A stronger state and a stronger Guard connect NC bond

A stronger state and a stronger Guard connect NC bond

On March 15, 2016, voters across North Carolina will be going to the polls, casting primary ballots in their respective parties, but also deciding the fate of our state's future and well-being with a $2 billion bond package for our university system, our community colleges, our state parks, our National Guard and numerous local water and sewer system improvements.

Thousands of citizens have served our state and nation in the North Carolina National Guard (NCNG). For generations our Soldiers and Airmen have answered the call to emergencies at home as well as in dangerous places across the globe. The Guard's force structure has changed with modern technological equipment and personnel needs.

Most of the NCNG facilities across the state average 45 years in age. These armories are too small in many cases to effectively accommodate our new modernized equipment. These armories are also expensive to maintain and operate. If passed, $70 million of the Connect NC Bond will be dedicated to the NCNG for new construction and upgrades on three regional readiness centers.

The benefits of the Connect NC Bond are many. Ultimately, state expenses for Guard utilities and upkeep would be reduced. The new facilities would provide much-needed room for Soldiers to train and work and offer opportunities for other public agencies to share space thereby stretching taxpayer dollars as far as possible. The regional concept for location armories means a Guard that can more efficiently and effectively respond in times of emergency. Further, the new and renovated facilities located in high-population areas will provide more opportunities to recruit solid volunteers and offer better-working conditions for soldiers and their equipment. The Connect NC Bond enables the Guard to remain the ready, reliable, responsive and relevant force on which North Carolinians have come to rely.

It's been 15 years since the last general obligation bond was authorized to upgrade our state's infrastructure and since then North Carolina has added 2 million people in population. The $2 billion bond will connect North Carolina to the 21st century through statewide investments in education, parks, safety, recreation, water and sewer infrastructure and the National Guard.

The Connect NC Bond will allow us to pay for 50-year assets with 20-year financing. No tax increases are necessary to finance the bond, given the state's strong revenue growth and ample debt service capacity. North Carolina will continue to balance the budget and uphold its position as one of only 10 states to have earned the coveted Triple A bond rating from all three major ratings agencies.

The Connect NC Bond is a bi-partisan team effort, working together to build a better North Carolina for the future. This is an important investment in education, agriculture, state parks and the North Carolina National Guard. If you want to get more information on the Connect NC Bond Campaign, please visit the following websites: www.voteyestoinvest.com and www.connect.nc.gov.

I ask you to join me in supporting the bond. It is the right thing to do because we are all North Carolinians first.

BG (Ret). David L. Jennette, Jr.
Co-Chair, Connect NC Bond Committee