If you had any doubts about the kind of long-term damage to state government that would be wrought by the ALEC-inspired “Taxpayer Bill of Rights” constitutional amendment (aka “TABOR”) recently endorsed by the North Carolina Senate, take a look at yesterday’s new budget agreement between legislative leaders and the Governor.
As Colin Campbell of Raleigh’s News & Observer reported this morning, the new agreement would provide for growth in state spending of about 3.1% over last year — 0.4% more than the 2.7% that the story reports would have been possible (i.e. the rate of inflation plus population growth) were a TABOR amendment in place.
But here’s the rub: Even with a hike that’s above the TABOR threshold, the new budget will not be able to deliver even the modest and still inadequate pay increases and service improvements that were contained in the House’s version of the budget. This is from Campbell’s article
“While the House called for all state workers to get a 2 percent raise, House senior budget writer Nelson Dollar said that’s now unlikely with less money to spend.
‘It’s $420 million less, so obviously what the House was looking at in terms of raises and in terms of investing in education will not happen,’ said Dollar, a Cary Republican.”
A TABOR constrained budget would, obviously, be even more inadequate.
The obvious and incredibly sobering bottom line therefore: If North Carolina puts TABOR into the constitution,we are all but guaranteed that teachers and other state employees will never get another decent raise again unless the state literally does away with some major function of government to free up the necessary funds.
No wonder Colorado legalized pot. People need something to ease the pain of being the only Americans forced to live under such a disastrous amendment.