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@NCCapitol

Senate Dems warn of 'closed-door' budget

Posted March 22, 2011

Pot, meet kettle.

Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt and Senator Linda Garrou, D-Forsyth, used their weekly presser today to complain that Senate Republicans may be putting together a budget behind closed doors, leaving the public out of the debate on big policy matters.

Now, no one’s arguing that two wrongs make a right. But it’s fair to point out that when the Democrats ran the Senate, they often engaged in precisely the same practice.

In fact, just last year, a provision mysteriously materialized in the Senate budget that would have stripped State Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin of his ability to regulate insurance rates.

Nesbitt, who was majority leader then, had the provision removed after Goodwin called attention to it, but we had to go all the way to the top – to then-Pro Tem Marc Basnight – to find out where it came from. Here’s the story I did on it at Isaac Hunter's Tavern. 

At the time, then-Minority Leader Phil Berger complained that Democrats had been constructing budgets behind closed doors for years.

“They materialize full-blown on somebody’s desk one morning…It’s as if it was transported here from an episode of Star Trek, and nobody wants to claim responsibility for all or part of it,” Berger said.

Nesbitt says there’s a difference of degree between what the Democrats did, which he described as “just balancing the budget,” and the “major fundamental changes” he believes Republicans are making behind closed doors.

“Decisions are going to be made that are going to affect the future of this state,” Nesbitt warned. He says major policy changes and budget cuts should be weighed in committee, to make sure “the public can know that we’re thinking about it so the public can weigh in.”

Senate Pro Tem Phil Berger flatly denied this morning that decisions have been or are being made in private.

In my 2010 story, Berger said, “The secrecy that surrounds the budget-making process is something that needs to change.” The big question is whether holding the reins of power will make it more difficult for Berger and his fellow Republicans to follow through with that change. 

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  • Umustbejoking Mar 28, 2011

    Isn't this the same proposal made in S395 now??? Looks to me like some of the same special interests are at work now as there was then.....I know I don't want to pay the insurance for a 1 million dollar house on the beach through my insurance rates.....if you can afford to have the toy then you can afford to pay for it....the commissioner is doing his job just fine for me!!

  • josephlawrence43 Mar 22, 2011

    There are 3 pending bills in the NC House and Senate dealing with illegal aliens. House Bill 11; Senate Bill 205 and Senate Bill 206. Gotta wonder why WRAL and other news sources haven't reported on these??

  • josephlawrence43 Mar 22, 2011

    we can thank 100 years of Democratic controlled theft that NC is in the shape its in now...

  • lolly Mar 22, 2011

    “Decisions are going to be made that are going to affect the future of this state,” Nesbitt warned. He says major policy changes and budget cuts should be weighed in committee, to make sure “the public can know that we’re thinking about it so the public can weigh in.”

    That is about the funniest thing I have heard all day. The Dems were the party of backroom deals and secret meetings for 100 years in NC. ROFL

  • cwood3 Mar 22, 2011

    Crooks expect others to be crooks as well. Those that do not tell the truth suspect every one else of lying,too.

    Just because Democrats broke the rules does not mean Republicans will break the rules. If the Republicans do, we will scream at them just like we did when Democrats made the budget behind closed doors. Fair is fair.

    It seems to me for America and North Carolina to be really successful, spmeone needs to figure out how to break down some of these bi-partisan barriers. I am as conservative as one can be-yet I want what is good for North Carolina and America. I do not care if a Republican or a Democrat come up with the idea.
    If it's good for us, we need to hear it!

    I become more distrustful of all of them as time goes on. They have to earn my trust.