Editorial: Run government like business, don't run it into the ground
Posted March 28
A CBC Editorial: Tuesday, March 28, 2017; Editorial # 8140
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company
Amid the happy talk from the North Carolina General Assembly’s leaders over their competing tax cut plans is a refusal to acknowledge a basic truth -- for folks who preach that government needs to operate like a business, their proposals are NO WAY to run a business – unless the objective is to run it into the ground.
North Carolina lawmakers should not cut taxes any more before they assess and satisfy all the real needs of the state. More basically, legislators need to aim before they shoot.
North Carolina teachers are among the worst paid in the nation. Our school principals are THE WORST paid in the nation. Sixty-six North Carolina counties have unemployment rates above the state average – which is HIGHER than the national average. And, according to economist John Quinterno, since the end of the recession “the (state) labor market remains far from healthy.”
The latest proposals would slash income taxes for corporations and wealthy individuals while providing relatively little relief to working class North Carolinians. And, what isn’t being said but is widely understood, is that there will be even more increases in consumer and property taxes – the shift-shaft -- to pay for government.
Additionally, the Senate’s plan to further cut the State Constitutional cap on income taxes, is a dumb and dangerous idea. What business is it of current lawmakers to limit the flexibility of future legislators in meeting citizens’ needs? We hope and urge the state House of Representatives, as it has done in the past, to let this ill-conceived notion die in committee.
Income tax cuts don’t generate economic activity. They never have and never will. Increasing wages, putting more money in the hands of ALL consumers, is what drives the economy. Don’t believe us? Just ask anyone who sells automobiles, washing machines or clothing. Talk to those who run and work at restaurants and movie theaters. Tax cuts don’t matter much to them – it is paying customers with money to spend that determine whether their doors stay open.
Even more shameful in this debate is that the N.C. Chamber of Commerce appears to have sold its soul for additional tax cuts. It’s particularly unfortunate since the state Chamber used to be a leading and reasonable voice for educational excellence, superior workforce skills and training, a well maintained and expanding infrastructure and responsible stewardship of the environment.
If the leaders of the General Assembly truly want to operate state government like a successful business, they should first assess the needs of the operation:
- Providing necessary resources for top-ranked public schools and universities.
- Expanding access to health insurance so all who now cannot afford it are appropriately covered.
- Assuring effective and responsive state government programs and services.
- Building and maintaining a strong infrastructure.
- Offering a smart, well-trained workforce that is prepared to help businesses succeed.
- -- Enacting laws and policies that put money in consumers', not corporations', pockets.
Further tax cuts should not even be considered before lawmakers determine what North Carolina needs to provide a top quality of life for all its citizens.
That’s how successful businesses would operate.
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NOTE: An earlier version of this editorial included an inaccurate description of tax credits and tax deductions. That paragraph has been deleted.