NC must not tax small business owners who got payroll protection during the pandemic

Don’t tax PPP

When Congress created the Payroll Protection Program to help struggling businesses during the pandemic it made clear to small businesses that forgiven PPP expenses would be tax deductible.

In all, 9,545 restaurants and hotels across our state received approximately $1 billion in PPP funds to keep employees on payroll even while restaurants were closed and hotels virtually empty.

Unless N.C. House Bill 334 passes, the state will “claw back” a portion of these federal funds from struggling businesses owners. It will tax restaurants and hotels that have suffered a decline in taxable sales of over $4.8 billion during COVID.

Our state is one of only three across the nation that still aims to tax businesses at the state level for funds received through the PPP. We commend the N.C. House for passing HB 334 and urge the N.C. Senate to do so quickly so that small businesses across the state can get on with their recovery.

Lynn Minges

President and CEO, N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association

Sad for NC

I’m a proud graduate of UNC Greensboro, with close family ties to North Carolina. I consider it my second home.

The behavior of law enforcement authorities in Elizabeth City was not a “police-involved shooting,” not an arrest gone wrong, nor any other sugar-coated bit of blather.

It may end up being a stain on the soul of North Carolina, on the state’s legal system, and on the trust we all have in law enforcement officers.

My heart breaks, not only for the family of Andrew Brown Jr., but for the county officials who have behaved with callous disrespect toward Brown’s family and representatives.

But my heart also breaks for the state I have loved for nearly 60 years — that it has come to this.

Marilyn Lott, Front Royal, Va.

Elizabeth City

The outrageous police shooting in Elizabeth City would certainly confirm suspicions that sheriff’s deputies there have no clue about what goes on in other jurisdictions where shoot first and ask questions later seems to have become policy. Do they even know that in Minneapolis former officer Derek Chauvin was just convicted of murder?

The video of Pasquotank County deputies decked out like storm troopers on their way to serve warrants on Andrew Brown Jr. is sickening. If there were any lingering doubt that the War on Drugs is really a war on Black people, that vanished with five gun shots by law enforcement, one to the back of the head.

Graham Marlette, Durham

Awash in guns

After more tragic shootings it is frustrating to see the primary focus be yet again on the attempt to ascertain shooter motive.

Humans beings are complex, and there can be any number of motives for why a person kills: vengeance, racism, despair, jealousy, xenophobia, machismo, road rage, or mental illness. Often it is a combination of these, making it impossible to narrow down to one.

But there is one factor common to all of these shootings: our all-to-easy access to lethal weapons.

As long as the discussion of cause is hijacked, and law enforcement and media attention diverted primarily to trying to determine motive, our morgues will continue to fill with the bodies of victims who succumb weekly to our disgraceful national gun plague.

Joseph Moran, Durham

Student debt

Some people say it simply wouldn’t be fair to cancel debt when “responsible” students have had to pay it back.

As one of the “responsible” students who joined the military to get money for college, I wholeheartedly support canceling all student debt. And I support establishing universal higher education in the U.S..

Every day, gifted children are born into families that will never have the financial resources to send them to college. They deserve a chance to pursue higher education and follow their dreams. Our society desperately needs them to go out and become experts in their fields.

The U.S. will only become stronger with a well-educated populace.

Canceling student debt would be a boon to a COVID-crippled economy. With 45 million people not paying loans and loan interest, they’ll have cash to spend in the local economy. One bank executive is not going to keep your restaurant afloat, but a bunch of relieved millennials just might.

Heather Murphy, Cary

Get your shot

While I wrestled with how I could get by without the COVID vaccine due to my intense fear of needles, family and loved ones received the vaccine uneventfully and derived confidence from being fully protected to undertake normal activities after a prolonged and difficult period of isolation, distress, and anxiety.

Science and news reports about vaccine effectiveness were also very encouraging.

Despite my own vaccine hesitancy, I realized that I needed to step up and do my part.

Immediately after the first dose, I was unexpectedly overwhelmed with a profound sense of gratitude, joy, and relief.

If I could get over my fear and hesitancy, so can others. Please get your shot so North Carolina can achieve herd immunity and ease restrictions. That way, we can all look forward to business as usual safely in the near future.

Monique Lundgren, Raleigh