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by Dylan Frick, 8th Congressional District Democratic Party, published in Salisbury Post, September 21, 2015.
Finally, the North Carolina General Assembly finished their homework and submitted a budget. It was due on June 30th, but I suppose there are no penalties for turning in their assignment late. No, the Republicans can goof off all summer and the only folks who get punished are the children of North Carolina.
When the budget deal was announced, Sen. Tom McInnis was quick to jump on the bandwagon and claim responsibility for it. “We’re finally making progress up here,” McInnis said. “I’ve been actively involved in the minuscule details of the negotiation.” I decided to see what McInnis really did for the people of rural North Carolina, so I read all 429 pages of the budget. The result was not very pretty.
The biggest problem we have in Raleigh is entitlement. The Republicans promised they would be more transparent and more cooperative, but they haven’t been. Thank goodness for Sen. Jane Smith and Rep. Ken Goodman, because they’re the only ones who have tried to reach a compromise and have continued to fight for working families and public education. But, Senator McInnis and his Republican cronies have silenced any bipartisan cooperation, and are consequently hurting rural North Carolina, especially Rowan County.
McInnis brags about the income tax cuts, as if they help rural North Carolina. He couldn’t be further from reality. The only people that benefit from these cuts are millionaires and billionaires. The Fiscal Research Department at the General Assembly calculated that the cost of cutting the corporate tax rate would be $3.94 billion over the next five years. How do they plan to make up for it?
Well, McInnis’s bright idea is to fool you into thinking he cut your income tax, when really he just increased taxes on things like automotive repairs and maintenance. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do is pay more when my check engine light comes on, just to benefit a few rich fat cats who don’t even drive themselves.
The money that we lose from the corporate tax cuts could be used to fuel new economic projects that would effectively jumpstart our state’s economy and reap tangible benefits that all North Carolinians could enjoy, not just the special interests who have bought McInnis.
Although we’ve lost nearly every bit of manufacturing we once had, there’s one thing we have a lot of: land. Today, even if farmers own their own land, machinery is outlandishly expensive and drives farmers into debt.
Large agribusinesses (like the ones McInnis just gave tax cuts to) are leading our farmers to a slow death. However, we’ve got land perfectly suitable for solar farms and alternative energy development. Sadly, McInnis and his pals killed the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit (REITC), which eliminates good jobs and costs taxpayers $4.7 billion.
Instead, they earmarked $500,000 towards fracking, a highly controversial method of digging for natural gas. Fracking will only be done in a few counties, who are all vehemently protesting it, whereas solar energy would create hundreds more jobs and benefit every family in every rural county in North Carolina.
Senator, I think I can speak for every family when I say I’m disappointed in you, and in this legislature’s leadership. End this reactionary agenda that wages war on low-income families, on farmers, on the very water we drink, and on our public schools. Start standing up for the people of your district, and stop standing up for the CEO’s financing your campaign.
Didn’t we learn that trickle-down economics doesn’t trickle?
Dylan Frick is the chairman of the 8th Congressional District Democratic Party.