Asheville Daily Planet
RSS Facebook
‘We’re creating generations of dependents,’ Moffitt tells CIBO... ‘It’s always interesting to come north of the DMZ,’ state senator from Henderson County quips
Thursday, 25 May 2023 21:49

Sate Sen. Timothy D. “Tim” Moffitt, R-Hendersonville, provided a North Carolina legislative update during an early-morning meeting of the Asheville-based Council of Independent Business Owners on May 12 at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center

Moffitt, who represents N.C. Senate District 48 (Henderson, Polk and Rutherford counties), was the only speaker at the meeting. He split his alloted hour almost in half, beginning with an update, and finishing with an extended question-and-answer session. About 50 people attended.

Moffitt was introduced by Buzzy Cannady, CIBO president and meeting moderator, who noted that he served two consecutive terms in the state House of Representatives and then he served an unexpired term on a member of the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners who had resigned.

In May 2019, Henderson County’s Chuck McGrady announced his retirement from the State House. By August, Moffitt decided he would run in 2020 to succeed his friend and former colleague, a race which he won easily.

Moffitt announced on Dec. 3, 2021 that he would run for the newly drawn State Senate District 48. The seat, which he won, was being vacated by Republican Chuck Edwards, who ran for U.S. Congress, and won Rep. Madison Cawthorn’s seat.

Beginning on a playful note, Moffitt triggered laughter from the CIBO audience when he quipped, “It’s always interesting to come north of the DMZ (demilitarized zone),” which, he said, is bordered by the Blue Ridge Parkway between Henderson County and Buncombe County. (Politically, Henderson leans to the right, while Buncombe leans far to the left).

Continuing on a light note, he prompted even more chuckles when he opined, “When I was in the House, the Senate was the root of all problems... Now that I’m in the Senate, the House is the problem... That’s just the way it goes!”

Next, Moffitt called for a show of hands (with most or many raised on each question) on the following:

• Who has founded a business? 

• How many of you still own a business? 

• How many have skipped a payroll for yourself in order to make payroll for your staff?

After a pause, Moffitt then asked, “How many of you have terminated 15, 20, 30 employees? That’s an important difference from government. They don’t fire people.” 

He then lambasted the news media in general, excepting, with a grin, the Daily Planet, the only media outlet covering the meeting. 

In general, Moffitt said, “A lot of times what the media tells us is the complete opposite of what the reality is... That’s frustrating because as a business-owner, I want to do all that I can do to make sure everyone’s informed.”

In speaking of his days as a young man, although he laughed and said he still considers himself a young man, he heard — and inculcated the saying that “people don’t pay attention to what’s going on ‘til their ox gets gored.”

Moffitt then asserted, “Right now, we have such chaos and disruption in our economy... I remember when the City of Asheville would publish their map on forced annexation — without the consent of the property-owner... How many times were you in the crosshairs of the map but decided it was nothing for you to get involved in?

“When a business — or your neighbor – is being affected, we need to ‘fight the fight’... because it will involve all of us at some point....”

Next, Moffitt noted, “The landscape is changing and it’s extremely challenging... How many of you have workforce challenges? (Many hands were raised.) If you don’t show up, your folks don’t show up. It’s extremely difficult to fill jobs” these days.

“I started out as a management consultant” and rose through the ranks “through six economic contractions. This recent one (now) is the most significant, where there’s a contraction of the workforce while the number of positions have increased.” 

He said there are challenges in businesses, local, state and federal agencies — and seemingly everywhere. “A lot of that has to do with the workforce,” Moffitt said. “Any type of analysis that we do, you have to take a historical snapshot.”

In speaking of his own family, Moffitt noted that he and his wife Dina have ”five   sons (who) are right in there” as warriors instead of soft men.

To that end, he said, “One of the biggest crises we have is: ‘Where are our men?’”

He added, “Tough times create strong men... tough economic times,” noting that the World War II generation “gave birth to the baby-boomers... We (baby-boomers) took what they had and became prosperous and rode it into the future...

“Unfortunately, the way we (baby-boomers) raised our young men — we created the problems” of today. “These are people (men) in their late 30s and into their 40s” now.

By way of explanation, Moffitt said, “Education changed… In the early ‘90s, education went from critical thinking to emotional reaction... Critical thinking, if someone doesn’t have it to solve a problem, the natural result will be anger, depression” and other problems.

“What seemed like an appropriate way to teach… will take 15 to 20 years before this workforce problem subsides.”

Further, Moffitt noted, “We have job fairs throughout the state — and many more companies show up to hire people than do prospective employees.”

As for economic development, he said, “when we pursue businesses around the world, we’re actually putting them into competition with our existing businesses. I’m troubled by it. I see it as a matter of making a problem worse.”

After another pause, Moffitt said, “So these are some of the things we’re wrestling with... It goes back to how we’re educating people — not giving them critical thinking skills. We’re creating generations of dependents.”

What’s more, he asserted, “We have an affordable housing crisis... How long has affordable housing been a crisis in Asheville? A very long time! We now have airbnbs, short-term rentals” and other short-term housing options.

“We talk about banking, but banking is more of a federal matter than state, so there’s not much we can do in the state.

Regarding to his time as chairman of the House Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee (circa 2021), “You can see where with the ABC, deals have been made since Prohibition... I typically get the complicated stuff to deal with....”

Further, Moffitt said, “I’m working on all the trouble between the public and private sectors… and the airbnb, short-term rentals. We have to establish guidelines, statewide. It’s going to be difficult. It’s a contributing factor to affordable housing, but not a major factor.”

Noting that he is a capitalist, he said that the laws of “supply and demand” need to be applied to affordable housing. In seeking more housing to be available, that would reduce demand and, thereby, reduce the price”.

Moffitt then spoke of the irony of getting “pushback from the League of Municipalities” on his affordable housing ideas… I then filed a different kind of bill that allows single-family developers to not be subject to the tight rules of the municipality… We were met with resistance from the cities, the counties and the economic development boards... We’re attempting to provide a solution, so it’s frustrating when you get so much pushback.”

Moffitt then reiterated, “We (now) have significant challenges as a state and as a nation.”

The situation reminded him of his time as a boy in Asheville, when “they used to have a carnival at Westgate Mall — and they’d chain you in on the rides. That’s what it feels like (as a legislator) in Raleigh,” sometimes.

“There’s such uncertainty in the economy — and I don’t see it ebbing anytime soon... The biggest contributor we have to the problems is the government — the federal government is wildly out of control,” but there also are major spending problems with state and local governments.

The aforementioned grim situation, Moffitt said, reminded him of another old-saying that he likes — “We can only kick the can down the road... until you run out of road.”

After finishing his address, Moffitt then fielded questions for the final half of the meeting, beginning with a question from CIBO member Mac Swicegood, who asked, “Tell us about your views on AI (artificial intelligence).”

“To a large degree,” Moffitt replied, “it’s ‘garbage in, garbage out’... But AI is transforming everything... I read recently how AI is putting the “coders” on the breadline because it can do within minutes what it would take them (human beings) days to figure out.

An unidentified man asked, “How rock-solid is your majority against ‘you know who?’”

“Well, ‘you-know-who’ is Gov. Roy Cooper,” Moffitt answered with a broad smile. “We are comfortable we can do it” — override a veto by Cooper. “When it comes to a veto override, it’s not a ‘hard’ 72 (votes) and a ‘hard’ 30 (votes). It’s actually three-fifths of those actually on the floor.”

Another unidentified man asked who Moffit “favors for GOP nominee for governor?”

Moffitt — and the CIBO audience — laughed, as Moffitt declared evenly, “I will not be pulled into it.”

An unidentified woman said that, “somehow, there needs to be a change in the message, so that the younger generations” have a positive path forward.

“We are flooded with information,” Moffitt replied. “We are drowning in information. The emotive part of those messages” is causing much of the problem.

He added, “I haven’t watched the news for three years... I listen to podcasts, and ‘the greatest era of music’ — the ‘70s and ‘80s!” The CIBO audience laughed at Moffitt’s playful assertion that ‘70s and ‘80s music was the best-ever. 

More seriously, Moffitt said, “One of my complaints is so many people have not been troubled much” by the inaccuracy of the news media. “The message that comes out from the media is always negative. There is a perverse fascination (in the media) with what people are versus who they are... Every conversation we engage in seems to be what people are. I think that’s a bad focus. We are what we are. How we live our lives should be to serve as an example to others.

Buncombe GOP Chairman Doug Brown asked “if there are any key points in this (legislative) session?”

“Uh, the budget is too big,” Moffitt answered. “The budget has increased 50 percent. Now we did tax reform — reducing taxes— years ago.” However, he said of the ultimate effect of that effort — “We kind of moved the chairs around on the deck of the Titanic.” 

He added, “As a result of our policies you have more money flowing in (to the staff coffers). But what bothers me is we’re not sending that money back to taxpayers, rather we’re looking for ways to spend it.

Moffitt said that “legislators are hearing demands from every nonprofit — and incidentially, we need fewer nonprofits” —  for more state funds. “They’re demanding — when they come knocking on my door, so I ask what the ultimatel goal of their nonprofit is?”

 Further, he noted, “We’re not doing our kids or our nation any good, if we continue funding institutions that refuse to be accountable. 

“When I came out of high school in 1982, I was employable. I didn’t have to go to college... Now, you have kids (with high school degrees) knocking on your door, and they’re really not employable.

Continuing on his theme of  “a lot of the demands,” Moffitt lamented that “60 percent of our state budget goes to education… Yet, when we say we’re dissatisfied with the outcomes, we’re attacked for challenging the outcomes...

“We have a lot of priorities. One that really troubles me is the push for ‘clean energy.’ There is no such thing as ‘clean energy.’ We have an electronic waste problem worldwide. With no way to recycle it. You’re just exacerbating the problem.”

An unidentified man asked, “What are you involved in legislatively that affects things 25 years from now?”

“That’s a good question,” Moffitt replied. “When we work on legislation, we model them out 15 to 20 years. But the problem is we’re not willing to evolve....”

On another matter, he said, “We need to merge some cities into their surrounding counties, Some cities ‘job out’ everything to the county” that encompasses them. “How does that make sense to keep it (such a city) as a separate entity?”

Again, he reiterated, “So when I look at the trajectory we’re on in 25 years, we can’t keep doing what we’re doing.”

Scott Rogers with Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry told Moffit that he “appreciated his sons’ military service... The problem is they haven’t stopped making homeless veterans... We’re putting 600 veterans per year back into the workforce....”

“First of all, most veterans affairs’ (issues) are handled by the federal government,” Moffitt answered. “It’s a combination of things. The young people going into the armed services today are not emotionally stable at all.”

He added, “The military — now — is not as appealing to me. My sons left (the military) because they got tired of the sensitivity training. They were being shoe-horned into this type of thinking. They are warriors, so they left. Others who stayed, get depressed” and suffer many other problems. “We have to identify the cause” of problems for military veterans. If we don’t start to address the issues now, it’s going to be in an order of magnitude in 25 years from now. We have to pave the way” for our veterans. 

Further, Moffitt said, “I’ve had my business since 1990. Could my kids start my business today? The answer’s ‘no.’ So we’ve failed... Because governent just smothers businesses with regulatory schemes that are often well-intended.”

Next, an unidentified woman said she has children in school — and asked Moffitt to address school vouchers,

“Well, I believe the money should follow the child. whether its public, private, parochial,” Moffitt answered.

As the Q&A closed, Moffitt added, “We created Opportunity Vouchers about 10 years ago. That program is expanding,” which, he said, he considers a positive trend.

— By John North, Asheville Daily Planet



contact | home

Copyright ©2005-2015 Star Fleet Communications

224 Broadway St., Asheville, NC 28801 | P.O. Box 8490, Asheville, NC 28814
phone (828) 252-6565 | fax (828) 252-6567

a Cube Creative Design site