A measure fast-tracked by the General Assembly, which passed both houses on Thursday and was signed into law hours later by Gov. Pat McCrory, will eliminate local business privilege license taxes.
Some municipalities don’t assess much in those taxes, and some charge quite a bit. Statewide, the revenue collected totals $62 million.
Months before my graduation from Western Carolina University I was already counting down the weeks to crossing the stage and taking my empty diploma holder out of Chancellor David Belcher’s hand. Week after week, I wiped down my little chalkboard and wrote in the new number of how much time was left. I’d even snap a photo to display on Facebook and remind everyone else how I was already out the door mentally when it came to my schooling.
No one should get too worked up about the proposed overhaul of Smith’s Crossroads that the N.C. Department of Transportation unveiled Tuesday.
Not that the plan wouldn’t be potentially devastating, but it’s extremely unlikely ever to happen.
Teachers probably can't help but feel hopeful that Gov. Pat McCrory's proposal for pay raises, unveiled last week in Greensboro, came about because politicians throughout Raleigh recognize not only the need for paying teachers more but the vast disapproval that greeted last year's legislative results.
When I was in sixth grade, an F1 tornado ripped through my neighborhood in Mount Holly, outside of Charlotte.
That evening, bulbous, anvil-topped clouds inched over the neighborhood while my family and I took our evening summer stroll. Already nervous of storms, I kept pointing out the clouds to my parents.
Imagine a police chief insisting his officers don’t have the authority to stop a robbery while it is going on.
Or a health inspector saying that the presence of live rats on a food counter doesn’t mean he can close that restaurant.
That essentially is the position being taken by the state Environmental Management Commission.
Let’s be 100 percent clear about this: There is no survey that designated the Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton area as one of the nation’s “most miserable cities,” no matter what you read on Facebook or in a newspaper or saw on the Charlotte TV news.
Politics threatens to stand in the way of fixing whatever problems contributed to the disaster that poisoned the Dan River, and that would do nothing but ensure another disaster, possibly much closer to home.
Our fingers are crossed and we are hoping that Lenoir Police Chief Scott Brown is correct to characterize a steep increase in drug seizures as a positive sign of good police work.
What can explain the lack of public outrage at the messes created and continuing under the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ watch?
It wasn’t just the weather. Last week brought an unusual winter political storm.
The Republican who leads the Finance Committee in the state Senate accused the Republican governor of a “flagrant violation of power” and used an unprintable epithet to describe his fellow Republican lawmakers who pushed a bill favored by the governor, a bill that the senator calls an “abomination.”
And we know all this because someone secretly recorded the senator’s comments and released a transcript to the Raleigh News & Observer and other media.
How high would the unemployment rate be if workers who have given up finding a job were counted in the official rate?
John Hood of the conservative John Locke Foundation reminds us that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics actually does have a figure keeping track of those discouraged workers. It’s called the U-4. It isn’t calculated monthly, and there isn’t a measure for just Caldwell County, but it’s a tool we can use to put the official unemployment rate in perspective.
If we can’t get many people in Congress to voluntarily leave office, and since even the party that once championed firm term limits now seems to have forgotten about the issue, maybe there should at least be a mandatory retirement age.
If you’re sipping a cup of coffee or orange juice right now, put it down before reading the next sentence.
There’s a politician in Raleigh who championed an idea that once would have benefitted his political party, but he still champions it now that it would seem to hurt his party; he just thinks it’s the right thing to do.
According to an article on The Victorian Web website, “as late as the 1820s, the writer Leigh Hunt labeled it an event ‘scarcely worth mention,’ and it was widely believed that the holiday, both in England and throughout Europe and North America, was destined to die out.”
So what happened?
Everyone needs to just get a grip.
As a general rule, that applies to pretty much any situation. We are a nation of constant outrage, overreaction and hyperbole.
But today this applies specifically to the voices of outrage raised a few days ago over some of the comments that Phil Robertson, the father on the “Duck Dynasty” TV series, made in an interview with a writer for GQ magazine.
News that Caldwell County is applying to join the Charlotte area’s foreign trade zone is good news for the county as well as for any manufacturer in the county that has customers overseas.
Thursday’s events in Washington had a surreal feel.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee and the party’s go-to guy on budget issues, got Democrats to agree to a compromise budget plan — and he was immediately attacked by conservative groups.
Did you know that North Carolina has laws on the books that make public documents, records, information and meetings available and accessible to any person?
It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation is, the chances are you answered that question, “No” – 68 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans are unaware that our state’s open meetings and records laws exist, according to the most recent Elon University Poll.
If there is a special spot reserved in hell for Ralph Scozzafava, the former CEO of Furniture Brands International, surely it’s a crowded room.
The past few days, we read some things that gave us hope that maybe, just maybe, Ralph Scozzafava will soon be out on his butt.
Or, more likely, deploying his golden parachute.
Either way, Furniture Brands International’s CEO can’t vacate the premises soon enough.
When it came to the legislature’s decision to cut funding for teacher assistants, Sen. Dan Soucek stuck to his party’s guns – and shot himself in the foot by suggesting that teachers should really be upset with the Caldwell County Board of Commissioners for not providing funding the assistants.
“We don’t say, 'You can’t have them in those grades,’” Soucek said. “We say, ‘You’re going to have to find the funds elsewhere.’”
On one hand, it is easy to argue that Washington might be better off with a bunch more people like Howard Coble, constituent-minded officials who mind their Ps and Qs and can joke about themselves.
On the other hand, one of the problems with Washington is how many people arrive intent on staying a short time (is 12 years short?) before clearing out to allow for new blood and new ideas, then change their minds and hang around for many years more.
“Change is good” is a cliché, said most often as reassurance when something unexpected or unsettling has happened.
We can’t possibly know in advance whether all of the new faces brought to local government boards in Caldwell County by last week’s municipal elections will prove to be good additions.
But in general, a little change in the composition of elected boards is good. New people bring new perspectives. A little fresh air can keep the atmosphere from feeling musty.
No matter whether your candidates are in office, coming or going, you can be grateful at least that your mayor is not Rob Ford.