Commentary

Editorial: GOP budget proposal is “monument to bad management”

This morning’s Capitol Broadcasting Company editorial on WRAL.com (“New NC budget – poor management, failed responsibilities, missed opportunities”) offers a scathing and sadly accurate takedown of the new state budget proposal sent by state lawmakers to Governor Cooper yesterday.

“Try all they want. Spin gullible reporters, political partisans and unsuspecting citizens all they can. Desperately try to portray a distorted picture of the slap-dash, ideologically slanted North Carolina budget as a masterpiece.

In the end, the budget the leaders of the General Assembly have dictated is a monument to bad management.

It falls damagingly short of serving even the most basic of the state’s priorities. It ill-serves our public education system, those most in need and sells short agencies and individuals seeking to make North Carolina a better place to live and prosper.”

The editorial also skewers one of the legislative leadership’s chief accomplices, the NC Chamber.

“Effective business leaders invest in their employees, provide a work environment that encourages success, set high standards, focus on the future and are positive about the companies they run.

In the General Assembly, the leadership denigrates the state’s employees, short changes the resources they need to do their jobs well, cuts the benefits of new employees (and makes working for the state even less attractive), and rarely misses opportunities to bad-mouth the government and taxpayers who finance their mismanagement.

This malfeasance is aided and abetted by an organization that should be leadership’s harshest foe – the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has sold its soul, and the state’s economic viability, in return for short-sighted cuts in corporate income and other business taxes, a third-world minimum wage and a neglected workforce.”

The editorial goes on to blast the pork barrel spending that legislative leaders dumped on select Democrats to secure their votes for the plan and heaps special derision on the new expansion of the state’s unaccountable school voucher scheme. Here’s the excellent conclusion:

“Gov. Roy Cooper has stopped short of promising to veto this disastrous budget. Frankly it would be mere symbolism. Even without the microscopic “bipartisan” backing the budget has received, the Republican majority alone has plenty of votes to override a veto.

But that shouldn’t be the end. We urge Cooper to hearken to the example Republican Gov. Jim Martin set 32 years ago. The then Democratic majority in the General Assembly (much akin to the way today’s GOP majority behaves) would send millions in pork barrel funding to private agencies and programs without any accountability. Martin ordered his budget office to review each item to be sure the spending met all state constitutional and legal public purpose requirements, the agencies accounted for how the state funds were spent and that the agencies were established businesses.

Cooper’s budget office should examine the business operation and education credentials of each and every school receiving vouchers to be sure they meet the appropriate legal standards BEFORE they receive funding. We have little doubt, unfortunately, the result will be the exposure of waste, fraud and abuse – and a trail of responsibility that leads to the top leaders of the General Assembly.”

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