Letters to the Editor: New Travel Ban and State Budget

Letters to the Editor: New Travel Ban and State Budget
March 09
09:30 2017

Tell lawmakers to reject dangerous constitutional  amendment

To the Editor:

The N.C. Senate will consider a constitutional amendment this week that would seriously limit our state’s ability to meet the needs of its residents and build thriving communities. Your lawmakers need to hear from you today that this is the wrong choice for North Carolina, today and in the future.

This proposal to change our Constitution should not be passed. TAKE ACTION NOW at n3/common/public/?action_KEY=2 0140.

SB75 would change the state constitution to permanently freeze income tax rates in North Carolina. In order to keep funding vital public services, lawmakers will likely raise the sales tax or fees, which will eat into middle class families’ pay-checks and financially strand those who are struggling to get by.

This constitutional amendment is essentially a giveaway to million-aires that will just keep in place the heavy tax load carried by middle-and working-class families. The income tax cuts the policymakers have passed since 2013 gave the wealthy the biggest breaks, at the expense of the rest of the state. Now that they are fully phased in as of January 1, those income tax cuts will reduce annual revenue by $2 billion.

This flawed legislative proposal to change the state Constitution can-not pass.

Under this constitutional amendment scheme, lawmakers would continue to underfund schools, roads, public health and parks.  They would also likely have to:

*Push greater responsibility to local governments for funding public schools and teachers, or raising property taxes.

*Raise the sales tax to offset the lost revenue. [The North Carolina (NC) state sales tax rate is currently 4.75%. Depending on local municipalities, the total tax rate can be as high as 7.5%. ] *Eliminate income tax deductions that working-class , middle-class and fixed income North Carolina families currently receive.

We elect our legislators to make North Carolina a stronger state –not to lock in tax giveaways to millionaires. Tell your lawmakers not to amend our state constitution to benefit the powerful at the expense of the rest of us.

North Carolina Justice Center


Trump’s new executive order remains divisive

To the Editor:

Some of the details of the executive order may have been repackaged, but the intent and effect remain the same.  President Trump has again ordered a Muslim ban that is inconsistent with our values and our Constitution.

If the order is allowed to take effect, it will have disastrous consequences for American foreign policy, national security, and immigrant and American families.

While express reference to religious minorities has been removed in this rewritten version, the order is clearly intended to target Muslims. Some tweaks to the text cannot undo President Trump’s well publicized campaign promises to ban Muslims nor his damaging rhetoric, nor can it erase the fact that all six countries identified are majority Muslim countries.

As we saw with the Administration’s first attempt to institute a ban, this policy will cause confusion, separate families, and prevent businesses, universities, and hospitals from bringing in essential personnel.  It also slams the door on the world’s most vulnerable people, shutting down the U.S. refugee program even though the program requires more extensive vetting than any other U.S. immigration channel.  Equally important, the revised order makes us less safe.  As with the prior order, the revised order diminishes our standing with allies and will likely serve as a recruiting tool for terrorist groups.  Indeed, two recently leaked DHS [Department of Homeland Security] intelligence reports conclude that citizenship is a poor threat indicator and that few people from targeted countries have been involved in terrorism-related activities in the United States.

This order is another short-sight-ed and dangerous policy based on the inflammatory rhetoric that this Administration has made its corner-stone. We continue to stand united in our opposition to these efforts to divide us, and pledge to work togeth-er to reject intolerance, discrimina-tion, and hate however and wherever we can – whether in our communi-ties, in Congress, or in the Courts.

U.S. Reps. John Conyers Jr.(MI-13), Dan Kildee (MI-5), Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Brenda Lawrence (MI-14) 

Washington, D.C.

Note: On March 6, President Trump issued a revised version of his original executive order drastically altering the U.S. refugee and visa system.

Cooper’s budget is a step in the right direction

To the Editor:

Governor Cooper has laid out a vision that serves as a positive step toward a higher quality of life for more North Carolinians and communities while seeking to reclaim our national reputation as a state committed to building opportunities and an economy for all.

Governor Cooper could have made even greater progress toward realizing the goal of a thriving North Carolina if his decisions weren’t constrained by the tax cuts that have primarily benefited the wealthy and profitable corporations since 2013.

To sustain and build upon the Governor’s first steps toward building a thriving North Carolina, it will be critical that all of our state leaders commit to ensuring the tax code is able to meet the state’s long-term needs and doesn’t continue to ask more from those living on middle and low incomes.

Alexandra F. Sirota 

Budget & Tax Center Director 


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