There were a lot of things that the Democrats did wrong while they were running the North Carolina General Assembly back in the day– especially in the state Senate — and many of them were highlighted at the time on this website. That said, the “process” now in use on Jones Street has degenerated since then to the point at which it truly makes a mockery of democratic governance.
Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the the development of the single most important bill that the General Assembly passes each year — the state budget. Here’s how this absurd process has worked in 2015:
Two months ago, the Governor proposed a budget. After that, the various Appropriations subcommittees held a few meetings to review what the Governor had proposed.
That’s it. There’s been no public discussion or hearings on developing or exploring alternatives. There’s been no public debate or amendments and certainly no public give and take.
Now, this morning, almost four months into the 2015 legislative session and just 45 days before the end of the fiscal year, the House released a new version of the budget (really just parts of the budget — we still don’t know about taxes and employee raises) broken into a handful of separate proposals. Naturally, there’s been no time for legislators, the news media or the public to digest the contents. The proposals were all brought before hastily called and simultaneous subcommittee meetings this morning — which effectively prohibited any one individual from reviewing any more than one or two small corners of the proposal.