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When the Army, Marine Corps and Air Force announced they would suspend the Tuition Assistance program for servicemembers I knew we needed to take immediate action. Last year, 300,000 of our brave men and women in uniform used this program to advance their educations.

While I recognize that sequestration is forcing the Department of Defense to make tough budget decisions, denying educational opportunities to our servicemembers is the wrong way to find savings. We cannot put the burden of addressing our long-term fiscal challenges on the backs of the men and women who serve our country. That’s not the way we do things in North Carolina, and it shouldn’t be the way we do business in Washington, either.

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Gov. Pat McCrory ran on a slew of promises when campaigning back in the fall, one of which was to reform the tax code in North Carolina, something that the N.C. General Assembly has been looking to do for years. His recent signing of House Bill 82, may be interpreted as his way of doing that. Each year N.C. updates its tax code to conform with federal changes. House Bill 82 was designed to update statutory references to the Internal Revenue Code (IRS), incorporating and conforming to many provisions contained in the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA) of 2012.

“The reason for this bill is to coincide with federal regulations," said Sen. Jim Davis who voted in favor of the bill. “We want to make sure that people who don't pay in, don't get earned income credit. There's a lot of fraud that goes along with this.”

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Macon County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution on Tuesday night, in hopes of sending a message to Raleigh to protect funds allocated to rural areas of the state, including Macon County.

Gov. Pat McCrory's proposed budget has called for a nearly 45 percent cut to the state’s Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. Each year, the trust fund is divided into three pools of money — 30 percent goes to recreation-related grants to counties, towns and cities; 65 percent to state park projects and five percent is used for shoreline access on the coast.

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Shorter early voting time among the proposed changes.

North Carolina House Majority Leader Edgar Starnes (R-Caldwell) filed a bill on March 27 that could change the method of voting throughout the state. House Bill 451 is defined as legislation that is “an act to restore partisan judicial elections, to change the early voting period, to change the order of parties on the ballot, to eliminate straight-party voting, to eliminate same-day voter registration, and to allow flexibility in applying for absentee ballots.”

One of the biggest effects the bill would have on North Carolinians is the shortened early voting period also known as one-stop voting.

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