TarGator's blog

Wake County Growth Task Force Begins Hearings

The N&O has an interesting story on the task force that is trying to bring Wake County smoothly into its next stage of growth here. The group is basically a collection of business and political leaders that will talk about the growth issues including what to spend money on and then issue a report.

Apparently the mass of random sprawl method that we have been using thus far will not work in the future. I am a little hesitant about the results given this area's attitude about land use, but talking about the issues that we face

Richard Moore Campaigning for Governor: Calls for Increase in Minimum Wage

Democratic State Treasurer Richard Moore is beginning to signal that the unofficial race to replace Mike Easley is already started. The issue he is pushing right now is an increase in the minimum wage. From the Charlotte Observer:

At a luncheon packed with bankers and businesspeople, Moore said the minimum wage is worth less than in 1997, when adjusted for inflation, and said an increase would help more than 100,000 N.C. workers.

"North Carolinians who work hard and play by the rules should be able to make ends meet," Moore told the audience at an economic forum hosted by the N.C. Bankers Association and N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry.

Study on Economic Impact of Hispanics in North Carolina

With all the huffing and puffing about the services that we need to pay for immigrants in North Carolina, which around here really means that there are too many "Mexicans", we should remember that Hispanic individuals greatly contribute to our economy. In fact, a recent UNC study pegs their impact at $9 billion and growing. From the Triangle Business Journal:

North Carolina's growing Hispanic population contributes more than $9 billion each year to the state's economy, a figure that could double by 2009 if current trends continue, according to results of a recent study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Finally Some Sensible Reporting on the Gas Tax

There has been a lot of excited talk about the horrible oppression of the 2.8 cent increase in the tax on each gallon of gasoline. The media has been reporting ad nauseum on the possibility of a special session that will address the increase. The increase was not brought about by any legislation but the fact that the tax is a percentage of gas prices. Since prices spiked in the last six months, the tax "increased". Finally, the N&O is asking the relevant question:

How bad is your gas pain?

Military Abandoning Bush

Does this mean that the troops hate freedom? From the Military Times:

Support for President Bush and for the war in Iraq has slipped significantly in the last year among members of the military’s professional core, according to the 2005 Military Times Poll.

Approval of the president’s Iraq policy fell 9 percentage points from 2004; a bare majority, 54 percent, now say they view his performance on Iraq as favorable. Support for his overall performance fell 11 points, to 60 percent, among active-duty readers
of the Military Times newspapers. Though support both for President Bush and for the war in Iraq remains significantly higher than in the public as a whole, the drop is likely to add further fuel to the heated debate over Iraq policy. In 2003 and 2004, supporters of the war in Iraq pointed to high approval ratings in the Military Times Poll as a signal that military members were behind President Bush’s the president’s policy.

Another Environmental Loss for North Carolina

From the Myrtle Beach Online:

Emissions tests of 1995-model and older vehicles ended Saturday, exempting some of Charlotte's likeliest polluters from the dragnet intended to catch them.
Annual emissions tests for those vehicles no longer will be required in Mecklenburg, Gaston, Cabarrus, Union and the five other N.C. counties where they've been the law since the early 1990s. More than 600,000 cars and trucks - one vehicle in four in those counties - will get a pollution pass.
Older vehicles are those most likely to flunk the tests, state records show.

Lawsuit Against Lottery Asks the Courts to Stop the Games

The North Carolina Institute for Constitutional Law has filed suit to challenge North Carolina's new lottery. The challenge is based on the fact that the lottery was not considered on three separate days as most revenue bills must be. The State's claim is that the lottery is not a form of revenue. This claim is despite the fact that the reason Easley gave for needing the lottery was obtaining revenue.

Now the Institute is asking the court to prevent the games from beginning until after the suit is decided. From the Winston-Salem Journal:

Easley Appoints New Superior Court Judge

Former Center for Duke's football team and current Guilford County DA Stuart Albright has been named to replace his father as a superior court judge in Guilford County.

From WWAY 3:

North Carolina's governor finished out the old year by handing out some new jobs. Mike Easley named a new Superior Court judge in Guilford County, keeping the job in the family.
Easley chose District Attorney R- Stuart Albright for the judgeship -- replacing his father, W- Douglas Albright, who is retiring.

Much Ado Over 2.8 Cents

Sorry if this becomes a bit rantish, but why the hell is there this much noise over 2.8 cents? For those of you that do not read North Carolina newspapers, websites, or watch local news, the gas tax is set to increase 2.8 cents a gallon on the 1st. This change is due to the fact that part of the gas tax in this state is pegged as a percentage of the cost of gas in the trailing 6 months. Since prices were higher these last six months, the tax is going up.

Since that time, there has been a push by some legislators to call a special session to cap the tax. And many news outlets have picked up on the story. The most recent one is the Jacksonville Daily News. And their estimate of the total cost of the tax to family over a year: $15.


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