Just Another Week

So how well did politics work last week? Did the howl diminish? Did it work better? Or worse?

Last Thursday a young woman – a loyal Democrat – wrote a letter to the editor of the Hickory Record about two Senate bills.

The first (Senate Bill 434) was about buffers. I believe when government makes a man or woman build a buffer (along a river) on his property it should compensate them for the partial taking. For example, by not requiring them to pay property taxes on the land in the buffer.

That bill, the loyal Democrat wrote the newspaper, was “horrible.”

It was pretty strong criticism but, well, this is politics and folks get to disagree.

But then the lady went on to say the bill was also “self-serving” because it was well known “Senator Wells owns or represents property along the Catawba River.” That time she’d crossed the line. Because I don’t own property, and no one in my company lists property, on the Catawba.

The second bill (about the State Employees Healthcare Fund) she described as “appalling” because I was “attacking the retirement benefits” of state employees – which sounded like hard-hearted Republicans were going to deny sixty-six-year-old retirees going on Social Security health insurance. But there were a couple of facts missing.

Right now, a state employee can retire after working for the state for 20 years, and the state will continue to pay for his or her health insurance. A state employee can retire at fifty and every month for the next 15 years the state would pay their health insurance – until they enroll in Medicare- then they get a free supplement.

That’s one reason the State Pension Fund and the State Retiree Health Care Fund are $60 billion in debt and that’s why I supported a simple change: As long as an employee works for the state he or she receives state health insurance. And when they no longer work for the state they no longer receive state health insurance. Which is exactly how most businesses handle health insurance.

This change does not affect current employees or retirees. Except for making sure the money is there to keep past promises about their retirement.

So how did politics work last week? Well, let’s see: I got attacked for owning land I don’t own, called “self-serving,” “appalling,” and “horrible.”

It was just another week.

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