Commentary

Editorial: A “train wreck” of a state budget

The lead editorial in the Fayetteville Observer tells it like it is this morning about the budget agreement produced by Republican leaders at the General Assembly. The editorial is entitled “A state budget that will become a train wreck.” Here are some excerpts:

“Gov. Roy Cooper says the budget just unveiled in the General Assembly is ‘the most fiscally irresponsible budget I’ve ever seen.’

There he goes again, understated to a fault.

It’s all that Cooper said it is, and much worse. It’s either stupid or irrational — or both. Why in the world would the General Assembly feel driven to cut the corporate tax rate by half a percentage point when ours is already the lowest rate in the country — by two points or more? What business could our legislative leaders believe they will attract here when we already outdo every other state in that category? And why would our lawmakers make that move when their own economic analysts have warned them that we risk running into a deficit in a few years?

The only reason to further cut that tax is to serve loud notice that they are deep in the pockets of corporate interests who are far more important to their legislative agenda than the health and welfare of the residents and taxpayers of North Carolina….

This doesn’t begin to address the state’s needs for infrastructure expansion. When’s the last time we heard a state politician talk about the growing need to expand and replace most of Interstate 95 in North Carolina? And what about broadband expansion, which most of our lawmakers have agreed is the vehicle needed for economic growth in the state’s rural areas? This budget invests nothing in it.”

The editorial gives lawmakers a couple of points for its attempt ot provide some raises to state employees and expanding efforts to combat opioid addictions, it closes this way:

“If we had a choice, we’d send this budget back to the General Assembly and tell the lawmakers to try again. That’s clearly what the governor wants to do. But in most matters, the legislature holds a veto-proof majority. Unless a lot of Republicans desert their leadership, this dangerous budget is likely to become law.

And we’ll all sit and wait to be part of the coming train wreck.”

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