During a conference call Monday, House Speaker Thom Tillis suggested the federal stimulus caused problems for North Carolina, including a $3 billion budget deficit.
This provoked a response from Democrats, including Gov. Bev Perdue:
“Speaker Tillis today said the federal recovery money over the past two years caused ‘problems.’ I do not believe it is a problem to create 25,000 jobs across the state, to put 202 police officers on the street – 50 of them in Charlotte, to provide loans and grants that enabled 5,500 North Carolinians to become home owners, to support students at 125 colleges, community colleges or vocational training centers through Pell grants, to put teachers in classrooms or to stabilize drinking water systems. And the next time Speaker Tillis flies out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport, he may be comforted to know that the baggage on his flight has been checked by a state of the art screening system paid for by the money that he believes has caused problems.”
Jamie Crain, Press Secretary for the NC Democratic Party, added:
“We were also surprised to learn that one of Governor Romney’s leading surrogates, Speaker Thom Tillis, believes that North Carolina should have refused the unprecedented tax cuts and investments made by the Recovery Act in our state. We wonder whether his constituents agree, given that the Recovery Act provided Pell Grants to 20,584 students at Mecklenburg County universities, allowed 150 Mecklenburg small businesses to create 1,786 jobs with Recovery Act-backed loans, and put 50 new Mecklenburg police officers on the beat."
And Justin Guillory, of Progress NC, piled on:
"Maybe 25,000 jobs is pocket change for Speaker Tillis, but it's a big deal for thousands of North Carolinians who would have been unemployed were it not for recovery dollars," said Gerrick Brenner, Executive Director of Progress North Carolina. "The economic recession crippled many North Carolina industries and put thousands out of work. Refusing stimulus funds would have thrown thousands more out of work and would have been grossly negligent and simply immoral."