"What the government gives, it must first take away." -- John Strider Coleman

Newsletter April, 2013

There are a couple bills relative to keeping the Minnesott and Aurora ferries toll free. I sponsored House Bill 62 which keeps the Minnesott and Aurora ferries toll free, but allows the Hatteras and Knotts Island ferries to be tolled. There is another bill which ends tolling for ALL ferries, and allows DOT to raise revenues to support the ferry system by selling naming rights to the ferries and docks, and also allow the sale of concessions on each ferry. It is likely that the tolling issue will be addressed during budget appropriations rather than either of the current bills passing as a stand-alone.

I submitted House Bill 63 which is a sense of the House of Representatives that states that we believe in the US Constitution and the 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms, and that we expect our Congressional delegation to fight to uphold both. There are myriad bills addressing our 2nd Amendment rights (about 16 at last count). It is likely that the best parts of each bill will be presented in an omnibus bill in order to consolidate the issues into one bill.

I currently have an anti-NDAA bill in drafting. It states that those parts of the NDAA which allow the President to assassinate a North Carolinian or imprison a North Carolinian without due process are unconstitutional and will not be tolerated in this State.

An overhaul of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) system was signed into lawUI- North Carolina’s unemployment system was $2.5 billion in debt to the federal government. In order to pay that debt by 2015
• Unemployment payments from employers were increased. The increased payments by employers will end when the debt to the federal government is paid.
• A 20% surcharge was enacted. The purpose of the surcharge is to ensure that we have a fund to cover future UI payments. When the fund balance reaches $1 billion the surcharge will end. If the fund is reduced below $1 billion, the surcharge will automatically reinstate.
• Benefit payments were reduced from a maximum benefit of over $500 per week to a top payment of $350 per week. This is more in line with what the neighboring states pay.
• The maximum length of UI payments was reduced from 26 weeks to 12-20 weeks as determined by the NC unemployment rate.
• When an individual receiving UI payments reaches the halfway point (6-10 weeks) they are required to take the next employment offered to them or they will lose their benefits. That is, they can be particular during the first half of their unemployment but loose that option when they get to their halfway point on UI.
All of these changes are geared to changing the mindset about UI, and ensuring that the focus is on gaining employment rather than receiving UI checks, and to give employers an idea of when their increased payments to the Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA) will revert back to the original payment costs. If we had done nothing, this tax would continue to increase every year until 2019, when the debt was expected to be paid at a cost of millions in interest payments.

The North Carolina General Assembly refused to implement a State Healthcare Exchange. Our reason for refusal is simple. Whether we implement the exchange or the federal government implements it, the regulations and requirements are so stringent that the federal government left little decision making authority to the State governments.

The North Carolina General Assembly declined to increase the Medicaid program. My vote against expansion is based on mismanagement and fraud within the current system, and until what we currently have is cleaned up we cannot pile more on top of a broken system. Another reason is that the federal dollars provided for the expansion will dry up and North Carolina taxpayers will be left to pay the bill for the expansion of benefits, and this is neither ethical nor sustainable in the current economy.

The General Assembly is working on a tax overhaul program, with the ultimate goal of eliminating the personal and corporate income taxes, as well as the inheritance (death) tax. While a complete overhaul is not expected this session, we do expect to make adjustments to lower the personal and corporate tax rates, as well as end the inheritance tax. Complete elimination of the personal and corporate taxes will likely be phased in over a period of time. All of this is intended to stimulate the economy and make it easier for employers to create and add jobs.

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