In case you missed it yesterday, the latest Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com does a fine job of explaining what’s really been going on with North Carolina’s current budget impasse. As the editorial accurately observes, Republican leaders have been disingenuous with their recent efforts to blame Gov. Cooper for somehow placing several local funding initiatives at risk with his budget veto:
Touring the state, in statements for news reports as well as commentary and columns placed throughout the state, legislators are echoing the talking points coming out of Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore’s offices. They warn funding for $383.1 million in pet projects in home districts – known as pork barrel — are in jeopardy because of Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget veto. Only an override will assure the projects are funded.
These statements and commentaries fail to reveal that the same legislators had little or no interest in funding most of the projects – regardless of their worthiness – until they desperately needed a ploy to attack Gov. Roy Cooper.
It is their own work that leaves a clear trail of evidence. Nearly all of 531-suddenly-vital local projects were not a part of the 897-page budget the state House passed in early May. Nor were most of them in the 917-page budget bill the Senate passed about a month later. They mysteriously appeared in a 1,015-page bill manufactured by a behind-the-scenes conference committee.
There was no public discussion over selection of these projects and no evidence of local public meetings to determine best uses for the suddenly available funds for local projects and organizations.
The editorial goes on to explain the actual reasons Cooper vetoed the budget — its failure to meet a host of basic public needs and its prioritization of unnecessary tax cuts for corporations — and offers this on-the-mark conclusion:
It is past time for legislative leaders to end their public relations spinning, stalling and desperation to override Cooper’s budget veto.
The governor earlier this month made a sincere counter offer on the budget. It is Berger and the other legislative leaders who declare anything from Cooper as dead upon arrival, refuse to negotiate and spend their time churning out news releases.
Start open and sincere discussions with the governor about how best to expand Medicaid, take care of the other obligations that have too-long been neglected AND fund ALL the local projects that have been promised.
Amen to that. Click here to read the entire editorial.