Update from independent state Rep. Bert JonesPosted: January 24, 2011
As the North Carolina General Assembly begins a historic session this week, Speaker-designate Thom Tillis has announced House committee assignments. As you may have read in an earlier news release, I was pleased to receive assignments for which I had expressed preference, and will serve on the following committees: Agriculture, Education, Election Law, Government, Health and Human Services Appropriations, and Judiciary. We have a lot of important business to accomplish this session to meet the challenges before us, and I am ready to get to work.
The challenges are great, as the 2011 General Assembly inherits a projected budget deficit of $3.7 billion. The National Conference of State Legislatures has released a report indicating that North Carolina’s shortfall is among the top six in the nation. The new leadership of the General Assembly, with both the House and Senate led by Republicans for the first time in 140 years, has reiterated that we will balance the budget without raising taxes again. After years of overspending, over borrowing and overreaching, it is clear that we must rein in government to operate and spend within its means. The laws of economics and common sense dictate that we cannot have everything we want. In my opinion, this is a major challenge facing our generation.
Closing the budget shortfall will not be an easy task, as the state also has the highest tax burden in the region. The General Assembly has passed billion dollar tax increases in six of the last eight years. We must begin to reverse this course, and reduce taxes in our state if we are going to better compete for businesses and jobs, and ease the tax burden on families. The Tax Foundation recently ranked North Carolina in the bottom 10 in the nation due to high taxes and overregulation. Reducing the size and scope of government is the only right answer to create jobs and also protect citizens’ rights. We did not get in a financial mess overnight. However, as we move forward toward good stewardship and fiscal responsibility, it is clear that many people are going to have to change the way they think about entitlement and the role of government.
I remain excited about this opportunity, and appreciate the confidence of those that have elected me to serve. As the session officially opens this Wednesday, we are also busy moving in to our legislative offices that have just been assigned. If we can be of help, our office can be reached at the listings below. God bless you and may He guide us daily in all that we do.
Representative Bert Jones
303A1 Legislative Office Building