To the Editor:
There are several people running in Jackson County for public office this year and many are claiming to do one thing — raise the pay for school teachers in Jackson County. Who could be against that issue?
First, let’s ask why Jackson County teachers would want to replace three of the county commissioners — Jack Debnam, Charles Elders and Doug Cody? In their first three and a half years in office they have approved the $11 million Performing Arts Center for the Smoky Mountain High School that should open in April. In Glenville, they approved a million dollar new locker and weight room facility at Blue Ridge School that was completed last year. They were able to give the Jackson County School Board enough money so that all of the teachers in Jackson County and their assistants kept their jobs last year.
Jack Debnam only won his election by 64 votes, and those 64 votes have helped turned our county around from the worst financial mess it was in many years.
In addition, these three men — with the help of Sen. Jim Davis, R-Franklin — got the alcohol initiative on the ballot in 2012. That passed by a 60 to 40 majority. This vote to make Jackson County a wet county has increased the sales tax revenue the county receives. This needed income source to the county will be permanent. The only people who pay this alcohol sales tax are the people who buy alcoholic beverages.
Gov. Pat McCrory, R, has promised to raise teachers in the coming year. How can he make that promise? Since January 2011 when the Republicans came into office, almost 200,000 jobs have been added in North Carolina. Some people have criticized the new tax laws, but that is why businesses have been moving back into our state and many businesses have expanded. Only people with jobs pay taxes, and North Carolina has been singled out nationally for the great job it is doing in helping people find jobs. We currently have 4.3 million employees in North Carolina paying taxes. That is why Gov. McCrory can promise teachers their pay will increase.
Many other good things are happening in our county, like the new satellite facility of the East Carolina University Dental School, which will open shortly above the senior center off Webster Road. This dental facility will provide the school kids in Jackson County some much needed affordable dental service that has been lacking for years. That should be something our teachers can applaud.