Rep. Cotham schools a fellow lawmaker
The House Finance Committee is debating a proposed revenue package today. As one might expect for such a complex and controversial topic run by a fair-minded committee chair (Rep. Jennifer Weiss) it’s been a messy, long-winded meeting.
Tillis attempted to attack the modest proposed tax increases in the package by concocting a fictional character named “Larry the Landlord.” (As an aside, there’s something fitting about a conservative lawmaker indentifying a landlord as his optimal, most sympathetic “everyman” ).
Tillis, who is a “management consultant executive” with IBM then proceeded to describe numerous evils that would supposedly befall the character as a result of all the dastardly tax hikes.
A little while later, Cotham responded powerfully with a description of a character she named “Danny the Disabled Student.” As Cotham pointed out, the student would, as a result of a “no new taxes” budget, be forced to go to school in a crowded classroom that no longer has a teacher’s assistant. He would no longer be able to get dental care as a result of Medicaid and CHIP cuts and his father would no longer have his job because his father had been laid off from his job at a local correctional facility.
In short, in just a few, eloquent moments, Cotham thoroughly debunked Tillis’ lame effort and put on full display the crux of the current debate over the budget: One side is about trickedown economics that depends on helping the “haves” first. The other side is pursuing a flawed, but at least somewhat more balanced position that is about confronting the recession and at least attempting to spread the responsibility for doing so somewhat equitably.