Last updated: July 24. 2014 11:00AM - 222 Views
By Sen. Brent Jackson Contributing columnist

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There has been a lot of discussion and concern in the media recently regarding the duration and nature of this year’s budget negotiations. In light of that, I want to be clear about one thing: responsible governing is not a quick and easy process. When I was elected, I promised the voters that I would come to Raleigh and make a sincere effort to find long-term solutions to the financial and administrative problems that have piled up over the last decade. I intend to follow through on that promise.

It would be much easier to adopt a “fix it later” attitude, pass a budget that kicks the can down the road, then go home and enjoy the rest of the summer. However, I made a commitment to the people of District 10 and I intend to honor that commitment by making the tough choices necessary to solve the deep-seated issues that threaten the future fiscal stability of our state.

In my many years as a farmer and business owner, one thing I have learned is that doing something right takes time and hard work, but always pays off in the end. I am certain that we can reach an agreement with our House colleagues that provides competitive pay for teachers, brings accountability and predictability to Medicaid and fully funds the operation of the state over the biennium.

House Bill 1224:

Local Sales Tax Options

House Bill 1224 passed the Senate this week and has drawn significant attention from the media, as well as county and municipal officials. Though we have been accused of somehow limiting local government authority with this bill, in reality, it does the complete opposite. I also want to be clear about one other thing: this is not a tax increase.

H.B. 1224 simply expands an existing statute to allow for broader use of the funding generated by county sales taxes. Where funds generated under this statute previously could only be used for transit, this bill would allow them to also be used for education or transportation.

By granting counties the authority to hold a referendum to levy a quarter-cent sales tax, the state is providing local governments with an additional tool to help meet their fiscal obligations. This legislation is in line with conservative principles, as it gives local officials greater flexibility, but places final authority in the hands of the people, who must approve their leaders’ decision at the polls.

There has been some misinformation circulating regarding this legislation, so I encourage anyone with questions to contact my office directly at 919-733-5705 or by email at brent.jackson@ncleg.net.

(Brent Jackson is a N.C. Senator from Sampson County and representing Dist. 10.)

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