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Moffitt shares views, hears constituents concerns
Monday, 16 July 2012 17:20
By JOHN NORTH
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LEICESTER — State Rep. Tim Moffitt, R-Buncombe, addressed his constituents, fielded questions from them and then chatted informally with anyone interested afterward during a town hall-style meeting on June 30 at the Leicester Community Center.

The soiree, which featured a free barbecue meal and live bluegrass music, drew more than 80 people on a sizzling day that set an all-time record for the heat. The band was Gordon Terry & Friends.

Besides discussing issues that were important to his constituents, he reviewed legislation that passed, that did not pass and that which is currently pending.

Moffitt was introduced by long-time local Republican Dorothea Alderfer as the freshman in the state House “named to more committee than anyone else in the General Assembly.”

In a nod to Alderfer’s compliment, Moffitt said it is a great honor to be selected to so many committees.

Referring to the short session then in progress, he quipped, “We’re almost out of session. Soon it will be six months before anything can happen to you out of Raleigh.”

The new Republican Republican majority in the state Senate and House — the first in more than a century — has “been busy. But we’re just getting started.”

He added that the legislature is “going to continue on that path,” where it has made major conservative-backed changes in the way the state — and the state government — functions.

On a light note, he asked, “What’s it like to be a legislator? You can learn a foreign language at any stage of your life,” when in politics. Moffitt then told of moving in to his office after his election and being recited a mind-numbing series of acronyms, referring to state agencies. At the end, Moffitt said he responded, “OMG” and “LOL and welcome to the NCGA,” prompting laughter from the crowd.

He added, “That’s how government works — it’s all in acronyms ... I’ve become one of them” in using acronyms.

“After 1-1/2 years (in the legislature), I’ve learned a lot in battling the bureaucracy,” with the backing of his constituents.

Among his legislative accomplishments to date, Moffitt listed the following:

• Balanced the state budget two years in a row “without raising taxes.”

• Minimalized health and human services’ spending.

• Passed legislation that is positive toward property rights, including annexation reform on restraining forced annexation, “which I consider my signature piece of legislation.” When the audience applauded, Moffitt smiled and asserted, “It really turns back 53 years of law.”

• Worker’s Compensation reform, to which Moffitt added, “Government doesn’t create jobs. It creates ‘government jobs.’ What we need to do is get the government out of the way, where the private sector can create jobs.” The crowd again applauded.

• Tort reform.

At that point, Alderfer interjected, “What did you do about property rights?”

“Our properties are worth a lot less than they were four years ago,” Moffit replied, in a reference to the so-called the Great Recession.

“We passed a law in the House, where, if you’re facing eminent domain, they (the government) has to (at least) give you what you owe on the property.”

As for tax reform, Moffitt said, “We’re pursuing tax reform in 2012 ... I do think pursuing tax reform and simplying the tax code — and making it more understandable — is important.”

In concluding his talk, Moffitt asserted, “So, there’s lots going on. We’ve got a lot to do. We hope to be out of Raleigh by July 4th at the latest .. To wrap it up, any questions?”

A man asked, “Do you have enough votes to override the governor’s veto of the (state) budget?”

“I’m not sure we have enough votes,” Moffitt replied. “This veto was surprising — that it actually came up.”

Mike Fryar, a Fairview resident and candidate for county Board of Commissioners, asked about the “ETJ” — or extra-territorial jurisdiction. “Do you have to follow the rules of a city in an ETJ?”

“Yes,” Moffitt replied.

“How can you get rid of it?” Fryar queried.

“It’s going to (have to) be a staged approach,” the legislator said.

A woman asked about the state’s efforts to attract Sierra Nevada and New Belgium breweries to the Asheville area.

“What I was able to do” to attract the two breweries to the area “was to work with all of the stakeholders,” Moffitt said. “I got everybody to the table to get an exception to allow the large crafters, so that they could locate here. I think it’s” about 400 jobs and a $300 million “investment in our area.”

A woman asked why Moffitt voted for fracking.

“I voted for a fracking study,” Moffitt said, in correcting her assertion. (Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is a means of natural gas extraction. The process involves drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas.)

Asheville Tea Party member Nancy Grace asked if Moffitt could help with the process “to stop Obamacare’s implementation in North Carolina?”

Moffitt said there were good points to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, such as “it won’t allow the Commerce Clause” to be misused. However, he conceded that the bad point is that “it allows ... Obamacare to stand ... So their decision isn’t like it’s going to make new law.”

He added, “When it comes to nullification and states rights, “ Moffitt said there is much to be done — and that he is willing to continue to push ahead on those two issues.

A woman asked about the CTS contamination status.

“Well,” Moffitt replied, “I’m not very political .... I’m more practical.”

However, he then said his three CTS goals include “getting the building razed — we got that one, getting the site remediated and getting water lines extended to 115 houses whose well water was contaminated.”

Further, Moffitt said, “We hope to get the remediation done next year.” He also said he found “an obscure loan through the EPA to extend the 150 water lines. Hopefully, the polluter will pay back on this.”

Someone asked about the Asheville water-sewer study, to which Moffitt replied, “We’ve studied it and concluded that consolidation of water and sewer (in an independent regional authority) were was the best way to go.”

On other matters, Moffitt said he personally “abhors politics,” but continues to serve because he believes he can help move the government in a conservative direction.

He noted that he was ranked the “No.1 most conservative legislator” by the Civitas Institute, received a high ranking in effectiveness as a legislator and “I’m on more committees than any freshman (N.C. legislator) ever has been on.”

 



 


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