• 34°

Patrick Gannon: Theme so far in Raleigh is ‘restoration’

Patrick Gannon

Patrick Gannon

Patrick Gannon

RALEIGH — The theme of the first week of the General Assembly session could be summed up adequately with one word — “restoration.”

And not just because 170 legislators came back to town for the long legislative session, bringing the political divisiveness that is Jones Street with them.

“Restoration” was the theme of a number of bills filed during the week as the General Assembly returned to work. Many came from Democrats, who want to bring back laws nixed by the Republican-led General Assembly over the past four years. Republicans also want to restore some old ways of doing things that were changed when Democrats controlled the statehouse prior to 2011.

Democrats want to re-enact the state’s version of the earned income tax credit, a perk designed to help low- to moderate-income workers put a few extra bucks in their pockets at tax time. The credit cost the state about $60 million in tax revenue in the 2013-14 fiscal year, according to Department of Revenue estimates. It was repealed by the General Assembly, effective at the start of 2014, as part of Republican tax changes.

Democrats also filed legislation to restore the Teaching Fellows program, which the General Assembly has phased out over the past few years. Created in 1986, the program recruited high-achieving high school graduates to become teachers and awarded them college scholarships if they agreed to teach in the state for at least four years.

Members of the minority party also want to bring back the educational sales tax holiday, when residents could purchase school supplies, clothing and computers free of sales taxes. The General Assembly repealed the holiday, effective July 1, 2014. Republicans said it cost the state nearly $14 million in tax revenue in 2012, while proponents said it helped parents financially as their kids went back to school.

Republicans who hold large majorities in the House and Senate want to do some restoration of their own. They filed a bill this week to restore partisan elections for N.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeals seats, meaning those judges and justices would run with party affiliations attached. Those races became nonpartisan back in 2004. Proponents of partisan judicial races say putting party affiliations on the ballot gives voters a little information about who they’re voting for and that voters often know little about judicial candidates. Opponents say the party affiliations of judges shouldn’t matter.

Republicans also filed a bill to give local school districts more flexibility on the start and end dates for the school year to meet educational objectives.

Gov. McCrory and others — Republicans and Democrats — also want to revive a historic preservation tax credit allowed to expire at the end of last year.

The GOP-sponsored judicial election measure and the historic preservation bill have a chance of passing this session. As for the Democrats’ bills, barring some major change in GOP philosophy, they probably will have to wait until if and when Democrats’ power is restored in Raleigh.

But that’s not going to keep them from trying.

Gannon writes for Capitol Press Association.

Comments

Education

School board talks competency-based learning, receives new offer on Faith Elementary

Business

Chamber of Commerce warns buyers about used tractor company with Cleveland address

Local

American Legion Post plans cocktail sip

Local

Harold B. Jarrett Post to host blood drive

Coronavirus

17 new COVID-19 cases, one new death reported

Education

School meals expect a smooth transition for students

Nation/World

Fully vaccinated people can gather without masks, CDC says

Local

Lane, ramp closures scheduled for I-85 in Salisbury

Crime

Blotter: March 8

Ask Us

Ask Us: How can homebound seniors be vaccinated?

Local

Political Notebook: Interim health director to talk COVID-19 at county Democrats breakfast

Local

‘Their names liveth forevermore:’ Officials dedicate Fire Station No. 6 to fallen firefighters Monroe, Isler

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking into Salisbury High, getting juvenile to help

Nation/World

With virus aid in sight, Democrats debate filibuster changes

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month