Monday, November 2, 2015

2015 Legislative Review

The 2015 session of the North Carolina General Assembly came to a close on October 1st. We now stand adjourned until April 2016. Now that this year's session has come to an end, I wanted to take a moment to update you on some of the work that has been done.

Good News

Our state legislature has worked hard to be responsible with tax dollars and to increase government efficiency. As a result, we have the 16th lowest debt in the nation and we are one of only 15 states that have a AAA credit rating.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, we rank 10th in the nation for job creation and growth in per-capita income over the last year.

Forbes Magazine recently ranked North Carolina second on their list of "Best States for Business and Careers." We have also received favorable reviews from the Tax Foundation and the Wall Street Journal.

Our goal is to make North Carolina the best place to do business in the country. This will lead to job creation and more opportunity for citizens, which is what we need. As more jobs are created, we will generate the revenue necessary to fund the core services of government such as education, transportation and public safety.

State Budget Update

This year the state legislature passed a responsible budget that funds the core services of government efficiently. The House and Senate were at odds on several portions of the budget, which required a great deal of work to reconcile. We ultimately agreed on a $21.7 billion spending plan for the current fiscal year.
  • Here are some highlights:
  • Reduces the personal income tax rate to 5.5 percent (maintains flat rate)
  • Increases standard tax deductions
  • Allows the corporate tax rate to drop to 4 percent
  • Reinstates the Medical Tax Deduction
  • Reforms various state regulations and promotes transparency
  • Increases K-12 education funding by over $400 million
  • Increases starting teacher pay by 6 percent
  • Funds teacher pay steps, which allows for pay increases
  • Preserves funding for all teacher assistant positions
  • Preserves funding for Driver's Education
  • Enhances pay for Highway Patrol Officers
  • Protects Highway Trust Fund revenue
  • Continues modernization of the DMV
  • Provides a $750 bonus for all state employees
  • Provides funds to modernize the judicial system
  • Increases funds in the State Savings Account
This is a responsible budget and it was a good compromise between the House and Senate. Spending is kept within TABOR limits, which means it doesn't exceed changes in population or inflation. Although we were not able to secure an increase in base pay for state employees, I am confident that this will be done in next year's legislative session.

In addition to the highlights listed above, we also implemented Medicaid reform. This is intended to make the system more efficient and cost-effective. So far the reforms appear to be working, which is evidenced by the fact that Medicaid came in under its projected budget this year.

Legislative Work

Three bills that I filed this year have become law:

HB 126 - Streamlines laws and provides regulatory relief for small businesses in the mortgage processing/underwriting industry.

HB 607 - Allows parents and guardians to place a security freeze on their child's credit, protecting children from identity theft.

HB 651 - Reduces regulations and financial costs on small business in the real estate appraising industry.

There are other bills that I worked on this year, but these are three that I filed as a primary sponsor. I am honored that these bills have become law.

In Our Community

The best part of my job is having the opportunity to speak with constituents and meet new people. Here are a few photos from when I have been out and about in the community:

Speaking at a ceremony to honor the service of Robert Douglas Junior, who recently turned 103 years old. He is an Eagle Scout, former FBI agent and a licensed attorney. I had the honor of presenting him with a N.C. House Resolution and a flag that was flown over the State Capital.

Meeting with the principle of Aycock Middle School. I visited campus to speak with the students about state government and why they should get involved. They asked good questions about politics and public policy.

It was my honor to sign a "Reviving Downtowns" Proclamation that was made by Governor Pat McCrory. This was done at a press conference in downtown Burlington. We have many historical assets in our State that should be preserved.

With Governor Pat McCrory in a local music shop. The store owner was kind enough to let us play music for a few minutes. McCrory played the drums and I played bass guitar.

Reelection 2016

A few months ago I announced that I will be running for reelection in 2016. I would be honored to have your support of my campaign. If you would like to make a donation, you can do so online at

Thank you for your support!

Stay Updated

I will be sure to keep you updated concerning any developments related to the legislature. We are out of session until April of next year, but there is still activity when the legislature is adjourned. As always, don't hesitate to contact me with questions or comments. 

Quote to Remember

"The highest calling of leadership is to unlock the potential of others."
- Carly Fiorina