Not too many years ago Republicans railed against provisions in the state budget put together by the Democratic majority that benefited specific parts of state, calling them pork barrel spending. They charged it was a waste of taxpayer money and an abuse of power by legislative leaders.
But it turns out pork barrel spending is fine and not an inappropriate use of taxpayer money when Republicans do it.
The long list of discretionary spending ranges from state funding for a baseball tournament in Shelby in Cleveland County that House Speaker Tim Moore represents to museum funding in Onslow County, the home of Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown.
The testy responses to questions about the hypocrisy were the most telling. House budget chair Nelson Dollar defended giving certain towns state money for downtown revitalization without any process by saying it takes too long to have criteria.
Dollar said House leaders decided not to allocate the downtown money through a competitive grant process.
“The advantage is that the money will get to those communities much faster,” he said. “Sometimes the grant process takes a considerable amount of time.”
In other words, legislators will decide who gets the money. It’s probably just a coincidence that only one of the 13 towns receiving the funding is represented by a Democrat.
Meanwhile the spokesperson for Speaker Moore has had it with questions about the baseball tournament and other pork barrel projects in the Speaker’s district.
Moore declined an interview request for this story. “I’m not sure what is new on this topic,” spokeswoman Mollie Young said, referring to an earlier News & Observer story about Moore’s earmarks in the original House budget. “The speaker will not be commenting on this again.”