Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Mutual Admiration in the Capital [Short Session was a disaster for conservatism]
The Carolina Journal ^ | July 19, 2004 | John Hood

Posted on 07/19/2004 10:05:11 AM PDT by TaxRelief

RALEIGH – The 2003-04 session of the General Assembly ended Sunday with a congratulatory round of back-patting and what amounted to an open meeting of the inside-the-Beltline chapter of the North Carolina Mutual Admiration Society.


House Speaker Jim Black sounded a major theme of the post- adjournment afterglow when he told the Associated Press that his alliance with Republican Co-Speaker Richard Morgan had proven to be a productive one. "Everybody predicted chaos and thought it was going to be the end of the world," he said, but in fact his two-year coalition in the House "began in terrible fashion and ended up with a good result." Perhaps reflecting the zeitgeist of the times, what with the Kedwards presidential hugfest and all that, Morgan described the partnership this way: "I could look in Jim Black’s eyes and trust him. He knew he could look in my eyes to trust me."

Meanwhile, over in the other chamber, Senate Princeps Marc Basnight celebrated the legislature’s fiscal decisionmaking in his traditionally scholarly way, by placing it within a venerable tradition. "North Carolina's history is enriched by these kinds of developments," he said, "where we have invested the public’s money for the good of the public." He regretted only that a half-billion-dollar package of new state debt had not occurred in 2003, so that even more jobs would have been created and lives saved. I’m not kidding.

Here's what actually happened during the session:

* Lawmakers approved an adjustment to the state’s biennial budget that brought the General Funding spending total for 2004-05 to nearly $16 billion, an increase of well over $1 billion, or nearly 8 percent, above the 2003-04 budget. Almost all of this massive spending increase was financed with one-time revenues, including trust-fund raids and "temporary" taxes. So when the newly elected General Assembly convenes in 2005, it will face another large budget gap between anticipated revenues and desired spending unless the economy generates something like $1.5 billion in revenue growth (a billion to cover existing obligations and other half-billion or so to cover enrollment growth and other routine expansion items). In short, next year lawmakers will probably be dipping into your wallet, again.

Don’t believe me? Asked about the situation by David Rice of The Winston-Salem Journal, Black was noncommittal: "we’ll see where we are." Basnight, feeling more comfy in his political sinecure, let the truth slip. "Cigarette taxes and alcohol taxes are taxes that other states successfully use," he said. "They could be replacements. You definitely have to consider it."

Yes. This fall, non-Puritan voters just might want to consider it.

* The state budget included the $50 million Gov. Mike Easley requested to reduce class sizes in the third grade, even though everyone involved knows that public-school districts won’t have the space or the personnel to implement this dictate next year, and everyone should know that there’s little evidence the move will enhance student achievement.

* The aforementioned $468 million bond package for UNC buildings and other projects will add to the problem of North Carolina’s rapidly rising debt load, which has already played a key role in the tax increases of the past three years. This isn’t just a financial issue. It’s a trust issue. Past bond issues were sold to voters in statewide referenda as not requiring higher taxes, even though they did. This time, the political class isn’t even bothering to ask our opinion about it, or bothering to explain why such valuable projects – supposedly attracting millions of dollars a year in grants and billings and thus creating jobs – couldn’t sustain themselves without dipping in taxpayer funds.

* At the last minute, incumbents of both parties sought to protect themselves further from competition by attempting to silence independent organizations that purchase advertising during election cycles to inform voters about legislative records. Self-styled campaign-finance reformers immediately praised lawmakers for enacting a major piece of legislation, one surely deserving of serious debate, without any substantial review or discussion. Now that’s good government!

I could go on, but you probably get my drift. The doors of the inside-the- Beltline chapter of the North Carolina Mutual Admiration Society are forever closed to me. I am overcome with grief.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Editorial; US: North Carolina
KEYWORDS: ncbudget; nccampaignfinance; ncfreedomofspeech; ncgovernment; ncpolitics; northcarolina; oldnorthstate
* At the last minute, incumbents of both parties sought to protect themselves further from competition by attempting to silence independent organizations that purchase advertising during election cycles to inform voters about legislative records.
1 posted on 07/19/2004 10:05:16 AM PDT by TaxRelief
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: *Old_North_State; **North_Carolina; Constitution Day; mykdsmom; TaxRelief; 100%FEDUP; ...
"The 2004 short session of the legislature ended Sunday with backslaps and such accomplishments as a reckless budget, burgeoning debt, and a raid on free speech. What a success. -John Hood. "

NC *Ping*

Let Constitution Day or Taxrelief know if you want on or off the NCPing list, or if you think you've been accidentally dropped, or ....
2 posted on 07/19/2004 10:07:56 AM PDT by TaxRelief (Keep your kids safe; keep W in the White House.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson