The Dome is featuring lots of the Honorables weighing in on taxes and spending. Worth a close look. Doug Berger's ideas are better than most. Then you have nonsense like this from Jim Forrester. I don't know how anyone with a lick of sense can stand dealing with that cast of characters. James's blog Comments This is interesting Are there any taxes you would be in favor of increasing? He said additional revenue could be found in removing the sales tax cap on the purchase of automobiles. I didn't realize there was a limit. What a total boondoggle to the wealthy. Anyone have more information on this? Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over. -me Cap There is a 3% vehicle sales tax called the Highway Use Tax. It is capped at $1,000 for commercial vehicles (greater than 26,000lbs) and $1,500 for RVs. There is no other cap though there once was a $1,500 cap for all vehicles, repealed for most in 2001. The heaviest vehicles giving the most punishment to our roads get a break. Working on a post I'm working on a post about the whole budget issue. The problem is that its pretty complicated. The short and sweet of it is that we can't solve this through budget cuts, and there is not nearly enough support for raising revenues. Even Berger's idea, which is great, would only be a small fix. "Keep the Faith" Senator Berger Endorse David Young As Democratic Party Chair At the beginning of this week, I raised the question as to whether David Young could Keep the Democratic Party united.. I have raised issues as to whether Mr. Young can lead this party given past positions he has taken on collective bargaining and the rights of injured workers. Over the course of this week, Mr. Young informed Party members that he supported collective bargaining in the private sector and more importantly he supported federal legislation supported by President Obama that would enhance the ability of workers to exercise their right to join a union. On Wednesday night, Republican Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry spoke to a crowd of over 400 citizens at a Chamber of Commerce banquet in my district. She launched a partisan attack on President Obama's Cabinet and also attacked the Employee Free Choice Act, A month ago even before President Obama took office the local chamber president launched an attack on the legislation at a meeting I attended and most of the local government leaders spoke out against the legislation. Thursday afternoon, David Young and I spoke for the first time. I told him about Cherie Berry's attack on labor rights and how a climate was being created locally to encourage local elected leaders to become vocal in their opposition to this advancement in the rights of workers. We discussed how well respected he was among my local elected leadership because of the successes he had helped achieve on behalf of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners. He expressed a willingness to step up to the plate as a businessman and a leader in the Democratic Party to offer a different vision of the relationship between business and labor. He availed himself to my local press in joining with me in responding to Berry's attacks. He further agreed to spend time with me learning the workers' compensation system from the ground up from the perspective of the injured worker. David Young served as part of the leadership of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners that have been tremendously effective over the past three years in persuading the General Assembly to shift the local burden of Medicaid on the Counties to the state where that burden belongs. This team of leadership was responsible for persuading the General Assembly to finally give the counties alternative means to finance local services which drew the opposition of very powerful real estate and home building interests. David's business background and his service as a County Commissioner and recent president of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners are assets toward providing leadership in bringing local elected leadership to become more involved in the Democratic Party and more cognizant of the importance of supporting the platform of the Democratic Party. In answer to the question can he keep this Party united, I am now convinced that he can. The alliance between the Governor and the progressives who have joined Jerry Meek in supporting David Young show us that he can bring a wide range of people together. He has passed his first test with regard to the sincerity of his positions by stepping out and and responding to Cherie Berry. President Obama and Hillary Clinton engaged in a hard fought battle before joining together to advance our principles in a successful campaign to take back the White House. I have bruised David Young for past positions he has taken and he has withstood the punches and shown to me and hopefully to you that he is ready to lead this Party. Sincerely yours, Senator Doug Berger Berger bill would strip Berry of authority Workplace safety rules in Perdue’s hands if passed BY WILLIAM F. WEST DAILY DISPATCH WRITER State Sen. Doug Berger on Wednesday introduced a bill he said is designed to take state Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry’s authority regarding workplace safety rules and transfer the power to Gov. Beverly Perdue. Senate Bill 14 calls for creating a new agency, the Employment Safety & Security Commission, which, if approved, would be placed under the N.C. Department of Commerce, Berger said. Berger, a Democrat whose represents Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin counties, said he has been working on the text of the proposed legislation for a long time. Berger on Wednesday additionally said his problems with Berry include her having gone to Vance County “at a time when we need people to come together in this economic crisis” to deliver a “virulently partisan” speech attacking President Obama’s programs and policies. Berger was referring to Berry’s remarks Tuesday night at the HendersonVance County Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet at the Vance-Granville Community College Civic Center. Word of Berry’s comments reached David Young, a businessman who is past president of the N.C. Association of County Commissioners. Young is campaigning to replace the departing Jerry Meek as the next statewide leader of the Democratic Party. Young told the Dispatch, “I really feel like our country is trying to move past partisan politics because we’ve got a problem. We have lots of issues that we have to deal with and we have to deal with very quickly.” “It’s not a time to point fingers and say, ‘They’re destroying us’ when, quite honestly, we’re just getting started,” Young said. “It’s time to have unity and move together.” During the Henderson- Vance County Chamber of Commerce’s gathering, Berry, a Republican, advised the audience to read the novel “Atlas Shrugged” by the late pro-free market philosopher Ayn Rand. Berry additionally criticized the U.S. Senate confirmation of Timothy Geithner as treasury secretary and took a verbal jab at Obama’s proposed $825 billion stimulus plan to try to kick start the weak national economy. And Berry urged the audience to fight the proposed Employee Free Choice Act. Opponents are arguing such legislation, which is also called the card check bill, would allow a workplace to automatically become unionized if more than 50 percent of the employees sign cards stating their intention to join and would impose bureaucratic red tape. Proponents have argued the card check bill would create a level playing field by providing workers a greater chance to seek benefits and to remain in the middle class. Obama, through his campaign Web site, promised to fight for the card check bill’s passage and to sign it into law. Young told the Dispatch that he believes the card check bill is one of the steps Obama “has chosen to put into place that’s going to help move our country forward as quickly as we can.” Berger also told the Dispatch he supports Young becoming leader of the Democrats in the Tar Heel State because Young is supporting the card check bill. “He is a businessman saying that this is fair to workers. And I think that’s the kind of person we need, bringing people together, instead of the divisive kind of approach to politics that Mrs. Berry represents,” Berger said. As for Berger’s proposed bill addressing Berry’s future authority, Berger argued that, under the Obama administration, North Carolina would be under a “serious threat” of federal intervention if there is lax enforcement of workplace safety at the state level. Berger argued that Berry does not see herself as having a major role to play in dealing with companies who do not provide a secure job environment. So Berger said he wants Perdue, a Democrat, to have the final say in who should direct workplace safety programs. State civil service employees specializing in workplace safety who are currently under Berry would be transferred to the proposed agency, Berger said. Co-sponsoring Berger’s bill are state Sens. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, Floyd McKissick, D-Durham, and Martin Nesbit, DBuncombe. An attempt to obtain immediate comment from Berry’s office was unsuccessful Wednesday. Senator Doug Berger Could the function be moved within an existing department? Thank you for this excellent update. And thank you for taking Ms. Berry to the woodshed *fingers crossed* for being a partisan rabblerouser instead of doing her dang job. How many progressives are supporting David Young? Not really sure how many that is. And not really sure why Jerry is supporting David (who told union members he was asked to run by former NCDP ED Scott Falmlen) in the first place. One wonders if Scott Falmlen will be acting behind the scenes as an advisor to Young, since he worked on his campaign. Many people fear that Falmlen will shut out the grassroots from the NCDP after the years of transparency under Jerry's leadership. And not sure that transferring OSHA enforcement responsibility to the Department of Commerce would be such a good idea. First off, that won't take place overnight - it will take some time and Lord knows how much money to shift all that over to Commerce. It might be faster to get the Obama DOL to intervene for workers, and let them oversee Berry's DOL, and then concentrate on winning back this seat with a grass-roots effort across the state to help all candidates, not just pouring all the energy into the top of the ticket. I have been told that the idea to move OSHA over to Commerce was something tried by Governor Easley, and that unions didn't like the idea very much. This seems to be a "business Democrat" idea and not one that makes a whole lot of sense. I looked this up And the Feds took over NC OSH back in the early 90s after the Hamlet fire. They came in and fixed things, then left only when they were sure NC OSH was being administered properly. Why not ask the Feds to come in and check out how Cherie is running things instead of muddying up the waters by shifting the responsibility for NC OSH over to a department run by a political appointee?