Letters to the editor

Feb. 28, 2013 @ 08:23 PM

Don’t add to the burden of families


Throughout North Carolina, many working families struggle with day-to-day uncertainties. Buying groceries, covering rent and paying utility bills remain steep challenges for too many low- and moderate-income households, particularly those with children.
It’s a worse time than ever to add to families’ burdens and financial insecurity. Yet that’s a certain consequence if state officials follow through on plans to reduce North Carolina’s Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for a year, and then let it expire.
The state EITC provides modest but critical support to more than 900,000 low-wage households, who have to work to qualify for its help. The majority claim EITC help for only a year or two, to help them back on their feet financially.
Those of us who provide free tax-preparation assistance for low-income workers see the transformative power of the EITC. As we help families comply with their tax obligations, we see the EITC at work – reducing tax bills and helping families hang on to a few more dollars to cover basics.
But a rapidly moving proposal in Raleigh would reverse this and increase tax bills, specifically for the lowest-income, working households. It would push many families to the brink of poverty or over, when more than one in four of the state’s children already live in poverty.
This is the wrong direction for struggling households, their communities and our state. We need to protect working families, the core of North Carolina’s economic well-being. That’s why families need lawmakers and the governor to preserve the EITC.

Adam Rust, Director of Research
Reinvestment Partners, Durham
Jackie Lynn Coleman, Executive Director
National Community Tax Coalition, Chicago


Cancer screening vital for prevention


Get Your Rear In Gear (GetYourRearInGear.com) is an event promoting colon cancer awareness and prevention on March 2 at Fred Fletcher Park in Raleigh. March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month, and I urge all readers to learn more and participate in the GYRIG run/walk.  This is a positive way to bring awareness to the second deadliest form of cancer.  The event also allows participants to ask questions of physicians, gain additional information and get people talking about how to prevent colon cancer through timely screening exams.  

More than 30 percent of at-risk North Carolinians are not up-to-date with colon cancer screening recommendations. Patients and physicians must overcome barriers to increase colorectal cancer screening rates. Barriers to at-risk patients for colonoscopy include: prep, fear of discomfort, modesty, scheduling, cost and transportation and lack of perceived risk. We all need to join together with patients, family members and friends to help at-risk patients overcome these barriers.

Websites like www.StopColonCancerNow.com provide education and information and hopefully will increase colon cancer screening rates. 

Talk to your physician about getting a colon cancer screening exam if you are at least 50; African American and at least 45; or are younger than 50 but have a personal or family history of colon cancer or polyps.

Please join me in the fight against colon cancer by getting a screening exam if you are at risk and Getting Your Rear In Gear on March 2!

Annette Smith, Raleigh Get Your Rear in Gear Race Director