Right now, the General Assembly is in the midst of one of the most momentous — and potentially damaging — stretches in recent state history. An interminable and increasingly destructive budget impasse, the serious consideration of a radical series of constitutional amendments, a plan to sell off the state’s award-winning publicly-controlled system for delivering health insurance for people in need to Wall Street corporations and a proposal to expedite the privatization of public schools are all on the front burner on Jones Street. Add to this that the legislative session is about to go into double/triple overtime and one might reasonably conclude that now is THE time for the Governor to be exerting leadership and driving the agenda.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. Instead, here is what the Guv has apparently made his top priority, according to Raleigh’s News & Observer:
“Gov. Pat McCrory on Wednesday called on the state Senate to pass a historic tax credit plan that has languished in the legislature since March.
House Bill 152 would create a scaled-back version of the tax credit, which expired at the beginning of the year as part of a Republican-led tax reform effort. The new credits would pay property owners less than the original program, with an expected annual cost to the state of $8 million. The available credit would be larger in the state’s poorest counties.
The House passed the bill in a 98-15 vote on March 26, but the Senate referred it to the Ways and Means Committee, which never meets.
‘I’m getting impatient, that’s why I took off my tie,’ McCrory told a group of about 100 tax credit supporters. ‘We shouldn’t even have a fight about it. … We need action today. Go to the legislature!’
McCrory’s cultural resources secretary, Susan Kluttz, said she’s made 73 trips to 52 towns across the state to solicit support for the tax credits.”
You got that? At a time of great upheaval in which fundamental decisions are being made about the future of North Carolina, the Governor is spending vast amounts of his time campaigning for what is, at best, a tiny side issue. This isn’t to say that restoring the historic tax credits wouldn’t be a nice thing to do, but good grief! Seventy-three trips for a tax credit that amounts to spare change in a $21 billion budget?
C’mon Governor. We know General Assembly leaders frequently opine that you are all but irrelevant, but you could at least try to insert yourself into the debates that really matter. The historic tax credit campaign at a time like this is simply embarrassing.