by J.J. Summerell
Chair, Libertarian Party of North Carolina
The tax reform plan announced by state Sen. Phil Berger is just another charade designed to make citizens think Republicans are actually reducing taxes. Calling it the Tax Fairness Act and claiming it’s the largest tax cut in state history is misleading at best.
In fact, it isn’t fair and it isn’t a tax cut. Senator Berger and the other Republican leaders at their press conference last week probably used the word “fair” hundreds of times.
No tax is fair. Taxes are inherently unfair. Every tax hurts someone. The only difference between taxes proposed by Republicans and Democrats is which special interest group is going to benefit and which is going to pay.
Several more election laws bills have been introduced in the General Assembly, including two that would eliminate straight-party voting.
HB185, called the Ballot Reform Act, would end straight-party voting. But it would also reinforce the preferential treatment given the Democratic and Republican parties when listing candidates on the ballot.
The bill would provide for the party that won the governorship to be listed first on the ballot, followed by other parties with more than five percent of registered voters, in an alphabetic order starting with the first letter of the governor’s last name.
All other political parties would then be listed in alphabetical order by party. Independent candidates would be still be listed last, using the alphabetical order formula based on the governor’s last name.
HB185 sponsors are Representatives Bert Jones, Susan Martin, Debra Conrad and Bob Steinburg, all Republicans.
In contrast, Senators E.S. Newton and Thom Goolsby have filed SB82, which simply eliminates straight-party voting.
In the first two days of the N.C. General Assembly, four election law bills were introduced. A controversial voter ID bill was not among, even though House Speaker Thom Tillis listed it as part of the Republican Party’s agenda. The GOP is expected to use its veto-proof majority in both house to push the bill rapidly through the legislature.
Free the Vote NC, a ballot access reform group, is expected to have a bill ready in the next few weeks which would dramatically lower the barriers for third parties and independent candidates to get on the ballot. It will be similar to a bill which passed the House last session, but failed in the Senate.
Isn’t it interesting the way so-called veteran legislators always decide to “retire” in the middle of their terms, rather than simply choosing not to run for reelection. Could it be that they do this to give their political party the advantage of appointing their successor who can then run for “reelection” in the next election as the incumbent?
Following in the footsteps of his father, Jordon M. Greene is running for elective office as an unaffiliated candidate. Greene recently announced his candidacy for state House District 87, covering Caldwell County.
Jordon M. Greene
“I’m running for N.C. House because you deserve a representative in Raleigh that values the liberty of each citizen equally and respects the diversity of views and opinions held by his constituents while holding firm to his own values,” Greene said in his campaign announcement. “I’m a concerned citizen who simply cannot stand by when liberty is at stake.”
Greene was campaign manager for his father Bryan’s unsuccessful attempt to run for Congress as an unaffiliated candidate in 2008. The elder Greene failed to collect the 16,457 signatures needed under North Carolina’s highly restrictive ballot access laws.
The young Greene said he’s running as an unaffiliated candidate because the party he’s chosen to join, the Constitution Party, is not allowed on the ballot. “North Carolina’s ballot access laws unduly regulate and, in the end, violate my freedom of association by keeping my party off the ballot with overly restrictive signatures requirements unparalleled in most states,” he said.