07/29/06 — Work to do: Legislature adjourns, but important issues linger

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Work to do: Legislature adjourns, but important issues linger

The North Carolina General Assembly session is over for another year — well, at least for a few more months, anyway.

And, as usual, the spin is already beginning about who did what and whose proposals should have been passed but weren’t.

Some are even going so far as to say this was a do-nothing session that was long on talk, but short on action, especially when it comes to important issues that really matter to North Carolina taxpayers.

In the end, there some bright spots. It looks like there is going to be ethics and campaign financing reform, stricter rules should soon be in place for sex offenders, and landfill construction now has a few more caveats.

Some of the proposals that have passed are just the first few steps in a very long process. There will need to be much more talk about illegal immigration and how to stem the tide and how to get the proper services and education for those who are already here. That is certainly not a debate that will end anytime soon, but requiring Social Security numbers for those who are applying for driver’s licenses should spark some more debate as the year ends.

There was some tax relief for North Carolina residents, but there will still need to be more discussion about how much we want to invest in future development for the state and how much we want to send back into taxpayers’ pockets.

And then there is the gas tax — and if we really want to do something serious about how much the state’s drivers are supposed to pay for gas.

North Carolina’s leaders in Raleigh and back at home will continue to debate how much money needs to go to the state’s schools, and what can be done to improve the educational offerings for and test scores of the state’s students.

All in all, the legislative session can best be termed “a start” — the first look at many issues that will need serious consideration as North Carolina continues to grow and change as a state. The debates are not over yet. They really have just begun.

Taxpayers should make note of what got attention and what didn’t as well as the stands taken by the senators and representatives who serve their districts.

And if they see something they don’t like, or want a new focus for the next session, then they need to make their feelings known, before the next gavel sounds.

That’s the only way to make sure the next meeting of the state’s leaders doesn’t end with the feeling of a job left undone.

Published in Editorials on July 29, 2006 10:59 PM