Tuesday, June 9, 2009

N.C. Democrats Jettison Gas Tax Relief

As we begin the hot summer months, North Carolina Democrats have acted to prevent working families from receiving much needed relief at the gas pump. State taxes were scheduled to drop 2 cents on a gallon of gas in July. So what did N.C. Democrats do? They stopped it from happening. That would be against their apparent policy preference when it comes to taxes: not a dime left behind. Democrats also put in place new legislation to prevent any relief for consumers through 2011, likely as a precursor to eventually raising the gas tax.
NC gasoline tax change gets final legislative OK

By Gary D. Robertson
Associated Press
June 8, 2009

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Lawmakers gave final approval Monday night to change North Carolina's gasoline tax, three years after their decision to cap the tax pleased motorists but sent road-building revenues nearly a half-billion dollars lower than projected.

The bill passed the House by a 64-52 vote and is likely to be signed into law by Gov. Beverly Perdue. It would mean taxes at the pump won't go down 2 cents a gallon to 27.9 cents on July 1 as expected under current law.

The change would turn a cap on the gasoline tax at 29.9 cents per gallon into a floor - meaning it could go no lower than 29.9 cents through the middle of 2011. ...

Monday, June 8, 2009

Easley Scandal Fallout Continues

N.C. State fires Mary Easley

By Jay Price & J. Andrew Curliss
News & Observer

N.C. State University's Board of Trustees has terminated the contract of Mary Easley.

The trustees said the duties of Easley's job no longer exist and her departure from N.C. State would be in the best interest of the university.

Records: Mike Easley involved in hiring

By J. Andrew Curliss
News & Observer

New documents show that the Mary Easley job at N.C. State University was orchestrated at the highest levels of state government, and included the direct involvement of then-Gov. Mike Easley.

E-mail messages show the creation of the job for Mary Easley was orchestrated in April and May of 2005 by the governor and that her job formation also included his wife, Mary; the chancellor at N.C. State, James Oblinger; a key trustee, McQueen Campbell; a senior adviser to Easley who now heads the Golden Leaf Foundation, Dan Gerlach; and an NCSU lobbyist at the time, Andy Willis.

Until now, officials have all denied any involvement in the hiring other than by former Provost Larry Nielsen, who the records show was also involved in creating the position that gave Mary Easley an $80,000, three-year contract to oversee a speakers series and help teach a class.

Click here for the full article...

NCSU loses third top official amid Easley questions

Cover-Up Coming Unraveled

Senate Republican Leader Press Release
June 8, 2009

New documents released by N.C. State University officials as part of a federal investigation show that former Governor Mike Easley and members of his administration were directly involved in the creation of a position for his wife and her subsequent hiring by the university. In addition, N.C. State Chancellor James Oblinger resigned today on the heels of weekend reports in The News & Observer that he misled the public regarding the size and length of the severance package given to former N.C. State Provost Larry Nielsen.

Senate Republican Leader Phil Berger issued the following statement:

“There clearly has been a concerted effort to cover up the circumstances surrounding Mary Easley’s hiring and employment at N.C. State. The new revelations that Mike Easley was directly involved in the hiring of his wife only confirm many of our worst suspicions. Powerful Democrats in state government have ceased pursuing public service and begun trading exclusively in privilege and power. Meanwhile, Democratic legislative leaders have become co-conspirators in this corruption by turning a blind eye to wrongdoing and adamantly refusing to ask the questions that might uncover the truth.”

“The revelations in The News & Observer this weekend that Chancellor James Oblinger illegally changed the terms of former N.C. State Provost Larry Nielsen’s severance package and misled the public regarding the terms of that package are another black mark on NC State resulting from the Easley Scandal. This weekend’s reports left Chancellor Oblinger no choice other than to resign.”

“The News & Observer has done the public a great service by doggedly seeking to uncover the truth in the face of this cover up. The N.C. State Board of Trustees, interim Board Chairman Bob Jordan, and University System President Erskine Bowles also deserve credit for constructively working to end this embarrassment.”

“Unfortunately, Governor Bev Perdue and Legislative Democrats continue working to cover up the Easley Scandal. Legislative Democrats must begin an exhaustive investigation into this scandal or get out of the way so Republicans can.”

“Accountability begins at the top levels of leadership. Governor Perdue should provide the leadership North Carolinians want from her and immediately demand the resignation of Mary Easley. Governor Perdue was not elected to watch as a scandal rages on and the fallout deepens. She was elected to provide accountability and now is the time for her to prove she is willing to do so.”

“It is time for Governor Perdue and Legislative Democrats to do three things: 1. Join University President Bowles, legislative Republicans, and newspaper editorial boards across the state in demanding Mary Easley’s resignation. 2. Move immediately to defund Mary Easley’s faculty position. 3. Join with Republicans to hold legislative oversight hearings seeking to end corruption in State Government by determining how Mary Easley’s contract was agreed to and how the State Highway Patrol ‘lost’ more than a year of Mike Easley’s travel records.”

Pat McCrory to Address Republicans at 2009 NCGOP Convention

RALEIGH—Mayor Pat McCrory will address grassroots Republicans at the 2009 NCGOP Convention to be held from June 12-14 at the Raleigh Convention Center. Mayor McCrory will kick off the convention by speaking to delegates at the top of the first business session on Friday afternoon. He will deliver an address entitled "The Road to Victory." For a full schedule of events for the 2009 NCGOP Convention, click here.

Chairman Linda Daves, North Carolina Republican Party, made the following statement:

"I am extremely excited to have the mayor of my hometown and a good friend addressing the 2009 NCGOP Convention. As a highly effective mayor and visionary leader, Pat McCrory is just the right person to help North Carolina grassroots Republicans set a course for the future. Pat is the kind of leader that makes fellow Republicans proud to be on his team. It will be an honor to have him with us for our convention."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Honoring the 100th Anniversary of Ronald Reagan's Birth

President Ronald Reagan, in a way unlike anyone else, defined what it meant to be a Republican and a conservative. President Reagan faced every crisis with dignity, optimism, a belief in the inherent righteousness of the American ideal, and a belief in the enduring goodness of the American people.

There is no better way to honor the man than to study the timeless truth of the principles he espoused during his lifetime. This passage comes from a section of President Reagan's First Inaugural Address delivered on January 20, 1981.

"Idle industries have cast workers into unemployment, causing human misery and personal indignity. Those who do work are denied a fair return for their labor by a tax system which penalizes successful achievement and keeps us from maintaining full productivity.

But great as our tax burden is, it has not kept pace with public spending. For decades, we have piled deficit upon deficit, mortgaging our future and our children's future for the temporary convenience of the present. To continue this long trend is to guarantee tremendous social, cultural, political, and economic upheavals.

You and I, as individuals, can, by borrowing, live beyond our means, but for only a limited period of time. Why, then, should we think that collectively, as a nation, we are not bound by that same limitation?

We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow. And let there be no misunderstanding—we are going to begin to act, beginning today.

The economic ills we suffer have come upon us over several decades. They will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we, as Americans, have the capacity now, as we have had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom.

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem."