Wednesday, July 17, 2024

NC trend: Best of the N.C. Tribune

Penny thoughts

Ronald Penny, 68, has led the N.C. Department of Revenue since 2017. Here are some comments from the attorney whose signature appears on N.C. tax refunds: 

What are some of your past jobs?

Tenured associate professor, N.C. Central University Vice president for human resources, UNC System Senior managing partner, Penny & Barnes law firm General counsel to the chancellor, Elizabeth City State University  Attorney, DuPont Corp.  

What lessons have you applied to your current position?

All organizations must have a clearly articulated vision and mission. Senior leaders must reinforce that mission and vision in multiple ways to reach internal and external stakeholders. An organization’s most valuable assets go home at the end of the workday, act like it.

What’s the most common misconception about your agency?

People often think that the N.C. Department of Revenue and the Internal Revenue Service are the same agency. The IRS is a federal agency that has no authority over the N.C. Department of Revenue, which is a state agency. Correspondingly, NCDOR generally is unable to address issues that taxpayers may have with our federal counterparts.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about getting things done in state government?

“Always tell the truth. And when you are wrong, and inevitably you will be wrong, remember a good apology is better than a bad stand any day.”— Army Lt. Col. Leon J. Penny (Penny’s dad)

  • Months before Gov. Roy Cooper endorsed Sen. Kirk deViere’s Democratic primary opponent in March, the Nexus Strategies consulting firm led by Cooper adviser
    Morgan Jackson dumped deViere as a client. In December, deViere filed paperwork changing his campaign treasurers from Nexus to another firm, Blue Wave Politics. DeViere says the change wasn’t his choice.
  • The N.C. League of Conservation Voters endorsed nine legislative candidates in contested Democratic primaries. Only one doesn’t currently serve in the General Assembly. The group backs Kimberly Hardy, a Fayetteville State University professor, in a Cumberland County House primary over former Rep. Elmer Floyd.
  • The state legislature set a new record on March 10, but no one was happy about it. Lawmakers just wanted to go home. House Speaker Tim Moore announced that the 2021 session sets “the record for the longest session in the history of this state. I hope it is a record that we don’t try to break.” March 10 was Day 198.

State Senate leader Phil Berger discussed legislative priorities for the 2022 short session later this spring. 

On Medicaid expansion: Berger anticipates a vote on Medicaid expansion this year “if we get a recommendation (from the study committee) that you can build support around, and I’m hopeful that will be the case.”

On medical marijuana: Regarding Senate Rules Chairman Bill Rabon’s Compassionate Care Act, which would allow the tightly regulated use of medical marijuana: “I personally would vote for it if it were on the floor, and I will do everything I can to help Sen. Rabon move that issue forward.” 

On the potential for more income tax cuts: “If we continue to see revenues far outpace projections, first blush for me would be maybe we’re not cutting enough.”  


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