats’ massive, unpopular health care law are going into effect and news reports are, again, popping up illustrating all the negative impacts on health care this ill-conceived law will have.
The New York Times reported last week, “Health insurance companies across the country are seeking and winning double-digit increases in premiums for some customers, even though one of the biggest objectives of the Obama administration’s health care law was to stem the rapid rise in insurance costs for consumers. Particularly vulnerable to the high rates are small businesses and people who do not have employer-provided insurance and must buy it on their own. In California, Aetna is proposing rate increases of as much as 22 percent, Anthem Blue Cross 26 percent and Blue Shield of California 20 percent for some of those policy holders, according to the insurers’ filings with the state for 2013.”
Politico adds today, “If you work for a small business, your next health insurance premium may give you sticker shock. Many of the small-business and individual insurance policies are working the health reform law’s 2014 fees into their 2013 bills, contributing to double-digit premium increases for some people. All those new consumer benefits packed into the health reform law — birth control without a co-pay, free preventive care and limits on when insurers can turn down a customer — had to be paid for somehow.”
“Insurers say they have no choice but to increase premiums to cover those costs,” Politico writes. “But it’s hitting pocketbooks sooner than some people expected, and that’s causing controversy. Everyone, even many of the law’s supporters, admit premiums are going to go up under the health law — although many people will get subsidies to help pay for coverage. Many of the costs — and the priciest benefits — were pushed beyond the 2012 election to 2014. But if the public revolts when they see 10 percent,15 percent or 20 percent rate hikes, already shaky support for the health law could suffer. . . . Now, insurers are being proactive, arguing the health law is driving the increase in prices. ‘There’s a massive new health insurance tax that starts in 2014,’ said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for industry group America’s Health Insurance Plans. ‘For policies that are sold in 2013 and extend into next year, there’s going to be taxes imposed. … As a result, like all taxes, they will be reflected in premiums charged.’”
Meanwhile, the health care law is already resulting in cutbacks at health providers and is likely to hurt job creation in the years to come. In a story titled, “Delaware Hospice lays off 52 workers amid federal changes,” the Delaware News Journalwrites, “Delaware Hospice’s Chief Executive Officer Susan Lloyd said Wednesday the nonprofit healthcare provider has laid off 52 workers in a restructuring necessitated by shrinking federal reimbursements. The job cuts, which carve significantly into the organizations 400-member staff, impact jobs in all departments in Delaware, and in Delaware and Chester counties in Pennsylvania, Lloyd said. . . . . Lloyd said the cuts were unavoidable and represent a national trend of providers adapting to changes in health care reimbursement. . . . ‘The decision was not made lightly and it is a direct result of a consequential decline in census and the need to position the organization to meet additional changes and challenges that the hospice industry anticipates with health care reform.’”
And USA Today reported recently, “Many businesses plan to bring on more part-time workers next year, trim the hours of full-time employees or curtail hiring because of the new health care law, human resource firms say. Their actions could further dampen job growth, which already is threatened by possible federal budget cutbacks resulting from the tax increases and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff. ‘It will have a negative impact on job creation’ in 2013, says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics. Under the Affordable Care Act, businesses that employ at least 50 full-time workers — or the equivalent, including part-time workers — must offer health insurance to staffers who work at least 30 hours a week. Employers that don’t provide coverage must pay a $2,000-per-worker penalty, excluding the first 30 employees.”
Republicans warned about all these consequences as Obamacare was being debated, but Democrats and President Obama ignored them and the disapproval of the American people. In December 2009, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, “It’s abundantly clear that the more Americans learn about this bill, the more they oppose it. And now we know the same goes for businesses. Businesses that can’t insure workers face stiff fines, resulting in lost wages and jobs, according to the independent Congressional Budget Office. What’s more, studies suggest that this so-called employer mandate would have a disproportionate impact on low-income, entry-level workers. At a time of [high] unemployment, we should be doing everything we can to create jobs. This bill would only lead to more lost jobs.”
And the night Democrats jammed the bill through the Senate, Leader McConnell said “[H]ere’s the reality: the Democrat bill we’re voting on tonight raises health care costs. That’s not me talking — that’s the administration’s own budget scorekeeper. It raises premiums — that’s the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office talking. It raises taxes on tens of millions of middle class Americans. . . . It forces people off the plans they have — including millions of seniors.”
This terrible legislation still needs to be repealed and replaced, but until then it will unfortunately continue to raise premiums, raise health care costs, hurt care, and hurt jobs.
Raleigh Republican Dan Forest, became North Carolina’s newest Lt. Governor on Monday. He was sworn into office by Associate Supreme Court Justice, Paul Newby.
Joined his wife Alice, elected officials, family, and invited guests, the private ceremony was held in the Old Senate chambers on Capitol Square in downtown Raleigh.
Forest’s mother, former Congresswoman Sue Myrick, sat on the front row and watched proudly as her son promised to abide by North Carolina law.
According to the Associated Press:
Forest said he’s eager to join (Governor Pat) McCrory and fellow Republicans who now control the General Assembly in transforming state government. Forest says he hopes his fellow GOP leaders will be bold in removing regulations from businesses and in reducing taxes including possibly eliminating income taxes paid by individuals and corporations. He also hopes lawmakers will revolutionize education and open the exploration and production of energy.
Forest is an architect who holding his first public office. Monday, he became the first Lt. Governor of North Carolina since Jim Gardner. Gardner, of Rocky Mount, took office in 1989.
On his first official workday in office, newly minted Governor Pat McCrory got down to business. He signed his first executive order and named three more appointments to his leadership team.
His first act was to rescind one of his predecessors executive orders which was to have a panel pick vacant statewide judicial positions. In Executive Order 1, he will do it directly.
At his first press conference this morning, the governor expressed concern over the state’s exploding budget and warned agency directors to watch their bottom lines.
Additonally, he discussed the state’s Information Technology (IT) infrastructure, calling it antiquated and out-of-date. He had specific worries about the computers in Health and Human Services.
Finally, he named three more to positions of political importance:
Tony Almeida as Senior Advisor to the governor for Jobs and the Economy, Fred Steen as the governor’s Legislative Liaison and Chris Estes as State Chief Information Officer.
Tuesday evening, the Governor will be in his predecessor’s (and this blogger’s) hometown of New Bern, greeting constituents. Katy’s Conservative Corner will be there and have the story for you, as well as other stories of the day and from the past weekend.