A taxing challenge

Moore County residents should give strong consideration to voting in favor of a tax increase in November.

Remain calm, Moore Republicans! Our blog has not been hacked. It’s editors have not been taken hostage. Keep reading.

In a world sharply divided by Republican and Democrat ideological wars, if there is one common rallying point in a community such as ours it is the necessity for quality education. As the Sandhills demographic shifts toward couples with young and growing families, long neglected, antiquated and over-crowded schools have come into sharp focus. And it’s overdue.

This explains why readers of The Pilot were greeted by the headline, School Bonds Pass in a Landslide, after bond referendums appeared on May primary ballots. General obligations bonds providing $103 million to build three public schools in Aberdeen, Southern Pines and Pinehurst were approved by 79% of voters. A separate bond to provide $20 million to build a new health education center at Sandhills Community College passed with a 77% approval rate.

Reported The Pilot‘s David Sinclair in an August 9 update:

“Voters approved the bond issue … with the understanding it could result in a 5- to 7-cent property tax increase in two years. But the (Moore County Commissioners) hope to minimize that by convincing those same voters to approve a quarter-cent increase in the local sales (tax) in November (on the mid-term ballot).”

Commissioners recently voted to approve the inclusion of the quarter-cent sales tax referendum (adding 25 cents to a $100 purchase and excluding the tax from being applied to food, medicine and vehicle fuel purchases). The panel also voted to pledge that all sales tax increase revenue will be used only for school construction costs.

It’s very easy for voters to understand the correlation between taking on bond debt and the need to service the debt. The logic of the minuscule tax increase is that it “could knock 2 to 3 cents off a property tax increase need to repay bond debt” down the road, The Pilot reported.

The hurdle now facing the commissioners and supporters of the tax increase was imposed by none other than the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh. The GA repeated its stubborn stand of 2016. Raleigh politicians, especially Republicans led by Phil Berger, refuse to allow the wording of the referendum to specify that the tax increase is for school construction — the same school construction needs that drove voters to approve the bond referendums in May.

If we want beautiful, state-of-the-art, safe schools in our community, now is the time to begin educating friends and neighbors. It’s an uphill battle. The same quarter-cent increase failed by 428 votes in March 2016. Why? Voters caught off guard read “tax increase” and, in many cases, reflexively voted “NO”.

It’s a widely held myth that Republicans oppose taxes and tax increases. We oppose wasteful spending and unsustainable entitlements that require endless tax hikes. Building new schools is not wasteful spending and is highly sustainable due to the approved bonds.

The informed voting option

Absentee voting does not require absence on Election Day this November 6. Any registered voter can visit the Moore County website where it is easy to download an absentee ballot request form, or can call the Board of Elections headquarters (910-947-3868) to receive one by mail.

With six amendments to the North Carolina Constitution awaiting us on the ballot, it’s the ideal year to be an informed voter. Request an absentee ballot, review it and vote in the comfort of your home. Think of this process as similar to taking an open book exam. Study your materials, talk to friends, form educated decisions and vote accordingly.

The deadline to receive an absentee ballot by mail is October 30.

Absentee voting is secure voting. To submit a ballot, a voter’s date of birth and state drivers’ license number is required. Or, the final four digits of his Social Security number. Ballots are held in a secure location and will not be tabulated until 7:30 p.m. on election day.

On behalf of Community in Action, Connie Lovell recently talked about absentee voting with Glenda Clendenen, Director of the Moore County Board of Elections. Lovell’s recurring interviews air at 10:20 a.m. Saturdays on 102.5 FM, and at 12:50 p.m. Saturdays on 550 AM. Community in Action is sponsored by the Moore County Republican Party.

Absentee ballot 2018.V2

Heaven’s gates in Carthage

Much of political debate is policy debate. Lifelong Republicans go the polls to elect lawmakers who believe in limited federal government, the importance of the institutions of marriage and the family, the sanctity of the Constitution and the rule of law, to name the basic pillars.

But we know all too well that governments and lawmakers can not intervene in every struggle that a citizen or a family will face. Thankfully, Americans are generous and caring. Many work in complete obscurity with faith-based organizations to help those who come to them in desperate need.

One such group are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking, and here in Moore County these victims find support and hope through Friend to Friend, which provides resources to rebuild lives.

A woman taken in by Friend to Friend described arriving at the Carthage-based facility as an experience similar to passing through “the gates of Heaven.”

Connie Lovell recently had a conversation with FTF’s children’s program coordinator, who devotes her days to interacting with the children of women who’ve escaped abuse. Click here to hear her story and more about the mission of Friend to Friend

Community in Action introduces local agencies that offer assistance that builds opportunity. Spots air at 10:20 a.m. Saturdays on 102.5 FM, and at 12:50 p.m. Saturdays on 550 AM.

Community builders

Moore County citizens seeking no accolades wake up every day committed to making a difference in the lives of neighbors in need.

Awareness of these people and the organizations they support triggers ongoing volunteerism, which is why the Moore County Republican Party is proud to sponsor local radio vignettes produced by Connie Lovell for Community in Action.

One exceedingly important organization in our community is Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills. Connie recently interviewed its executive director, Amie Fraley, whose involvement with Habitat began when she volunteered. Under Fraley’s leadership, the local Habitat teams build an average of 10 new homes and critically repair 20 homes every year. This Habitat affiliate has built 250 new homes and repaired 104 since 1988. Click below to learn more:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1weKnYO4KexJKICo6LfRnpZDEUWp7ZOYo

Community in Action introduces local agencies that offer assistance that builds opportunity. Spots air at 10:20 a.m. Saturdays on 102.5 FM, and at 12:50 p.m. Saturdays on 550 AM.

Beyond politics

Does everything have to be political? Does it always have to be about waging the battle to protect and, perhaps, save American values and Constitutional principles? Conservative Republicans can never give up the fight, not in an age that finds the Democrat party lurching toward unabashed socialism.

But, to answer the original question: No, party affiliation is not exclusively about political identity. We elect fellow citizens to serve the greater good, to help those in need and to keep our homeland safe. These are bipartisan objectives, or at least they should be. The most vicious lie perpetrated by the Left is that those of us across the aisle are heartless (thus, tax cuts “are for the rich” and real healthcare reform “takes your healthcare away” because “they want Granny to die, fast”).

Thus, we never can become indifferent toward whom we elect to make and uphold our laws — the fabric of our republic. But we also must support the unsung heroes in our communities, who serve the greater good by helping the many in need. Here in the Moore County Sandhills, citizens seeking no accolades wake up every morning committed to making a difference in these lives.

Aiming to broaden awareness of these people and the organizations they support, the Moore County Republican Party is proud to sponsor local radio vignettes produced by Connie Lovell for Community in Action. One recent segment describes how Southern Pines-based Bethany House provided a clean, sober living environment for a young woman named Jessica after she struggled for years with drug addiction. Today, Jessica is a nursing student at Sandhills Community College after residing in Bethany House for 11 months and liberating herself from the shackles of addiction.

This is Jessica’s story.

Community in Action introduces local agencies that offer assistance that builds opportunity. Spots air at 10:20 a.m. Saturdays on 102.5 FM, and at 12:50 p.m. Saturdays on 550 AM.