Are you for or against Constitutional amendment?

By: By Brent Jackson - Contributing columnist

Good afternoon,

I hope you’re doing well and having a nice week.

We have had a pretty busy week so far at the General Assembly. The Senate has taken up three significant bills: SB 607 Taxpayer Protection Act, HB 117 N.C. Competes Act, and HB 372 Medicaid Transformation/HIE/PrimaryCare/Funds.

I briefly mentioned SB 607 last week. This bill would put a constitutional amendment on the ballot in November of 2016 that would do 3 things. First, it lowers the maximum income tax rate in North Carolina from 10 percent to 5 percent. Second, it creates a constitutional “Rainy Day Fund” that can only be spent in emergency situations. Finally, the bill limits the growth of state spending to the percent change in inflation and population growth.

HB 117 has been a work in progress for several months. It extends the state Job Development Investment Grants (JDIG) program for an additional three years and increases the funding for grant awards to a maximum of $20 million per year. The bill changes the calculation of the corporate income tax on the basis of a single sales factor over three years, removing the existing penalty on businesses that hire North Carolina workers or invest in local property and infrastructure. It also changes the way sales tax is redistributed from the current 75 percent point-of-sale an 25 percent per capita formula to an even 50 percent point-of-sale and 50 percent per capita formula.

HB 372 reforms the states Medicaid plan to insure that we provide quality patient health outcomes and have accurate budget predictability. This is accomplished by using both provider-led health plans and managed care plans to cover the state’s medicaid population. The bill also creates a new Department of Medicaid managed by a cabinet secretary appointed by the governor and confirmed by the General Assembly. It is my hope that this bill will address the high cost overruns and sub-par care that has plagued our medicaid system recently.

Question of the Week

Thank you to everyone who responded to last week’s Question of the Week, I appreciate you taking the time to write back. Eighty-nine percent of you indicated that you supported the bill the Senate passed recently that allows National Guard members with concealed carry permits to carry a handgun while on duty.

For this week’s question, I would like to get your opinion on the constitutional amendment that will be on your ballot next November if the legislature passes SB 607. Below is the language as it will appear on the ballot:

The question to be used in the voting systems and ballots shall be:

”[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST Constitutional amendments adding the Taxpayer Protection Act to the North Carolina Constitution that would limit the growth of State spending to inflation plus population growth, establish and require yearly deposits in an Emergency Savings Reserve Fund in the State Treasury, and reduce the maximum allowable income tax rate in North Carolina from ten percent (10%) to five percent (5%).”

I look forward to hearing from you!

As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if I can assist you in any way possible.

Brent Jackson is a N.C. senator representing District 10, which includes Sampson, Duplin and Johnston counties.

By Brent Jackson

Contributing columnist

Brent Jackson is a N.C. senator representing District 10, which includes Sampson, Duplin and Johnston counties.