To the Editor:
It’s time to speak the truth about the gains for North Carolina citizens made by the state legislature in its 2013 session just completed. Here is a summary of some of the bills passed. You will find that fiscal responsibility, parental and citizen choice, economic and job recovery and freedom from excessive regulation are the threads that weave through this 2013 legislation. Slanted news reports and editorials have neglected to report the advantages these new laws bring to N.C. citizens. Here are a few example of how the Republican legislature chose to govern in favor of citizens.
Education: 2013-14 education appropriations increase $361 million over the previous year, with 38 percent being money for K-12 public schools; tenure reform allows local school districts to have the option of renewing contracts based on performance; teacher assistants are funded with $450.8 million, giving school districts the flexibility to fund additional assistants; scholarships, grants and vouchers totaling $13 million are provided for federal free and reduced lunch programs, special needs students and can be used for public school students tuition and expenses for private school; $5.1 million dollars to attract, hire and train more teachers for high need districts.
Election process: VIVA, the Voter Information Verification Act, ensures all voters are treated the same when the votes are counted by requiring photo ID that is already necessary for everyone at banks, doctor’s offices, hospitals, for licenses, loans, check cashing etc.; that all voter registration must be completed at least 25 days prior to election day; that voters vote in their precinct of residence; that all voting systems must provide paper ballots, a back-up for vote checks; and increases donation limits to help candidates that do not fund their own campaigns.
Tax Reform: Personal income tax reduction to a flat rate of 5.75 percent by 2015; a greater standard reduction of $7,500 for singles and $15,000 for married filers; Social Security remains fully exempt; repeal of the state estate tax; reduces the corporate income tax rate to 5 percent by 2015. The tax reform bill is expected greatly to increase investment and job opportunities.
Individual Rights: Protects the safety and health of women by requiring common sense and reasonable safety standards for abortion facilities; expanded places where citizens who have undergone required special training may carry a concealed weapon; enables Gov. McCrory’s office to make the Medicaid system more patient-oriented and fiscally responsible; places a cap on state “special indebtedness,” requiring voter approval to increase debt; regulatory reform requires that agencies review regulations every 10 years and that any not reviewed automatically expire.
No doubt the spend, tax and regulate crowd … also known as liberals and Democrats … finds much to criticize when government seeks to control spending, restore individual rights and decrease the money grab from hard-working citizens. Fair-thinking voters will see that they made the correct choice in electing a majority Republican legislature.