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Scuttlebutt

by YES! Staff

Knight announces runfor mayorBill Knight will announcehis plans to run formayor of Greensboroat a press conference infront of the First CitizensBank building at 2 p.m.on Wednesday. Knightis the only announcedchallenger to YvonneJohnson. Knight, a retiredaccountant, placed last ina six-way contest for threeat-large seat in 2007.— JG

Town hall meeting onstate budget scheduledSen. Don Vaughan(D-Guilford) will holda town hall meeting atthe Greensboro CentralLibrary at 6 p.m. onThursday to hear concernsand ideas about the NCGeneral Assembly’s 2009session. Undoubtedly,the budget will be thestrongest concern, bothfrom those who want toavoid tax increases andthose concerned aboutservice cuts. “We arefacing a budget shortfallof over $4 billion due tothe severe recession andwe will be required tomake significant cuts andraise additional revenue as well,” Vaughan said in his June 5 newsletter.“Over half the state budget is spent on education and, unfortunately,we will be left with no choice but to make cuts to education…. Whereshould we cut? What can public schools do without right now that doesnot endanger the core educational mission? We have some tough choices ahead and I want to know what you think.” — JG

Taylor, Patterson to run for city council seats James Taylor, a juvenile court counselor, announced he plans to challenge Winston-Salem City Councilwoman Evelyn Terry inthe Democratic primary to represent the Southeast Ward during acampaign kickoff rally at the Ken Carlson Boys and Girls Club inWinston-Salem on June 6. “I’m here by popular demand,” Taylor said.Taylor outlined the major tenets of his platform — public safety,economic development, environmental sustainability, opening lines ofcommunication with constituents —to an enthusiastic audience of roughly40 people. Referring to the age of city council members, the35-year-old Taylor said he doesn’t look like the council members “butto get where we’re going we’re going to have to think progressively.”Taylor said the 2009 municipal elections are not about the candidates,but the needs of the voters. “We can change this community one vote ata time. Everything was designed to pass on to that next generation. Weare that next generation. We

stand poised to lead,” he said. Also, Winston-Salem attorney Wayne Patterson announced at a June 2 meeting of Young Democrats that he will challenge Winston-Salem City Councilman Nelson Malloy inthe Democratic primary to represent the North Ward. Patterson, 38, saidhis work with the Obama campaign last fall inspired him to run. He saidhis top issue is public safety. Patterson, a former prosecutor anddefense attorney, said he would propose the implementation ofcity-sponsored youth programs to help curb gang violence and enhancedoversight of the Winston- Salem Police Department. — KTB

Progressives advocate for higher taxes

Progressives have begun to push back against the

notion that the legislature can completely cut its way out of the budget crisis. Theleft-leaning NC Justice Center released a report on Monday recommendingthe state “improve the longterm adequacy of the tax system by capturinga greater share of wealthier taxpayers’ income,” increase the stateearned Income Tax Credit for low-income families and “requiremulti-state corporations to combine the business activity of allrelated entities into one report so the Department of Revenue can moreaccurately asses the share of corporations’ profits that areattributable to doing business in North Carolina.” The center estimates that closing the loophole would generate about $100 million in annual tax revenue. — JG

Jones: Minimal tax increase unacceptable

Rep. Earl Jones (D-Guilford) is among those in the progressive wing of NC Democratic Party who favor substantial tax increases. “It’sprobably been six or seven years since we’ve raised taxes,” he said inan interview on sunday. “The population of the state has increased byalmost a million people in the last eight years. We have a $4.3 billionbudget deficit. When you look at the deep cuts supported by the [House]leadership, it’s unacceptable. I will not be supporting cutsthat affect our youth, our seniors, people who have medical problems —that may result in death because people don’t get critical treatment.”Jones favors raising personal income taxes on 143,000 individuals whoearn more than $200,000 per year, which he said would generate almost$500 million; increasing the sales tax by 2.5 cents on all productsother than food and medicine, which he said would create about $2.3billion in revenue; and create a video lottery, which would he saidwould bring in an estimated $800 million. “The leadership in the Housewill try to come up with revenue through taxes and fees that comes upwith $1 billion,” Jones said. To me, that’s unacceptable. Raise enoughrevenue through taxes and fees to fix the problem because people aregoing to be mad at you anyway. A modest sales tax increase of 1 cent,that’s not going to do it. It gives you just enough to fail.” Jonessaid he expects the House to vote on the budget by the end of the week.“This is the time for strong, bold leadership to do what’s necessary,regardless of the political consequences to try to bring us out of thisrecession in two to three years. When you have 8,000 state employeeslosing their jobs, and you add contractors, that’s 25,000- 30,000people losing their jobs. Those are people who spend money. What’sgoing to be the result when the sales tax revenue goes down next year?Those states that don’t [raise taxes] are going to lag behind, andtheir citizens are going to suffer. Make the hard decisions, do the right thing, and we’ll get out of this.” — JG

First case of swine flu in Guilford identified

TheGuilford County Public Health Department was informed by the state labof the county’s first positive case of H1N1 swine flu virus, Director Merle Green announcedon June 4. Green said the patient was at home and taking anti-viralmedication. The department “is reminding the community to use goodpersonal hygiene such as thorough and washing with warm water and soapor alcohol-based hand sanitizers, covering coughs and sneezes with adisposable tissue or by coughing or sneezing into a bended elbow orsleeve, and to practice social distancing by staying home away fromothers if sick,” Green said in a prepared statement. — JG

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