Here is a list of legislative accomplishments along with policy ideas for North Carolina. This information should help to outline where I stand on issues that are important to our citizens.
It is important for the General Assembly to enact policies that will promote job creation and strengthen our economy. In order to do this, we need to keep taxes low and prevent government from over-regulating the private sector. Our goal must be to create more job opportunities for all of our citizens.
- Reformed and simplified North Carolina’s tax code. The tax burden has been reduced on citizens and businesses. According to the Tax Foundation, North Carolina now has one of the best tax climates in the nation.
- Reduced regulations that were having a negative impact on small businesses. Numerous bills have been passed in recent years that reformed or eliminated a variety of unnecessary regulations.
- Promoted job-specific education and worked to strengthen our transportation system. It is important to have an education work force and a transportation system that facilitates commerce.
- Ensure that our tax rates remain competitive with other states.
- Continue working to update and streamline regulations that affect the private sector.
- Increase job-specific training in high schools, community colleges and universities.
It is important to ensure that state government operates in way that is efficient and cost-effective. This includes being responsible with tax dollars, balancing the budget responsibly, and keeping our state debt low. We must invest wisely in the core services of government.
- The budget has been balanced responsibly in recent years while spending on the core services of government (education, transportation, public safety, etc) have increased. This has been done while also reducing the tax burden on our citizens.
- Increased our state reserves account to approximately $1.6 billion. This is funding that would be used in case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster or an economic recession.
- Maintained a AAA credit rating from all three agencies (we are one of only a few states in this position) while keeping our debt burden low. We have also paid over $2.5 billion in debt to the federal government.
- Continue to focus on balancing the budget responsibly while allocating tax dollars to core services.
- Maintain a healthy reserve account in case of an emergency.
- Keep our debt low and maintain a strong credit rating.
We need to have a strong education in order to make sure that we are producing a workforce that is ready for success. All levels of education must be supported and operated efficiently. Not only do we have a moral obligation to make sure that children are learning, it is necessary in order to ensure that North Carolina is ready to compete in a 21st century economy.
- Enhanced eduction funding by nearly $2 billion since 2011. Education funding comprises over 50 percent of the state budget.
- Increased teacher pay by an average of 13 percent since 2013. Teacher pay steps have been restored and average teacher pay will soon exceed $50,000 per year.
- Provided parents with more control over their child’s education. Low-income families and students with disabilities now have more options for education.
- Establish rigorous education standards, but refrain from over-testing students.
- Empower teachers to have more freedom to teach in the classroom.
- Utilize advances in technology in order to promote digital learning.
- Work with businesses to promote job-specific education.
There is no question that health care is a complex topic, and we need to take steps to allow more access to quality health care for our citizens. But allowing the government expand bureaucracy and take control of our health care system is not the answer. Much of the health care debate is based on federal policy, but there are some policy measures that can taken at the state level.
- Reformed our Medicaid system by increasing efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
- Opted-out of expanding Medicaid, which would have increased bureaucracy and put our taxpayers at risk of financial burdens.
- Chose not to establish a state health care exchange (in complicance with Obamacare), which would have put our taxpayers on the hook for potential pitfalls in the system.
Note: There have clearly been serious problems related to Obamacare. Health care cost continue to rise for working-class families, and health care companies are learning the exchange markets. It is clear that Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced with a system that promotes more options and better access to health care.
- Increase funding for mental health treatment, which affects thousands of families in North Carolina.
- Provide support for those who are truly vulnerable, such as those who have a developmental disability.
- Encourage the federal government to reform federal health care regulations.
We must have a sound transportation system in order to facility commerce and increase our quality of life. Businesses often consider the quality of our roads and bridges before they locate in our State. We also need to make sure that our roads are safe to travel.
- Ended the transfer of the Highway Fund to the General Fund. This ensures that highway funding is spent on projects related to transportation.
- Mandated that transportation project be driven by data rather than politics.
- Modernized DMV operations and allowed people to renew their license online.
- Continue to make sure that gas tax revenue is allocated to transportation projects.
- Utilize public service campaigns to promote road traffic safety.
- Maintain funding for driver’s education in our public schools.
It goes with our saying that public safety is an important role of state government. We must ensure that law enforcement have the tools necessary to keep us safe while also operating our judicial system efficiently. People have a right to feel safe and protected in our society.
- Increased pay for State Troopers and provided more funding for law enforcement.
- Provided funding to modernize our state court system.
- Enhanced penalties for sex crimes, including human trafficking and crimes against students.
- Continue to ensure that law enforcement have the tools necessary to protect our safety.
- Remove, as much as possible, politics from law enforcement activity.
- Increase the usage of technology in forensic services and court procedures.
The state legislature has taken action to support veterans in North Carolina. These steps include the creation of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs; providing in-state tuition for veterans at North Carolina community colleges and universities; allowing military experience to convert to college credit and professional licensing; and creating Veteran Treatment Courts.
North Carolina has had one of the fastest growing economies in the nation over the past few years. Our state GDP is strong and the private sector has created over 300,000 net new jobs since 2013. Job creation in our State has comfortably exceeded the national average in recent years. North Carolina ranks #2 in Forbes Magazine for economic environment. We also have a strong ranking from CNBC, Site Selection, Ernst & Young.
Upholding Our Constitution
One of the primary responsibilities that I have as a legislator is protecting and defending both the U.S. Constitution and North Carolina Constitution. For example, I have supported our 2nd Amendment rights, which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. I have also supported the rights of people to “enjoy the fruits of their labor,” which is guaranteed in North Carolina’s constitution.
QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS?
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments on issues related to public policy. I am always open for discussion and new ideas. Your input and feedback are important to me.