L’affaire Laroque offers unique glimpse into secretive world of legislative ethics

        State Rep. Stephen Laroque — a close friend and political ally of House Speaker Thom Tillis — is taking a lot of heat over his management of two government-funded non-profits.  The N&O posted an item  raising questions about Laroque’s support of legislation favored by the billboard industry, while he — Laroque — had an ownership interest in some billboards: […] One of LaRoque’s two nonprofit organizations, formed to loan federal money to struggling businesses, made loans to two billboard companies in 2007 and 2009, records show. His nonprofit owns four of the billboards because the loan…

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Will Big Government Republicans scam conservative voters ONE MORE TIME?

      In 1994’s Contract With America, U.S. House Republicans pledged to eliminate 95 federal programs.  By 2010, according to The Cato Institute, spending on those particular 95 programs had GROWN by 13 percent.  Andrew McCarthy, writing in National Review, tells us that the Republican Party is “not serious about small government”: Forget the fratricidal warfare between two establishment soldiers so harmonious on substance that their contest, inevitably, has descended into a poisonous, personal food-fight. The problem is not the GOP infighting. The problem is the GOP. Republicans are simply not interested in limiting government or addressing our death…

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Tolls? Really? Seriously?

North Carolina drivers are paying the highest gasoline tax south of The Mason-Dixon Line.  Now, our state government wants to shake us down for what’s left in our pockets by implementing road tolls.  The tolls are reportedly for financing the planned expansion of the portion of Interstate 95 that runs through the Tar Heel State.  Wait. I thought we were paying this astronomical gas tax so that our state government could pay for road improvements.  Why can’t we dig into THAT money?  (I guess it’s kind of like the revenue from The Education lottery.  Record numbers of people are playing…

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GOP opportunity in Cumberland: Glazier, Parfitt out. Melvin in?

The state of politics in Cumberland County is tumultuous, to say the least.   State Rep. Rick Glazier — the 800 lb. gorilla in the county’s post-Rand era — is primarying state schools superintendent June Atkinson.  That decision temporarily alleviated a problem for  local Dems:  redistricting had double-bunked Glazier with fellow Democrat Diane Parfitt.  Now, Parfitt is announcing that she will not be running for reelection to the state House. Parfitt and Glazier both barely squeaked out wins in 2010.  The district is very competitive for the GOP. In fact, that territory was represented by Republican Mia Morris from 1996-2002….

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Barry & Bev’s economy, by the numbers

          We here at The Haymaker want to make sure you have ALL the vital information you need to make thoughtful, responsible decisions this election year.  As a public service, we’re providing you with some morsels of economic data to counter BarryO and his friends in the mainstream media when they pee on your leg and tell you its raining economic prosperity. Home ownership continues to drop like a rock, while rental rates skyrocket: Fewer Americans own homes and many of them are continuing to see values decline. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday that the nation’s homeownership…

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McCrory by the numbers

            Tara Servatius at ‘The Meck Deck” has an interesting numbers-based take on The Tar Heel State’s governor-in-waiting Pat McCrory: … McCrory’s chances would depend heavily on who wins the Democrat primary, if either of the presidential candidates have coat tails and how good his campaign is. But here are some helpful numbers: .08% – The amount by which Bev Perdue beat McCrory in Mecklenburg County in 2008. Normally getting beaten in your home county is a lethal sign of weakness that would finish off one’s statewide political career. The Dems and the media will use this…

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Tillis & Laroque: A political “family” affair

With federal investigators turning up the heat on state Rep. Stephen Laroque (R-Kinston), it will be interesting to see what — if any — action House Speaker Thom Tillis takes in regard to the beleaguered legislator.  Tillis has actively helped push out other scandal-tarred Republican legislators. House Minority Leader Joe Hackney had to really force the issue  with Tillis about getting the House Ethics Committee involved in the Laroque matter. With Laroque, things may be a little touchy, a little uncomfortable and close-to-home for Tillis.  Tillis and Laroque are part of the same political clique, which has former state Rep….

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Coble going for term #15

The Greensboro News & Record reported today that Congressman Howard Coble (R) will seek reelection to the U.S. House seat he has held since 1985.   Coble, 80, is the oldest and longest-serving member in North Carolina’s congressional delegation.  He had a lengthy hospital stay earlier this year, fueling speculation he might not seek reelection. We in Moore County have been represented by Coble since the last redistricting effort in 2001.  The 2011 redistricting plan puts us in the 2nd district, represented by Republican Renee Ellmers of Harnett County, starting with the 2012 elections.

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NCGOP’s lack of action on tax relief disturbing

The next time you’re filling up your gas tank at your local convenience store and cursing FILL IN THE BLANK (the store owner, the oil companies, George Bush …), think about THIS: At $0.389, North Carolina has THE HIGHEST per gallon tax on gasoline south of The Mason-Dixon Line. Virginia’s gas tax is $0.197 per gallon, while South Carolina’s is $0.168 per gallon.  Tennessee’s tax is $0.214 per gallon.  Florida’s gas tax is $0.304 per gallon. Why are we so much higher? The conservative majority in the NC General Assembly HAD the chance to cap the tax rate, but dropped the…

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Governor BOWLES?

The last time a member of the Bowles family ran for governor was 1972, which produced a highly divisive Democrat primary that led to the election of a Republican governor.  Will history repeat itself in 2012? Democrat big-dogs in Raleigh and DC are calling party operatives all over the state taking their temperature on the idea of an Erskine Bowles gubernatorial bid. Bowles has a sizable personal fortune, a great personal reputation, and very high name recognition.  He had a successful tenure as UNC system president. He’s been the administrator of the federal Small Business Administration, and a successful businessman…

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