Community News

Commentary & Guest Columns 

Commentary: Inlet issues engender distrust and divisiveness

For the third time in about 10 weeks, the Dare County Board of Commissioners (BOC) has been notified by N.C. Senator Bill Cook's office that major funding changes have been made to proposed legislation, which if signed into law is, in part, to support the dredging of Oregon Inlet. Such legislation is ordinarily developed at the behest and with the input of the local elected officials and discussed in public in some manner before language is inserted in bills.

And, again, the notification has been right before a weekend when it is more difficult to get the word out.

But this has not been an ordinary process and it appears that the only “for-sure” is that there will be more surprises – or shocks - and no transparency.
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Commentary: Thousands of seniors anxiously await lawmakers’ budget decisions

As state lawmakers return this week from their unusual spring break, debate over the budget will take center stage as the House puts together its spending plan for the next two years. Most of the public discussion of the budget focuses on teacher and state employee pay, education funding, Medicaid, and business incentives.

The $21 billion plan will also include hundreds of spending decisions that seem small in comparison to the big ticket items but that directly affect the lives of tens of thousands of people, especially low-income families and other vulnerable populations, children, people with mental illness or a disabilities, and seniors.  
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Guest Column: Have Republicans in Raleigh gone to the dark side?

“I think it’s a great opportunity for us to have a discussion about the inequity in the distribution of sales tax in North Carolina as it relates to the rural counties,” said state Sen. Tom Mcinnis, R-Richmond, who represents Scotland County and is one of the bill’s 13 sponsors in the senate.

This is the logic offered by McInnis and other state Senate Republicans for redistributing sales tax revenue within the state.

If one were to substitute the words “sales tax” with “income tax” and “counties” with individual taxpayers, essentially arguing redistributing such taxes from wealthy individuals to poorer individuals, it would be hard to imagine those words coming from the mouth of a Republican.

In fact, among Republicans and conservatives, the “R” word (redistribution) is the equivalent of the “S” word (socialism).

It is yet another example of how the supposed ideological differences between the two political parties are more akin to the shifting sands on Jockey’s Ridge than they are to any disciplined ideological consistency.

Read the commentary, "Just my opinion," by Russ Lay in The Outer Banks Sentinel.

Guest Commentary:  'Socialist' Senate vs. Metro McCrory

On one side, you have a senator talking about how there are “two North Carolinas” and how it’s time for policy that will bring prosperity to all areas of the state. On the other side, you have a member screaming “Socialism!” Senate Bill 369 would change the way sales tax revenue is distributed among the counties – mostly benefiting poor, rural counties at the expense of large wealthy ones. It’s causing politicians to say and do some very strange things and is making for interesting political theater.  
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Guest Editorial: Tata’s politics may cost N.C. transportation dollars

N.C. Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata has made a nice living from his status as a retired brigadier general. When Tata retired in 2009 after 28 years in the U.S. Army, his former rank and training at The Broad Academy gave him entry into the Washington, D.C. school district. There, he would use his military acumen to improve the schools logistics as chief of operations under then-schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. That lasted 20 months.  
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