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Columns

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    The North Carolina House of Representatives was busy last week. We honored a beloved deceased former member of the House, we passed a major regulatory reform bill and we had a special House page helping us for the week.

    While the full Appropriations Committee chairs and top leaders from the House and Senate put the finishing touches on the 2017-19 state budget, both chambers got busy on the bills that remain to be handled. We were assured we were close to having a final budget on which to vote this week.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North Carolina House of Representatives, we worked into the night in budget conference meetings with the Senate, we debated and passed a controversial gun bill, and we passed an energy bill almost unanimously.

  • You decide: Are changes ahead for state pensions?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    My wife has now been retired for 10 years. She taught elementary school for 32 years, usually putting in 12- to 14-hour days when classroom time, after school grading and lesson plans are included. She was a teacher for so long that many times she taught the children of former students. She took pride in the accomplishments of her pupils, and even today is thrilled to see some of them — of various ages — about town.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North Carolina House of Representatives, we spent almost every waking hour on the 2017-19 state budget, we handled about 100 amendments to the budget and approved the House budget in the early hours Friday morning, June 2.

  • You decide: Can urban and rural areas get along?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    My wife and I have one foot in rural regions and the other in big cities. We were both born and raised in small towns — I in an unincorporated town (meaning it wasn’t big enough to qualify as an official municipality) in Ohio and she in a recognized town (but still tiny) in upstate New York. I have a vague memory of my mother pulling me in a little wagon to the country store for groceries. On the way home, the groceries were in the wagon and I would walk.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North Carolina House of Representatives, we had a session at the old Capitol building to honor the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, we finished the individual sections of the House state budget and we passed the budget sections out of committees.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week was an unusual week in the North Carolina House of Representatives. We worked into the night on the state budget, we passed bills concerning juvenile justice and shared medical expenses, and I was able to attend an important event two states away.

    This column is being written on a beautiful Saturday morning in north Georgia, just outside Atlanta. I will explain near the end.

  • District 17 House update

    By Rep. Frank Iler

    Guest Columnist

    Last week in the North Carolina House of Representatives, we overrode the governor’s veto on a bill for the fourth time, we handled bills concerning the juvenile justice system and restaurants, and we saw the senate pass their budget and send it to us in the House.

  • You decide: What divides us on taxes?

    By Dr. Mike Walden

    Guest Columnist

    It was a hot, humid day in 1985. President Reagan was appearing at Reynolds Coliseum. I was in the audience. The arena was not yet air-conditioned. Despite huge fans that had been brought from Fort Bragg, everyone was sweating. As the president stepped to the podium, he mentioned the warmth in the building and promptly removed his suit coat. As if on cue, all the dignitaries on the stage also removed their coats.

  • You decide: What determines county jobless rates in N.C.?

    The unemployment rate is one of the most closely tracked of economic statistics. There are two reasons for this. First, unemployment rates for the nation, state and local areas (counties, metropolitan regions) are released each month and with a rather short lag, so the information is reasonably up-to-date.

    Second, an unemployment rate, unlike many economic measures, is relatively easy to understand. It’s the percentage of the adult workforce actively looking for a job.