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GOP successes in N.C. legislature highlighted by Sen. Daniels
Wednesday, 08 November 2023 21:29
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review of the key accomplishments — from 2011 to 2023 — of the Republican-led North Carolina General Assembly was provided by Sen. Warren Daniel, R-Morganton, during a Nov. 3 breakfast meeting at UNC Asheville’s Sherrill Center.

Daniel’s address drew about 60 people during an hour-long meeting that was moderated by CIBO Past President John Carroll in the absence of CIBO President Buzzy Cannady.

Carroll introduced Daniel, noting that the senator’s 46th District covers Burke, McDowell and the eastern part of Buncombe County. The North Carolina native graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Carroll said, adding that, in 1997, Daniel left active duty — and entered — and graduated from UNC Law “with honors.”

In his “key accomplishments” review, Daniel began by noting that “Republicans (have) maintained (the) majority since 2011” in the General Assembly.

He also said the legislature, in that period, balanced the state budget — “and stopped spending and borrowing beyond our means.”

Among many other accomplishments he cited, the senator said the General Assembly had saved state funds and planned responsibly for the future, reduced the tax burden and improved North Carolina’s business climate.

In a chart labeled “from deficits to surpluses,” he showed during his address, Daniel said it showed “historical budget information going back to 1990. The chart showed erratic increases and decreases under Democrats,” when they led the General Assembly.

He added, “We always felt this is not the way to do budgeting... We (Republican legislators) like to keep spending increases —  year-over-year — between 3 and 4 percent... From 2014 to 2018, we had roughly half-billion surpluses.

Next, Daniel reviewed what he termed “highlights of 2023 budget... Republicans proposed a budget that passed with bipartisan support.” 

The senator said the 2023 budget spends $29.8 billion in fiscal 2023-24 and $30.9 billion in fiscal 2024-25.

With obvious pride, Daniel also noted that the 2023 budget “grows the Rainy Day Fund to $4.875 blllion.”

In addition, he noted that it “includes a 7 percent pay raise for most state employees and an average 7 percent pay raise for teachers over the biennium.”

The budget also “funds an additional $410 million in FY 2023-24 and $795 million in FY 2024-25 in K-12 education,” Daniel reported.

The budget, he said, also accomplishes the following:

• Appropriates $2 billion for critical water and wastewater projects.

• Provides more than $100 million in economic development to local goverrnments for the megasite and selectsite readiness program.

• Obligates more than $1.6 billion of federal Medicaid expansion incentive funding.

• Funds almost $320 million for capital start-up costs towards a new UNC Children’s Hospital, to be located somewhere in the Research Triange area. 

Another chart, he said, “shows the saving reserve balance,” better known as the “Rainy Day Fund.”

After a pause, Daniel noted, “Before 2011, we (the state) almost didn’t have a Rainy Day Fund... We have built it, but not without criticism, as we have some in the General Assembly who say if you have money, you should spend it.”

Next, the senator spoke about what he termed “the Medicaid spending slide.”

Specifically, Daniel said, “We (the state) had Medicaid deficits that were large, hindering our ability to fund public schools. After 2015, we built up Medicaid reserves, in case it was needed. Medicaid spending has gone up, but it hasn’t been a drain on our budget, as it was in the early years.

He also credited the GOP-led state legislature in accomplishing “substantial tax reform...We raised the “0” tax bracket to $25,500,” cut the personal income tax rate from 4.99 prcent to 3.99 percent by 2026.”

He also touted the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Rankings, wherein North Carolina “went from 44th (in the U.S.)  in 2014 to 10th in 2023... We’re very proud of that.”

Among the many other accomplishments reviewed by Daniel, he expressed much enthusiasm over the state legislature’s “investing in job growth.”

To that end, he noted that the state extended the job development investment grant program for relocating and expanding companies.

“Among the biggest things we’re proud of is restoring the (state) unemployment reserve,” Daniel said. “It was minus-$2.8 billion — and now is a surplus of $3.5 billion.”



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