Letter: County needs more effective legislators

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Our N.C. General Assembly is currently over 30 days past the scheduled adjournment date at a cost of $1.5 million.

The majority party has lost its supermajority and cannot override Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget. Republicans are having problems coming to the table for a bipartisan compromise.

If N.C. expands Medicaid, the state would receive $11.7 billion more in federal funding from 2020 to 2022. By 2022, more than 600,000 additional North Carolinians will have Medicaid coverage. In Rowan County, expansion reportedly would lead to 367 more jobs created, and 9,684 more residents would receive Medicaid health coverage in 2022. Expanded Medicaid would lead to $74.1 million in more growth in Rowan’s economy from 2020 to 2022. It would also contribute $1 million to the county in tax revenue.

Our Rowan representatives, indicated by their votes, do not support Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid is not the only budget item at stake. This is the time when districts will receive the “pork barrel” earmarks for local projects. Some of our projects include funding for the Community Care Clinic, several grants for volunteer fire departments and some specific municipal awards. In addition to these representative-proposed “pork barrel” funds, Cooper proposed a grant for restoration of the Empire Hotel. His education bond proposal is about $8 million more than our representatives are proposing, and he has added $300,000 to cover evaluation of our renewal school system.

The combined experience of our four representatives in the N.C. General Assembly is over 50 years. There is $383 million in “pork barrel” this year that will be awarded to representatives for local projects.

One member is bringing home $50,000, and one member is bringing home $115,000. The other two members are bringing home $0. We need more effective leadership for our county.

— Joe Fowler