Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End of Year Report

Here is a series of public policy updates as the year 2013 comes to a close.

Economic Improvement

According to the latest data from the U.S. Department of Labor, North Carolina's unemployment rate is now 7.4 percent. That is a two percent drop from December 2012 (one year ago) when the statewide unemployment rate was 9.4 percent. Although the economy is still in need of improvement, this is encouraging news for North Carolina.

The improved economy in North Carolina may be a result of pro-business policies that have been promoted in the state legislature. Tax reform and regulatory reform are two major accomplishments that were made in the 2013 legislative session. Many of these reforms will take hold in 2014, which will hopefully help to strengthen our economy for years to come.

Public Education

Over the last few months I have visited several public schools in NC House District 59. My goal is to visit all of the schools in my district by the time the 2014 legislative session begins (which will be in May). This will allow me to learn directly from people who work in our education system.

One issue that needs to addressed is teacher pay. Many people, including myself, believe that teachers are underpaid in North Carolina (and have been long before Republicans came into the legislative majority). Unfortunately, the economic recovery and increasing costs related to Medicaid made it difficult to provide teachers with a pay increase this year.

However, I am confident that we will be able to provide teachers with a pay increase in next year's legislative session. Leaders in the NC General Assembly, Governor Pat McCrory, and Lt. Governor Dan Forest have all expressed interest in increasing teacher pay. This is a goal that we will work to accomplish in a manner that is responsible to the state budget.

Common Core

Many constituents have contacted me to express concerns about Common Core. In simple terms, Common Core is a set of national K-12 education standards (focused on English and math) that was adopted by numerous states, including North Carolina. There are many people who are concerned that the standards are unworkable and that they will reduce local control of education.

This is an issue that transcends partisan politics. I have heard from both Democrats and Republicans who are concerned about Common Core. I have heard from parents, teachers, and administrators who are concerned about this issue.

The North Carolina legislature has established a joint study committee on Common Core. Although I was unable to secure an appointment to the committee, I will be attending each meeting that is held. If you have any thoughts or feedback on this topic, please do not hesitate to contact me.


It is no surprise that the rollout of Obamacare has been problematic. Aside from problems related to the online health care exchanges, many people have lost their health care plan, and others have seen (or could see) an increase in the cost of their insurance. Also, businesses are struggling to find ways to handle the regulations that will result from Obamacare.

In North Carolina, our legislature chose not to expand Medicaid (as a part of Obamacare), and we also chose not to establish a state health care exchange (also a part of Obamacare). These actions will help to protect our citizens from potential long-term problems related to Obamacare.

Due to the fact that Obamacare is a federal law, it is important that we elect leaders to federal office who are willing to repeal and restructure the law. This issue is not about politics. It is about addressing problems related to an overreaching federal law that will lead to long-term ramifications on our nation's economy.

Awards and Recognition

It has been an honor to receive the following awards and recognitions related to the 2013 legislative session:

"NC Legislative Freshman Trailblazer" award from the NC Alliance for Public Charter Schools

"Certificate of Appreciation" from the NC Coalition for Lobbying and Government Reform

Highest-rated legislator from Guilford County by the NC Free Enterprise Foundation

Highest-rated legislator from Guilford County by the NC Chamber of Commerce

NC Tax and Budget Information

Here is information on North Carolina's new tax rates (which are lower due to tax reform) and budget revenue.

Basic Tax Rates

Personal Income Tax: 5.8% (flat rate)

Corporate Tax: 6%

Sales and Use Tax: 4.75% (average State and Local is 6.75%)

State Gas Tax: 37.5% (capped at this rate)

Estate Tax: Eliminated

Standard Deductions

Single Taxpayer: $7,500

Head of Household: $12,000

Married Filing Jointly: $15,000

Budget Revenue

- General Fund Revenue: $20.1 billion (FY 12-13)

- Public Education: 56%

- Health and Human Services: 24%

- Justice and Public Safety: 11%

- Reserves and Debt Service: 5%

- General Government: 2%

- Natural and Economic Resources: 2%

Reelection 2014

Soon I will be releasing a statement declaring my intentions to seek reelection to the NC House in 2014. It has been an honor to serve in our state legislature, and I hope that our citizens will allow me to continue serving. I would be grateful to have your support of my reelection efforts.

Happy New Year

Let us remember the positive memories of 2013 while looking forward to new opportunities in 2014. Best wishes to you and your family for a prosperous New Year. I hope that all of your goals for the New Year will become a reality.

Quote to Remember

"New Year's Day is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one."
- Brad Paisley

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

Best wishes to you and your family for a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. I hope that you will enjoy spending time with family and friends. Be safe if you travel and have a great Holiday Season.

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year."
- Charles Dickens

End of Year Report

Within the next few days I will release an update on North Carolina politics. I intended on releasing the update sooner, but I decided to wait until the end of December. As always, I will do my best to keep people updated on public policy issues.

Once again, best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Now is the time of year to express gratitude for the positive aspects of life. I hope that you will find time to spend with friends and family. Be safe if you travel and have a great Thanksgiving!

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
- President John F. Kennedy

Christmas Parades

Next month I will be participating in two Christmas parades in Guilford County:

Pleasant Garden Christmas Parade
Sunday, December 8th
3:00 PM

Gibsonville Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 14th
2:00 PM

Look for me in my red Ford Mustang, also known as the "Campaign Mobile."

News Updates Coming Soon

In the next week or so I will be releasing an update on public policy issues in North Carolina. I will share some thoughts on topics that are important to our citizens. Also, I would like to provide an update on what to expect in future legislative sessions.

Once again, best wishes for a happy and safe Thanksgiving!


Rep. Jon Hardister
NC House District 59

Friday, November 15, 2013

Congressman Howard Coble

The Rhino Times was gracious enough to print a column that I wrote about Howard Coble's decision to retire from Congress. Below is the full version of my column, as it appears in this week's edition of the Rhino Times:

More Politicians Like Coble Needed

On Thursday, November 7, Howard Coble announced his retirement from Congress. He was first elected in 1984. When he leaves office at the conclusion of his current term, it will mark 30 years (15 consecutive terms) as an elected member of Congress.

There is no way that I can adequately express my admiration for Howard Coble. He has been my congressman for as long as I can remember. I was only two years old when he took office. I am now 31.

Many of us claim that some people stay in elected office for too long. I believe that is often true. But Howard Coble is different. He has dedicated his life to serving his constituents to the best of his ability. Over the years he has proven to have the integrity and sincerity that we need in Washington. I firmly believe that our nation would be better off if we had more people like him in office.

Have I agreed with Howard on every issue? Of course not. There is no elected official with whom you will agree with 100 percent of the time. But I have agreed with the vast majority of his votes in Congress.

Howard is a fiscal conservative. He believes in smaller government, less taxes, and free enterprise. And he has held true to those values the entire duration in which he has served in Washington. As Howard likes to say, he has "brought a sharp pencil to the budget."

But there is more to Howard than his conservative principles. He is perhaps the most genuine individual who you will ever meet. There is absolutely no pretense about him. He treats everyone with dignity and respect.

If it were not for Howard Coble, I would not be in public office today. When I was in college I had the opportunity to work as an intern for Howard in his Greensboro office. This experience is primarily what inspired me to run for public office.

When my time working for Howard was over, I knew one thing for certain: I wanted to run for public office. And I knew that Howard Coble was going to be my role model. I remember thinking to myself, "If I can be halfway as good a public servant as Howard Coble, then I will be doing all right."

There are several important lessons that I learned from Howard. Stay true to your values. Work hard and dedicate yourself to the job. Be accessible to your constituents. Maintain your integrity. Keep an open mind. Be sincere in your actions. Treat people with respect. The list goes on, but these are a few of the important qualities that I observed while working for Howard. They are qualities that I will never forget.

Howard has never been married and he has no children. His life the past 30 years has been dedicated to his duties as a congressman. He has worked hard for us in Washington, but he is always quick to come home when session is out. He enjoys traveling his district and spending time with his constituents. He makes himself available to those whom he has the privilege of representing in Washington.

One notable trait about Howard is his personal frugality. He lives in a modest townhome in Greensboro and has driven the same automobile for over 10 years. He buys clothes on sale and has never lived a lavish lifestyle by any stretch of the imagination. In other words, he lives by the conservative standards that he advocates in public policy.

Then there is Howard's congenial sense of humor. He often enjoys telling jokes or short stories that have a punch line. And his humor is often self-deprecating. Whether he is speaking with someone in private or giving a speech to a large audience, Howard will often interject humor into the conversation. This approach has helped Howard to connect with people on a personal level. It also reminds us that it is important to refrain from taking life too seriously.

An amazing skill that Howard has developed over the years is the ability to remember school mascots. It seems that he has been able to memorize the mascot of every school in his congressional district. This includes elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities. If you have ever met Howard, chances are that he has asked you where you went to school. And chances are he knew the mascot of the school that you attended.

Back when I worked in Howard's Greensboro office, I was stunned by the amount of energy that he had. Although he was in his mid-70s at the time, he had more energy than anyone on his staff. We all had trouble keeping up with him. He kept a full schedule and was constantly on the go. It was amazing to see a man his age display such an impressive amount of stamina.

But the fact is that we are all human and Howard Coble is no different. Howard is now 82 years old and his age is catching up with him. He has been stricken with back problems and other health issues that are slowing him down. His mind is sharp as ever, but his physical condition is beginning to falter.

Although I am sad to see Howard retire, I believe that he is making the right decision. Howard knows that his physical condition is becoming an obstacle in his ability to do his job. If he felt better, he would probably run again. But he clearly doesn't feel well enough to continue a demanding schedule as a member of Congress. There comes a time when we all must move on, and that time has come for Howard Coble.

This does not mean that Howard Coble is going away. I expect that he will remain an active member of our community for many years to come. There are many ways that Howard can stay involved and make a positive difference for our citizens.

When Howard leaves office, he will leave behind a legacy. His legacy will be that of a public servant who performed his duties with dedication and honor. Not only as a member of Congress, but also as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard and as a legislator in the N.C. House.

But Howard will leave behind something more than a legacy. He will leave behind a model of public service to be emulated. People from all walks of life can look at him as an example to follow.
Thank you, Howard Coble, for serving our community so well. You will be missed for many years to come. And you will never be forgotten.

# # #

Copies Are On The Stands

Be sure to pick up a copy of this week's edition of the Rhino Times to see the column in print. It can be found on page 31. It is truly an honor to have this column published in the Rhino Times.

The News & Record was also kind enough to agree to publish this column. It should appear in the News & Record within the next few days (perhaps in this Sunday's edition).


Jon Hardister

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

2013 Legislative Review

Now that the 2013 legislative session has come to a close, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the progress that was made. With many positive reforms being advanced, I believe that North Carolina is on track to see a brighter future. Here are some of the highlights:

Tax Reform

Reforming our tax code is perhaps the most profound achievement of the year. It had become clear that we needed to reform our tax code in order to make North Carolina more competitive with other states.

North Carolina's tax reform plan will reduce our personal income tax to a flat rate of 5.75 percent; drastically lower the corporate tax; eliminate the estate tax; and modernize our tax code. It will also place a cap on the gas tax.

According to the Washington-based Tax Foundation, this reform will move our state from having the 48th worst tax climate to the 17th best. This is a major step in the right direction, and it will help to attract jobs to North Carolina.

Budget Reform

Another critical area that needed attention was our state budget situation.

Passing a budget that is balanced and responsible; reforming our unemployment insurance system; and requiring lawmakers to seek voter approval before assuming new government debt are all achievements in getting our state finances in order.

Another notable factor in the state budget is the discontinuation of funding for the NC Rural Center, which had been misusing tax dollars.

Regulatory Reform

There were several measures advanced in the General Assembly this year that reduce and streamline government regulations.

Perhaps the most notable regulatory reform measure is a requirement for state regulations to be reviewed on a periodic bases. Under this reform, the Rules Review Commission will be tasked with analyzing state regulations. Rules that are deemed unnecessary would be allowed to expire, which will help to ensure that existing rules are necessary.

On a personal note, I am honored that three of my bills related to regulatory reform were passed into law. HB 610 eases customer service regulations on professional athletic teams; HB 687 provides non-profit homeless shelters with more flexibility in how they operate; and HB 761 streamlines state laws related to the bail bond industry.


This year's budget re-writes the state's formula for funding of transportation projects, which will help to direct funding to where it is most needed. This will be done in concert with mandating a data-driven prioritization process, while allowing input from citizens. The General Assembly has also moved forward with efforts to reduce the influence of politics in transportation policy by eliminating named projects from statute.


There have been several innovative measures taken this year to increase the quality of education in North Carolina. Replacing teacher tenure with employment contracts; promoting bonus pay for teachers; strengthening our public charter school system; and increasing pre-K enrollment are steps that have been taken to innovate our education system.

One further education reform worth noting is the establishment of career diplomas for high school students. These diplomas will indicate whether a student is college-ready, career-ready, or both. This will help young people determine what type of career they would like to pursue.

Health Care

Finding ways to streamline our Medicaid system has been a major topic this year. An important step in this process is a provision in the state budget that will allow the executive branch to formulate a comprehensive plan to reform our Medicaid system. The goal is to increase the efficiency of our Medicaid system while reducing the financial burden on our taxpayers.

Also, the General Assembly decided to opt-out of complying with certain provisions of Obamacare, including an expansion of Medicaid and the establishment of a state-run health care exchange.

Voter ID

Legislation to require voters to show photo ID when voting has become law. Implementing these requirements will help to protect the integrity of our elections system. This is a logical way to guard against potential voter fraud, and to promote confidence in how elections are conducted.

Second Amendment

Laws were passed this session that will help to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens who own firearms. Most notably, legislation was passed that will strengthen the rights of citizens who have a conceal-carry permit, while also increasing penalties for criminal misuse of firearms. Steps were also taken to protect the privacy of individuals who have a conceal-carry permit (or a pistol purchase permit).

Public Safety

Additional officers will be added to the Highway Patrol system, while also providing critical funding for fuel, equipment, and training. There will also be an increase in the number of magistrates and parole officers across the state. This will help to ensure that criminal cases are handled as efficiently as possible.

Jordan Lake Rules

Legislation was passed this session that will pause the implementation of future Jordan Lake Rules. This will allow time for a study to determine the long-term effects of the rules, and whether or not they should be re-written. The goal is to find a sensible way to protect the environment while also protecting taxpayer dollars. (The Jordan Lake Rules, if fully-implemented, would impose a significant financial cost on Guilford County.)

North Carolina Moves Forward

There is no quick fix to instantly turn around the economy in North Carolina, but the process has begun. Many positive, pro-economic measures have been advanced in this legislative session. These advancements will help to strengthen our economy and provide more opportunity for our citizens.

It is my true belief that North Carolina's best days have yet to come. My hope is that North Carolina will be a state where government is efficient; there is more opportunity for citizens; and other states look to us as a model for success. When looking back on the recent legislative session, I believe that we are moving in the direction of making that hope a reality.

As always, do not hesitate to contact me with questions or comments. It is an honor to work for you in the NC House.

Quote to Remember

"All of us should remember that the government is not some mysterious institution comprised of buildings, files, and paper. The people are the government. What we create we ought to be able to control."
- President Ronald Reagan

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Statement on NC Budget

The NC General Assembly recently passed a $20.6 billion state budget into law. This is a balanced budget that provides funding for core services of government. All things considered, I believe this budget is a positive step towards getting our state finances in order.

As you can imagine, crafting a state budget is a difficult process. This process is even more difficult when state revenue is tight as a result of the ongoing economic recovery. Therefore, we have to be very judicious and methodical in how we allocate taxpayer dollars.

When I ran for the NC House, I ran on a platform of lower taxes and fiscal responsibility. After reviewing the state budget, I felt that it was a responsible approach to spending taxpayer dollars. Therefore, I concluded that the proposed state budget, which resulted from extensive negotiations between the House and Senate, deserved my vote.

This budget provides funds for the core services of government, such as education, transportation, public safety, and Medicaid.

Many of the concerns that people have expressed about the state budget are related to public education. Some people seem to be concerned that our state budget does not do enough to support our education system. But that is simply not the case, and I would like to take a moment to explain why.

First, it is important to remember that the overall education budget actually increased over the previous school year. No current teaching positions were cut, and no current teachers will take a pay cut. It is also important to remember that public education comprises 56 percent of the state budget. This is up one percent from last school year, when education was 55 percent of the state budget.

With over half of the state budget dedicated to funding public education, it is hard to argue that North Carolina is not supporting our education system.

It is true that the budget would eliminate teacher tenure and replace it with a contract program and bonus pay. This makes sense, as it would be a way to reward the best teachers, while identifying those teachers who may need further training. Operating under a contract method will increase overall accountability of educators, which is important, as we need to have quality teachers in the classroom.

There has also been talk about a provision in the budget that would eliminate the Master's degree incentive for teachers. The fact of the matter is that having a Master's degree does not necessarily make a teacher more effective. Therefore, it would make better sense to pay and retain teachers based on their overall performance, rather than their education background.

For example, let's say that you own and operate a business. Would you find it logical to pay your employees based on the types of degrees they have, or would you find it more logical to assess your employees based on their performance on the job? I would submit that it would make better sense to assess and compensate employees based on their ability to meet the bottom line and get the job done. And I believe it is logical to apply that same philosophy to teaching professionals.

As for teacher pay in general, I do believe that overall teacher pay should be increased. The starting salary of a teacher, in my opinion, is lower than it should be. In fact, not being able to provide a pay raise for teachers in this budget is something that I regret. However, we must remember that state funds are limited (especially due to the economic recovery), which makes it difficult to provide a pay raise to state employees at this time.

This is simply a matter of understanding economic reality. We must remember that there are thousands of private sector employees who have gone an extended amount of time without a pay increase, and in some cases, have lost their job. In other words, the economic reality has not affected state employees alone; it has affected many of our citizens.

It is worth noting that the current budget includes five extra days of vacation for state employees (which includes teachers). Also, as a result of tax reform, all of our citizens (including teachers) will keep more of the money they earn. This is an important factor, as tax reform will relieve the financial burden on all of our citizens.

Let us not forget the fact that, while teachers do not necessarily earn a lucrative salary, they do receive very good benefits. Health care, vacation, and retirement are excellent benefits that are provided to our teachers. These benefits clearly cost money (especially the health care and retirement), which is part of the state's obligation to our teaching professionals (which is supported by taxpayer dollars).

By contrast, many self-employed individuals don't get these benefits. Instead, they have to pay for their own health insurance and plan their own retirement. This is not to say that teachers have it made compared to everyone else; I am simply trying to put this into a logical perspective.

Moving forward, I believe that we should work to increase overall pay for teachers. If we are able to hold educators accountable for their work, then educators should be able to earn a higher salary. I also believe that we should continue to work to provide more funding for classrooms.

In the realm of public education policy, we have passed laws this session that will strengthen our public charter schools system and provide more choices for parents. All of this is being done while still supporting our traditional public school system. Working to allow more choices for parents and more opportunities for children is a worthy endeavor.

Finally, I would like to conclude with some highlights of the state budget. This should help to provide some insight as to what the current budget entails:
  • Overall state spending increased by about 2.5 percent under this budget, while providing significant tax cuts for all of our citizens.
  • Includes $1.5 billion in additional state dollars for Medicaid costs.
  • Includes a provision to allow the executive branch to develop a plan for Medicaid reform.
  • Provides funding for an additional 2,500 pre-K slots.
  • Supports the governor's vision for overhauling the North Carolina Highway Trust Fund, which consolidates various funding streams to prioritize and accelerate transportation infrastructure projects.
  • Endeavors to remove politics from transportation decision-making by eliminating named projects from statute.
  • Restores funding for 69 trooper positions within the State Highway Patrol and provides increased funding for needed fuel, equipment and training.
  • Adds 22 magistrates and 175 probation and parole officers across the state to ensure that cases are processed efficiently and that criminal offenders are supervised and in compliance with the law.
  • Fulfills our obligation to state employees by fully funding the state retirement system and state health plan, and provides five bonus leave days for state employees.
  • Ensures budgeting certainty for cities, counties and towns by providing localities with some transitional hold harmless funds.
  • Sets aside approximately $230 million for the rainy day fund to protect against future shortfalls, bringing the total to approximately$650 million.
All things considered, I believe this is a fiscally responsible budget, and that it will help to improve North Carolina's financial situation.

Being a legislator involves making difficult decisions. Choosing to vote in favor of this budget was not an easy decision, but I felt that it was the right thing to do. We have to take steps to make North Carolina competitive with other states, and promoting sound fiscal policies along with tax reform is a part of that process.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my reasoning in supporting the state budget. Hopefully this helps to provide context as to why I chose to support this spending plan.

As always, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or feedback.

Quote to Remember

"There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your own means."
- President Calvin Coolidge

Coming Soon

In the next few days I will be releasing a summary of the accomplishments that were made in the General Assembly this year. I will detail some of the reforms that were passed into law, and explain why I believe North Carolina is on the right track.

Also, I will soon be releasing a public statement to explain the reasoning behind SB 317, which will reconfigure the Guilford County Board of Education.


Jon Hardister

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tax Reform Moves Forward

Several weeks ago the NC House passed a tax reform plan. Shortly thereafter, the NC Senate passed its own version of tax reform. Since then, members of both legislative chambers have engaged in negotiations to determine the best way forward in reforming our tax code.

On Monday, July 15 our leadership in the General Assembly -- along with Governor Pat McCrory -- announced an agreement on tax reform. After thorough discussion and debate, we have agreed on a plan that will simplify our tax code and ease the tax burden on our citizens. This is great news for the economic future of North Carolina.

It is important to remember that tax reform is a process; not an event. This tax reform plan will result in a significant improvement to our economic environment, while laying the groundwork for additional reform in the future.

In fact, the Tax Foundation has said that our tax reform plan will take North Carolina from the 44th worst to the 17th best tax climate in the nation.

Here are the highlights of our tax reform plan:
  • Reduces the personal income tax to a fair, flat rate of 5.8 percent in 2014 and 5.75 percent thereafter.
  • Reduces the corporate tax to 6 percent in 2014, and 5 percent thereafter.
  • Allows standard deductions of $7,500 for single individuals (or those who are married and file separately); $12,000 for head-of-household; and $15,000 for those who are married and file joint taxes.
  • Expands the sales tax to cover some, but not all, services.
  • Exempts food, medicine, and Social Security from taxation.
  • Keeps the mortgage interest and property tax deductions, but caps them at $20,000.
  • Exempts non-profits from taxation with a cap of $45 million.
  • Eliminates the Estate Tax (commonly known as the "Death Tax").
  • Caps the gas tax at 37.5 cents/gallon.
This is a solid, pro-business tax reform plan. As I said, tax reform is a process, and this is an excellent step in the right direction.

Having the opportunity to vote in favor of this tax reform plan was a great honor. Many of our legislators, including myself, campaigned on promises to reform our tax code in a sensible fashion. I believe this plan accomplishes that goal.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or feedback.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Praying for Billy Yow

Over the last few years I have had the pleasure of getting to know Billy Yow. When I first ran for public office in 2010, I reached out to Billy to introduce myself and to ask for his help. Although he had never met me, he was gracious with his time and encouraging of my efforts to get involved in politics.

Upon getting to know Billy, I was impressed with his dedication to public service and his common sense approach to solving problems. I admired the way in which he would speak from the heart and tell you exactly how he feels. He is a logical thinker, and Guilford County has benefited from his years of service on the Board of Commissioners.

In addition to public service, Billy is extremely dedicated to his family and to his business. He has built a successful company and supported his family by working hard nearly every day of his life. His work ethic is impeccable.

When I heard about the recent accident that Billy was involved in, I was in shock. Billy has a larger-than-life persona, which makes it hard to believe that he is injured.

Billy Yow is a friend of mine. He is one of the most determined and tenacious individuals I have ever met. There is no question that he is fighting hard and fearlessly to overcome his injuries.

With his determination to succeed, I am confident that Billy will make a full recovery. But we need to pray for him to stay strong. We also need to pray for the strength and comfort of his family.

Keep up the good fight, Billy. I look forward to seeing you again soon.


Jon Hardister

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tax Reform Update

As you know, we have been working on a tax reform plan in the NC House. Our goal is to modernize an outdated tax code and reduce overall tax rates. Most importantly, we are working to create a better business environment, which will promote job creation.

Here is an overview of our plan...

HB 998 - The Tax Simplification and Reduction Act

Under this plan, working families of North Carolina will keep more of the money they earn. This will make our State more competitive for job creation. In fact, Americans for Tax Reform predicts that this plan would result in our State going from the 7th worst business climate to the 19th best in the nation.


This plan would cut the personal income tax by $1.7 billion over the next five years, giving all North Carolinians an income tax reduction. The three-tiered tax bracket system would be eliminated and replaced with a flat rate of 5.9 percent. This is a much more equitable method of applying income taxes to our citizens.

There would be no tax on Social Security, and the deductions for mortgage interest and property tax would remain in place with a $25,000 maximum.

Moving to a flat tax on personal income is a major development in reforming our tax code. It will make our State much more conducive for economic growth, and it will benefit all of our citizens.


North Carolina's corporate tax rate would be reduced from 6.9 percent to 5.4 percent. This would make our corporate tax rate the second lowest in the Southeast, just behind South Carolina. Reducing this particular tax is pivotal, because corporate taxes are typically passed to consumers. Reducing this tax would also make North Carolina more attractive for businesses, which will result in more job creation.


Currently, our sales tax applies primarily to goods and not to services. Over the last couple of decades our State has moved from more of a goods-based economy to a service-based economy. As a result, our government is generating less revenue from the sales tax, which has caused income and corporate taxes to increase.

In order to get these rates down, we must expand the sales tax to include some, but not all, services. This plan would expand the sales tax to services that already collect and remit part of the sales tax, such as warranties and service contracts. Doing this allows us to lower our overall tax rates, which will help to spur economic growth.

Exemptions from state sales taxes on food and medicine would be kept in place. This would ensure that citizens are not paying taxes on the most essential necessities.


Tax reform is a process, and this plan is a positive step toward creating a sensible tax structure. I believe this is an excellent plan. Not only will it ease the tax burden on our citizens, it will also help to achieve the objective of creating a better economic environment. This plan also sets us on course to implement further tax reform measures in the future.

Stay tuned for more updates on tax reform, and let me know if you have any feedback. Your thoughts are always welcome.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

NC House Update - June '13

Tax Reform

We are now in the midst of discussing tax reform in the NC House. My hope is that we can lower personal income taxes; move to a flat rate on personal income taxes; lower the corporate tax rate; and broaden our sales tax to cover some, but not all, services. Our goal is to create a tax code that will ease the burden on taxpayers and generate more economic activity.

If you have thoughts or ideas on tax reform, please contact me. Your feedback is always welcome.

State Budget

In addition to tax reform, we are currently working through the budget process. Our goal is to implement a budget that is fiscally responsible and sensible. Both the House and Senate are working on individual plans, and there will be extensive discussions before a final plan is reached.

In my opinion, we must focus on working to advance a plan that applies taxpayer funds to core responsibilities of government. Stay tuned for more information as we move forward with this process.

Bills Pass the NC House

There have been numerous bills that I have cosponsored this legislative session. However, there are seven bills that I have filed this year as the lead sponsor. Fortunately, each of these bills has passed the House and moved to the Senate.

Advancing these bills was a great honor, and I could not have done it without the support of colleagues and staff. Here is a list of each of the bills that I filed as the lead sponsor this session:

HB 250 - Charter School Enrollment

HB 273 - Charter School/LEA Accounting of Funds

HB 610 - Modify Requirements for In-Stand Beer Sales

HB 687 - Homeless Shelters/ Remove Age Limits

HB 688 - Amend Continuing Ed Req's/Cert. Well K'ors

HB 761 - Exempt Well K'ors/Electrical K'ors Lic Reqs

HB 762 - Amend Certain Bail Bond Procedures

Common Core

Lately I have been getting a lot of feedback on Common Core, which is a federal program pertaining to education. Parents and teachers alike have contacted me to express their concerns about this topic. While the supporters of Common Core may have good intentions, I must confess that I have serious concerns about this program.

First and foremost, I believe that education is a state and local issue. As someone who believes in parental choice and local control of education, I am skeptical of any federal program that would institute regulations on education in North Carolina.

HB 718, which is currently in the NC Senate, would create a commission to study the effects of Common Core in North Carolina. I think this is a great idea, and it is important that we move forward with this study.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any thoughts, concerns, or ideas on the topic of Common Core.

Quote to Remember

"The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary."
- Vince Lombardi

Friday, April 26, 2013



Friday, April 26, 2013

Raleigh, NC - Yesterday Rep. Jon Hardister (R - Guilford) successfully passed two regulatory reform bills in the NC House. 

HB 688, which passed on a vote of 115-2, reduces continuing education requirements for ground water well contractors. HB 761, which passed on a unanimous vote, allows ground water well drillers the ability to install certain electrical devices. The purpose of these two bills is to ease the regulatory burden on the well contracting industry.

"These bills will make it easier for well contractors to do their job," Hardister said. "It is important that we work to implement policies that will make it easier for private sector businesses to grow. These two bills will help to accomplish that goal."

Hardister also expressed gratitude for the strong bipartisan support that both of these bills received.

Contact: Jon Hardister (jonhardister@gmail.com)

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013



Raleigh, N.C. - Yesterday Rep. Jon Hardister (R - Guilford) successfully passed his first bill in the NC House. HB 250 - Charter School Enrollment - cleared the NC House on third reading with a vote of 114-1. The bill, which is supported by the NC Alliance for Public Charter Schools and the NC Public Charter Schools Association, will now go to the NC Senate for consideration.

"This bill will provide charter schools with more flexibility in how they conduct enrollment procedures," Hardister said. "It is an honor to promote this bill, and I am thankful that it passed overwhelmingly. I appreciate each individual who supported the passage of this bill."

Contact: Jon Hardister (jonhardister@gmail.com)


Tuesday, March 12, 2013



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Raleigh, N.C. - Yesterday Rep. Jon Hardister (R - Guilford) filed HB 273, which addresses accounting issues related to charter school funding. The bill would require local education authorities to provide an accounting of charter school funds and a time line for the transfer of funds. It would also require local education authorities to transfer charter school funds on time. Reps. Marcus Brandon (D - Guilford), Chris Malone (R - Wake), and Paul Stam (R - Wake) have joined Hardister as primary sponsors of the bill. 

"The purpose of this bill is to bring more transparency to the funding of charter schools," Hardister said. "It is reasonable to require details on how funds are transferred to charter schools. It is also reasonable to require charter school funds to be transferred on time. This is a bipartisan bill, and I am hopeful that it will move forward successfully."

Contact: Jon Hardister (jonhardister@gmail.com)

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Friday, March 8, 2013



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Raleigh, N.C. - Yesterday Rep. Jon Hardister (R - Guilford) filed HB 250, which addresses enrollment procedures for charter schools in North Carolina. The bill would expand preferential enrollment to the children of all school employees; allow for all siblings to enter a charter school under a lottery; and allow re-enrollment priority for a student who leaves a charter school for less than two years due to special circumstances. Reps. Marcus Brandon (D - Guilford), Donny Lambeth (R - Forsyth), and Paul Stam (R - Wake) have joined Hardister as primary sponsors of the bill.

"It is important that we work to improve our charter school system in North Carolina," Hardister said. "This is a bipartisan bill, and I am hopeful that it will move forward successfully in the NC House."

Contact: Jon Hardister (jonhardister@gmail.com)

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NC House Update

We are now several weeks into the 2013 legislative session. Although we have been faced with some tough decisions, I feel as though we are on the right track. Here are some updates...
Unemployment Insurance

We passed HB 4, which will allow North Carolina to retire a debt of $2.5 billion to the federal government. This bill brought unemployment benefits in-line with surrounding states, and adjusted contributions to the system. Although this was not a pleasant bill to support, it was the best possible approach to address this problem.

Medicaid Expansion

We need to focus on improving our current Medicaid system before expanding bureaucracy and incurring additional costs. Expanding Medicaid was simply not a prudent idea given the fiscal uncertainty that would be associated with the expansion. Ultimately, we passed SB 4, which blocked both the expansion of Medicaid and the establishment of a state healthcare exchange.  

Vocational Education

We passed SB 14, which will increase opportunities for high school students to enroll in career and technical education programs, particularly in areas with employment needs. This legislation also establishes high school diplomas that indicate whether a student is "college ready," "career ready" or both. This was the first bill that Governor McCrory officially signed into law.

Annexation Amendment

HB 79, which I have introduced as a primary sponsor, would set forth a constitutional amendment to protect private property from forced annexation. If this bill makes it through the General Assembly, it will be submitted to the voters for approval as a constitutional amendment.
Estate Tax
We recently advanced a bill in the House Finance Committee that will abolish the estate tax in North Carolina. I am firmly opposed to the estate tax, and I believe it should be eliminated as part of our tax code. I expect this bill to move forward successfully in the current legislative session.

Notable Bills

Here are some notable bills that I have sponsored:

HB 8 Eminent Domain
HB 9 Speaker/Pro TEM Term Limits
HB 17 Gun Permits / Restaurants & Confidentiality
HB 65 Restore Partisan Judicial Elections
HB 67 Permanent License Plates for Charter Schools
HB 118 Consular Documents Not Acceptable as ID
Quote to Remember
"Courage is what it take to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."
- Winston Churchill
It is an honor to serve in the NC House. Each day, I dedicated myself to making informed decisions as to what is best for my constituents. Thank you for the opportunity to serve, and feel free to contact me any time.