by Derek Lacey / Staff Writer

State Rep. Bill Brawley and Sen. Jeff Tarte answered questions from residents about state matters. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

State Rep. Bill Brawley and Sen. Jeff Tarte answered questions from residents about state matters. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

State representatives Bill Brawley, House District 103, and Jeff Tarte, Senate District 41,  stopped by the Mint Hill Town Hall Saturday, April 13, to field questions from residents and give insight into pressing state matters.

Less than 20 people attended the meeting, but among them were Mint Hill Mayor Ted Biggers and town commissioners Lloyd Austin and Mickey Ellington.

The meeting began with discussion on the proposed formation of an airport authority fot the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

Brawley is the primary sponsor of House Bill 104, which is creating the airport authority, and cited that the Charlotte airport is sixth in the nation for number of flights, and twenty-seventh by number of passengers.

“We hit way above our weight class, as far as number of flights,” Brawley said. “Part of the reason is because of the low cost to operate out of Charlotte Douglas, and that has been because of the way the airport has been managed for a number of years.”

Biggers voiced his support for the bill, and an airport authority, citing his 33 years experience as a pilot and knowledge of the industry.

“That operation is so big, I don’t trust the Charlotte City Council to manage that airport,” Biggers said. “I want a professional group that has a lot of experience in aviation and transportation to be in charge of that airport.”

Discussion then moved to voter ID legislation and revaluation in Mecklenburg County.

Tarte said that a bill moving through the state senate, requiring photo ID for voters, will pass in some shape or form, stating that photo ID would be easy to access and even available at the poll.

Revaluation was the next talking point, and Tarte described the problem, saying the Mecklenburg County Assessor’s Office didn’t follow statutes or state laws.

“They basically, in essence, took money from taxpayers that was not theirs to take,” Tarte said. “What we’ve done is changed the process and we have passed the bill out of the Senate and out of the House.”

The bill requires the county to go back and clean up past tax records that are known to be inaccurate. Tarte cited the Machinery Act that requires yearly reviews of tax assessment, and the last time Mecklenburg County did this was 17 years ago.

“We will make them go back to January and clean up and correct so we have fair and accurate appraisals for every single property in this county,” Tarte said.

Other discussion at the meeting revolved on the topics of jobs and unemployment, education, and spending in North Carolina, all topics that residents at the meeting felt strongly about, most expressing their concerns that Republicans in Raliegh aren’t holding up their end of the bargain.

Tarte said the number one thing that will create jobs in North Carolina is the tax reform.

“I’m a supply-sider, I’m an economist by training and background, that’s my degree,” Tarte said. “I believe…that if we can restructure the tax base that makes it attractive to business they will come. It creates commerce, it creates jobs, it creates revenue that we can tax.”

Tarte speculated that the tax reform would create more than 600,000 new jobs in the state during the first two years of its adoption.

To end the meeting, Tarte pubicized his own “trash bill,” which he said is a jobs bill and will create jobs.

“If you don’t remember anything you’ve heard today, remember trash,” Tarte said.

Tarte’s proposed bill would take some of the more than 2,000 landfills in the state, clean them up and convert them in a sustainable, completely green way, and then sell the land they occupied.

“What we would do is take these landfills, and I want to, once they’re cleaned up, sell them,” Tarte said. “We make money on the land sale, we’re out of the business of maintaining it, and we privatize it.”