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JWT Newsletter 05-17-11

JWT Newsletter 05-17-11

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Published by: Senator Jerry Tillman on May 18, 2011
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05/18/2011

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S
ENATOR
 J
ERRY
T
ILLMAN
 S
ENATE
M
AJORITY
W
HIP
 
S
ENATE UPDATE
 
May 17, 2011
Education Funding
I have heard from many of you about the need for finding every dollar we can to put towardour public schools, community colleges, and universities. Right now, we are searching foavailability under every rock. I believe we will find some. How much, I do not know.As most of you know, it is hard for me personally to have to make some of the cuts that must be made. When the money is not there, we cannot and will not pretend that magically it is. Be patient, we will see a brighter day, and we will do some great things for education.I want to thank the many dedicated teachers and others from all education sectors who havecalled, written, and emailed with some excellent ideas both in areas we can and should cut andin areas where we should increase funding. These have been most helpful, and some will beincorporated in the Senate budget.
Motorsports Caucus
I am honored to have been appointed Senate Chair of the North Carolina Motorsports Caucus.Also, I look forward to serving with Senator Martin Nesbitt who will serve as Vice Chair. We both have a great interest in the Motorsports Industry and the economic impact it brings to N.C. We will coordinate activities with the House Motorsports Caucus. Fred Steen will serveas House Caucus Chair and Bill Owens will serve as House Vice Chair. I will keep youupdated as our committee work proceeds. And yes, I still miss Wilkesboro and Rockingham.I know many of you do too…
Senate Budget Work Continues
The House has sent us their budget, with five Democrats voting for it and one RepublicanHouse member not voting due to illness. I’m hopeful the House will accept our version of the budget. However, here in the real world this is not likely to happen. I do believe the twoversions can be quickly resolved in conference negotiations and a responsible budget will be passed. We will see… Will the Governor veto it? We will see… Four or five Democratsmay well be the key to whether we get a budget in June or September. We shall see…
 
We have wasted no time getting to work on the North Carolina budget, which passed theHouse with a bipartisan, veto-proof majority last week. It’s now the Senate’s turn to produce aresponsible spending plan that sets state priorities, cuts spending, and lowers taxes. Our subcommittees were busy this week reviewing the House plan and setting spending targets thatwill make North Carolina government live within its means for the first time in years.As legislators, one of our chief responsibilities is to balance a budget that provides vital stateservices. It is our desire not to tread on the individual freedoms of North Carolina citizens or  businesses. By Memorial Day, we hope to show you a plan that does just that. It will right-size government, get the state off the backs of job-creating private businesses, put more moneyin your pockets, and reform and improve public education.
Legislative Leaders Urge Court to Strike Down Health Care Law
Brief Filed in Court of Appeals CasePresident Obama’s federal health care law is unconstitutional, violates states rights, and would bust the state budget, according to an Amicus brief leaders of the North Carolina GeneralAssembly filed Wednesday. The case,
State of Florida v. United States Department of Healthand Human Services, et al.,
is being considered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the EleventhCircuit in Atlanta.The brief argues The Patient Protections and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 holdshostage states’ participation in Medicaid unless they submit to confusing federal mandates thatviolate the U.S. Constitution and wrongly exert control over state budgets and legislativeagendas. The law would force North Carolina’s taxpayers to spend hundreds of millions of dollars more annually in Medicaid, hindering the state’s ability to provide other vital services.The brief was submitted in support of a lower court ruling that a provision of the federal healthcare law forcing citizens to purchase health insurance is unconstitutional.It is a shame we had to file this brief because our Governor and Attorney General refused todefend the constitutional rights of North Carolinians. The federal government has encroachedon individual liberties and states’ rights. We will not roll over when federal authorities abusetheir power and pass unconstitutional laws.
Taxation in N.C.
The tax burden in North Carolina is too high. Yet, there are many on the other side who wantto increase taxes and spending. The budget Governor Perdue sent us early in the sessionincluded $600 million in higher taxes in both years for a total of $1.2 billion. As you know,there’s only one place you can get this kind of money. You guessed it, from the taxpayer, bothindividual and business. There are states that have no personal income tax at all like Florida,Tennessee, and Texas. Maybe we in North Carolina should rethink our budget and fund real priorities like education, infrastructure, and job creation. If we did, that we could reduce taxes
 
significantly and finally have something to show for it… We will see…When you take $1.6 billion (federal stimulus) and $1.3 billion “temporary” taxes off the table,and combine that with an economy in low gear, you have the recipe for making budgetadjustments, eliminating, and reorganizing everywhere possible. Everyone on the planet knewthe day of reckoning was coming. There was only one plan to deal with it. Tax the people,call it “temporary” and get away with it as long as possible. It now falls into our hands to“fix” the problem. No one likes to do the hard but necessary work that has to be done. We didnot put N.C. in this position. I’m hopeful with your prayers and patience we can get N.C. outof it. I believe we can and I believe we will Note: With the $1.6 billion and the $1.3 billion off the table, education cuts will amount toabout 3%. Actual spending will increase in the 2011-12 budget, when compared to the actualspending in the 2010-11 budget.
Short School Day – Short School Year
As you know, North Carolina has a short school year for students (180 days). Our school dayis also short, about 6 hours. Not all of this time is devoted to core subjects (3 or 4 hours a dayat best). The rest of the industrialized world spends much more seat time engaged in coreacademic subjects. Do you wonder why North Carolina and America are falling behind therest of the world? If we don’t address this problem soon, dire consequences will ensue. Youwill hear more about this in the future. If you have thoughts or ideas on how to address this problem, please feel free to share them with me.
Government Speak 
George Orwell’s novel “1984” originated the term “Government Speak.” The U.S. Congress perfected it. Government is so good at saying one thing and meaning another. There’s noshortage of “Government Speak” speak here in Raleigh. Skirting issues and hedging bets arefairly commonplace. I don’t believe it’s called lying anymore. That would be too unseemlyfor suave politicians, way too unseemly…Have you heard any of these, or all of these?
 
“We will “freeze” spending.” This is often said right after historic spendingincreases…
 
“We will cut spending.” This often refers to cutting the rate of increase in spending.Imagine that…
 
“I will support that bill.” Only if you will vote for mine, and I might even want toamend yours but I still love you…

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