Tuesday, August 19, 2014

NC General Assembly's Conservative vs. Republican Conundrum

The debate on the role of government isn’t isolated to the Kingdom of Washington D.C.  That question extends to states and local communities.  North Carolina’s General Assembly is in the midst of this conundrum.  The GOP dominated legislature is convulsing under an age old dilemma.  Should they act like conservatives or establishment republicans?

RALEIGH, N.C. — A disagreement between Republican lawmakers about their goals and the role of government is adding to the extended wrangling over the final few measures before the North Carolina General Assembly decides when to shut down for the year.

Legislators grappled again Monday with a multi-part measure that includes county sales taxes, tax benefits for a Haywood County paper mill, expanded tax breaks for new businesses and a proposed $20 million fund to lure manufacturers with upfront cash.

The Senate has insisted on House passage of the bill before it will allow a fix to a problem in the state budget Gov. Pat McCrory signed last week that threatens to force layoffs of classroom teaching assistants.

Republicans command large legislative majorities. GOP lawmakers meeting in committee disagreed over whether the sprawling bill fosters corporate welfare or encourages jobs, and whether it limits county sales taxes or prompts them to rise. Dissident Republicans last week defied House leaders and fought against bringing the bill to a vote.

The measure places a 2.5 percent cap on county sales taxes, with some exceptions for four urban counties. Wake, Mecklenburg, Forsyth and Guilford counties could increase to 2.75 percent if voters approve.  But some Republicans worried the measure would increase the likelihood that county commissioners elsewhere will seek to raise their sales taxes to the cap. That could be viewed as GOP lawmakers violating their anti-tax principals, said Rep. Mike Stone, R-Lee.

"That's an issue for sure," he said.

First of all, why is the General Assembly involved in county sales taxes?  If individual counties want to screw their citizens, that’s their business.  And isn’t crony capitalism a democratic play?  Why should established businesses fund their competitors with their taxes? Isn’t that perverse?  I thought we got rid of that kind of corruption?

Is there a difference between conservatives and republicans?  You bet there is.

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