Editorial: McCrory, legislature leave NC more bitterly divided than they inherited 4 years ago
Posted December 19, 2016
A CBC Editorial: Monday, Dec.19, 2016; Editorial# 8098
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
Gov. Pat McCrory and his fellow Republicans in control of the General Assembly are finally finished. In far too many ways they leave our state worse than they found it.
The hastily drafted and enacted bills passed last week during the surprise special session will:
- Make our elections and campaigns more difficult to run and manage
- Weaken what little teeth there are in our state’s ethics laws
- Diminish management of our public schools at a time when strong leadership is more important than ever
- Change the authority and powers of the governor, leading to litigation and less accountability.
The state is being ridiculed across the nation for its autocratic rule and backward, discriminatory practices. “Brazen Power Grab,” declares the headline on the New York Times editorial page. “GOP coup in North Carolina” says The Washington Post. So much for improving North Carolina’s “brand.”
Sadly, the special session was apropos of the performance of our governor and legislature for the last four years.
Amid reports that the state’s unemployment rate increased for the fourth consecutive month, it is big businesses and the wealthy that garnered tax breaks while poor and working class North Carolinians have been forced to make up the difference with more sales taxes and repeal of the earned income tax credit.
Hundreds of thousands of low-income North Carolinians are denied health care because McCrory and the legislature, out of petty partisanship, won’t participate in a federally funded program to expand Medicaid.
Teacher and school principal pay continues to rank near the bottom nationally.
Last week should have been McCrory’s opportunity to conclude his lackluster four years on something of a high note – celebrating enactment of a special aid package for victims of Hurricane Matthew and the wildfires in the western part of the state.
McCrory had donned his sharply starched green state Department of Public Safety shirt just for the occasion. But, it turned out he was all dressed up with nowhere to go. The photo-op was a little-noticed, overshadowed footnote.
Fearful that a news conference to sing the praises of the newly-passed disaster relief would turn into a cross examination about the heavy-handed usurpation of gubernatorial power by the General Assembly’s GOP leadership, McCrory signed the bill and immediately dashed out of the event.
McCrory came into office riding a strong showing in the 2012 election and expectations of moderating the sharp partisan and ideological edge of the legislature’s leadership. He leaves with a lackluster image that failed to meet expectations and a state more bitterly and sharply divided.