North Carolina is still recovering from the 2009 recession, with our unemployment rate higher than the national average, a quarter-million of our fellow citizens still unemployed, and thousands more struggling to find jobs that pay enough to keep up with healthcare expenses and college tuition. The politicians in Raleigh say they’re trying to help — but we can do better!
THE BIG 3
Cut the Gas Tax: Like many states, North Carolina has a variable gas tax that rises or falls with the wholesale price of gasoline. Unlike most states, back in 2015 the politicians in Raleigh fiddled with that formula to increase the tax rate higher than it would have been — and as a result we now have the highest gas taxes in the entire Southeast. This tax hike hammers working families who commute, hurts small businesses that ship goods or reimburse employees for mileage, and hits border counties who lose out when residents cross into a neighboring state to buy their necessities. We must make our gas tax more competitive with our neighboring states.
Streamline business creation: For whatever reason we have a bewildering array of forms and fees and permits and paperwork that must get completed before someone can start a new business. The more hurdles we put in the way of startups, the fewer startups will start up. We need to encourage entrepreneurship and ensure folks have the freedom to build a business from scratch without an oversized government blocking their way at every turn.
Offer voters a Home Rule amendment: Charlotte’s airport. Asheville’s water system. Wilson’s internet. Even Greensboro’s city council districts. For years our state legislators have abused their authority by micromanaging matters that are best left to local people in their local towns. To fix this problem, voters should have the opportunity to ratify a Home Rule amendment to the state constitution that would protect taxpayers from an overreaching and unaccountable government in Raleigh.
Incentivize rural broadband: District 22 is among the most geographically diverse in the state, spanning the high-tech Research Triangle Park all the way up to tiny Milton along the Virginia border. Internet access in these rural counties is spotty and slow, making it difficult to recruit businesses to the area. The General Assembly needs to study how best to incentivize the development of more reliable and faster internet access in the rural parts of our district.
Roll back tax hikes on small businesses: In addition to raising gas taxes, the politicians in Raleigh also increased a number of taxes on small businesses, from eliminating the small business tax deduction to requiring more businesses to collect sales taxes. Small businesses remain the top job creators in the state, and we should be focused on supporting them rather than taxing them into oblivion.
End partisan gerrymandering: North Carolina has been an example of how not to do redistricting since before most of us were born. The district maps drawn up by our politicians have been overturned by the US Supreme Court more often than any other state in the nation. Why do the district lines matter for the economy? Because the hyper-precise gerrymandering destroys any need for politicians to work together, as both Democrats and Republicans are insulated from ever being voted out of office by the public. We will work to end this practice entirely and follow other states in taking redistricting power away from the politicians in Raleigh. Voters should choose their legislators, not the other way around.
Reform our licensing boards: North Carolina ranks among the top states in terms of how many professions are subject to licensing boards, from librarians to acupuncturists — 154 professions in all. These licensing boards create unnecessary costs and regulations for people looking to join a given profession, and in many cases they exist only to protect themselves rather than to protect the public. Many of them should be abolished.
Reform our Certificate of Need laws: We also have the 2nd most-restrictive Certificate of Need laws in the entire country, blocking healthcare providers from opening new facilities — or even adding new equipment! — without first getting permission from the government. The “CON Boards” are made up of well-connected donors who actively compete with the companies looking to expand, a textbook case of crony capitalism. Our CON laws need to be thoroughly reviewed, and many eliminated.
Ban eminent domain abuse: Ever since the US Supreme Court decided in 2005 that governments could seize your property and give it to private developers for their own use, eminent domain abuse has been a tremendous problem. While legislators have tried to take baby steps to rein in the problem, it’s unrealistic to think politicians will adequately police themselves. Our state constitution should be amended to block governments from seizing private property for private developers.
Offer voters a Taxpayer Protection Amendment: Voters should also have the opportunity to approve a constitutional amendment that would limit how much their taxes can be increased by money-hungry politicians in any given year. We support offering the voters a Taxpayer Protection Amendment capping tax increases to a fixed percent plus the rate of inflation.
Truly streamline the tax code: The politicians in Raleigh have tinkered, and tinkered, and tinkered some more with the tax code over the past however many years. The end result has been a code that is ever-more-complex and brings in ever-higher sums of your money to the state. We must work to aggressively streamline our tax code and minimize the amount of compliance costs we all pay just to figure out how much we owe the political class each year.
End corporate welfare and crony capitalism: Politicians should be blocked from doing special favors for their donors, whether from special tax carve-outs or special government contracts or anything in between. We will work to end corporate welfare and crony capitalism by insisting the people’s business be done in broad daylight, and that everyone be treated equally before the law.
Authorize “B Corps”: Benefit Corporations are special for-profit companies that also make an effort to serve their communities. 31 states have already voted to let these types of companies be created, including our neighbors in Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. We should be #32 and give people the freedom to choose for themselves what type of company they want to build.
Do you agree? Disagree? Think there is something we missed that should be part of our jobs and economy agenda? If so, make sure to contact us!