Fiddling while North Carolina Burns

New GOP NC House Speaker Thom Tillis may not actually be a Roman, but I had a couple of Nero moments over the last few days.  First, Tillis headlined an anti-abortion breakfast where he assured the group he would immediately get hard at work at passing more restrictions on abortion in North Carolina.  “There’s nothing more important than what you’re doing here,”  Tillis intoned.  Can he really be that sure?  Right next to the story, Rob Christensen’s column entitled “State’s ‘chambers of pain’” detailed the huge looming cuts to government services being contemplated in Raleigh by…who exactly?  Apparently not Tillis, who clearly has other priorities.

I guess we could all breath a sigh of relief about that if our budget situation wasn’t so dire that even with commonsense tax changes – like not allowing the temporary sales and upper income bracket tax to expire this year – serious cuts to the government services we all depend on will have to be made.

But, as Tillis and his fellow GOPers are finding out, actually governing is pretty hard.  It’s easier to fire up the base on the hot-button social issues, something you get pretty comfortable with being in the minority.  The only problem is now Tillis and company are actually piloting the ship instead of organizing dances on the starboard deck.

Take state ferries for instance.  Just a couple days before the Tillis breakfast, Tillis’s second in command, House Majority Leader Paul Stam, was “detailing” how GOPers would deal with the huge state budget cuts.  We’ll “right-size” state government he said, which apparently means requiring photo IDs from voters, giving tax credits to parents who send their kids to private school, and, drum roll, the big idea for closing NC’s $3.7 billion budget hole:  charging people more to ride state ferries.

Unfortunately Stam’s disconnect from reality was thrown into sharp relief by another neighboring story entitled “UNC system could lose 2,000 jobs.”  Those cuts include 1,000 faculty members and will mean much bigger classes and fewer courses for thousands of students.

Clearly, there are some adjustment problems transitioning from the minority, but this sort of bush-league toadying up to the special interests while refusing to actually deal with the state’s real problems can go on only so long before voters get fed up.  After all it was another NC GOPer, Rep. John Blust, who cautioned his fellow Republicans after the November election not to read a huge mandate into their victories because voters were frustrated less with those in power than the sour economy.


  1. […] Fiddling while North Carolina BurnsThe Progressive PulseNew GOP NC House Speaker Thom Tillis may not actually be a Roman, but I had a couple of Nero moments over the last few days. First, Tillis headlined an … […]

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Adam Linker. Adam Linker said: Fiddling while North Carolina Burns http://t.co/Z1z0eeQ […]

  3. polifrog

    January 18, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Well Written but misguided.

    Concerning schools, sending a student to a private schools with a state voucher of $5000 when each child costs $10000 saves NC $5000 per student removed from public schools.

    That is a savings.

    Secondly, comparing the loss of gov. jobs in the UNC system to the loss of private jobs is an example of an argument based on false equivalence. Gov. jobs are dependent on private jobs for funding through taxation. Reducing the burden of taxation on the private sector through a reduction in non productive gov. jobs yields growth in productive private sector and private sector jobs. Thus strengthening the tax base.

    Lastly, protecting the civil rights of the unborn is important. Each of our rights extend only so far as they infringe on another’s rights. Abortion infringes on the rights of the unborn.


  4. JeffS

    January 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    It’s only a savings if you make the assumption that the students would be going to the public schools. What worries me about such payments are the political motives of those that are lobbying for them. Their long-term goals result in the privatization and segregation of schools.

    “Abortion infringes on the rights of the unborn.” – You’re right. It’s much better for you to infringe on the rights of their mothers and allow them to be born into a family that does not want them. It’s not like the planet is overpopulated or anything.

  5. Mike

    January 18, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    The author likes to complain but offers no solutions aside from raising taxes on upper income brackets. What will you do once you’ve taken all the money from those evil rich people?

    @JeffS – So abortion is about population control? I suppose you’d ignore the hole in your logic and simply take offense if I suggested you abort yourself.

  6. Adam Searing

    January 18, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Actually, keeping the current sales tax and current upper income bracket tax – not raising any taxes, just having people pay this year what they paid last year – would raise about $1.2 billion or so. There’s a specific policy solution that would allow us not to have to fire 1000 UNC teachers at the very least.

  7. polifrog

    January 18, 2011 at 4:57 pm


    You’re right. It’s much better for you to infringe on the rights of their mothers and allow them to be born into a family that does not want them. It’s not like the planet is overpopulated or anything.

    Just what right of the mother are you referring?

    I argue there is no such right. Just as I have no right to off another person because I do not wish to share this world with them, neither does a mother have the right to off their child for that or any reason..

    The fact that under current law mothers do have such a right speaks to our nations ability to rationalize rights into and out of existence.

    Historically we, as a nation, rationalized out of existence the rights of whole races despite Constitutional affirmations of individual liberty. Today we rationalize out of existence the rights of whole populations of the unborn despite the same Constitutional affirmations of liberty.

    And for what? A desire to be alone?

    Just because the victims cannot be seen or heard as one could witness the suffering of slaves does not make this round of rationalization any better. If fact it is far worse.

    Ask any victim of Auschwitz, if you could.

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