@NCCapitol

NAACP leader, House speaker exchange jabs

Posted May 25, 2011

— The president of North Carolina's NAACP said Wednesday his group will continue vigorous protests against a Republican-backed budget bill, doing whatever it takes to turn the public's attention to polices he said represent a "moral crisis" for the state.

The Rev. William Barber's comments came a day after he and six others were arrested following a vocal protest in the House gallery.

"The House budget was shamefully passed with debilitating cuts to education, health care and other vital resources," Barber said Wednesday morning after being released from jail. "We must challenge what is going on."

Some activists are unhappy with a number of legislative actions passed by the GOP majority this year, but the passage of a House budget bill most provoked their ire. The NAACP and affiliated groups charge that cuts in the proposed spending plan will disproportionately hurt poor and middle class North Carolinians.

On Wednesday, Barber chastised legislators, especially House Speaker Thom Tillis, for cutting programs for poor residents while failing to close tax loopholes for corporations and the rich, another option for helping to balance the spending plan.

"The constitution of this state says that the only purpose of political power is for the common good and not just to cater to a few, the wealthy. The General Assembly leadership is being disrespectful to our constitution," Barber said.

"Come on, Mr. Tillis. Come on, extreme right. Come on, tea party. Embrace the future," he continued. "Let's lift our state rather than trying to tear it down. We can do better than this."

Meanwhile, Tillis said he wants Barber to apologize for disrupting lawmakers.

"I do think that Rev. Barber owes this House an apology for his disrespectful and disruptive behavior," Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said during a news conference Wednesday.

Tillis said he would be willing to meet with members of the NAACP, but not Barber or the six arrested with him. "It would be inappropriate of me to meet with somebody that's the subject of a police investigation, I would think," he said.

Tillis 042611 Tillis demands apology; NAACP chief says budget unjust

Barber and his colleagues face trespassing and disorderly conduct charges. Barber declined to respond directly to Tillis' request for an apology, calling it an attempt to divide the group of activists that has become more and more vocal as the legislative session wears on.

But Michelle Laws, of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP chapter, said Tillis is off base.

"How dare he ask for an apology," Laws said. "Speaking as someone who cares about the children of this state, I think he owes us an apology."

Barber said the NAACP and members of the Historic Thousands on Jones Street coalition are planning to organize across the state to fight what they call "extreme right-wing" politics in city, county and state governments. He said voter registration drives are also planned in hopes of changing the Legislature's makeup during the 2012 elections.

Members of the NAACP and other protesters have complained that legislators brushed off their concerns, ignoring phone calls and letters and refusing meetings with group members.

Tillis said he did agree to meet with Barber and his group in February, but NAACP representatives canceled.

While Tillis acknowledged that the Republican leadership is unlikely to see eye-to-eye with NAACP members, he said he is ready and willing to listen and make policy changes where warranted. He said House members are open to working with the Legislative Black Caucus and are helping to form a new American Indian Caucus in the General Assembly.

188 Comments

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  • crouch1010 May 27, 5:58 p.m.

    If the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 actually did much in job creation, there would not be much of a budget battle because there would be plenty of people working and plenty of revenue for the state to tax. Hmmmmmm. If supply side economics better than demand side economics, this debate of cuts would likely be much smaller? Hmmm. So where has all the tax savings money gone that was supposed to create jobs? Hmmmm.

  • crouch1010 May 27, 5:43 p.m.

    "On Wednesday, Barber chastised legislators, especially House Speaker Thom Tillis, for cutting programs for poor residents while failing to close tax loopholes for corporations and the rich, another option for helping to balance the spending plan."

    Anyone commenting on the above?? This is the first time the Republicans have been in power in the legislature in this state. Anyone remember this much flack previously on passing a budget. Oh well, looks like the first will be the last for the sake of the state.

  • Nancy May 27, 4:02 p.m.

    From the article: "Members of the NAACP and other protesters have complained that legislators brushed off their concerns, ignoring phone calls and letters and refusing meetings with group members.

    Tillis said he did agree to meet with Barber and his group in February, but NAACP representatives canceled."

    End of story - if the meeting was private, Barber is not interested, it has to be televised or covered by media or he just doesn't have anything to contribute. BECAUSE, it's all about face time.

    SOMEONE! ANYONE! Tell us what Barber has done that has made a difference to those he says he seeks to help?

    I know of nothing. Anyone??

  • kjackson47 May 26, 3:41 p.m.

    some people need a helping hand ( no problem with that)and some just want things giving to them so they can sit back watch tv all day and complain how the system isnt good enough

  • ttomalee May 26, 3:11 p.m.

    All this loudmouth is doing is keeping people from doing what they were "VOTED" in to do. I wonder if he has ever had a real job???

  • randall0123a May 26, 12:36 p.m.

    "Wow, the majority of these comments not only show shame on the WRAL viewing area, but validates his words, and shows that there is meaning to them, as well as the truth that Wake Co. has a racist division for their school system, as much as it citizens.”- gmuny33

    Racism is shamefully everywhere. I thought there was a time where we were making progress that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. Instead, it’s apparent that we are going backwards. Certain groups want special favors/considerations above others. America was founded as a melting pot, for us all to band together as a country. Many now want to separate themselves - rather than labeling themselves as American, they hyphenate and become *-Americans. My ancestry is Slovak, but I am not a Slovak-American. I learned English and became a contributing American citizen. If a person wants to stop racism then they should start by conforming to the American society rather than expecting it to conform to them, and stop segregating themselves.

  • GWALLY May 26, 12:23 p.m.

    ..."Come on, Mr. Tillis. Come on, extreme right. Come on, tea party. Embrace the future," Barber continued..."

    That is EXACTLY is happening....because of the TEA party the future is being examined in a different light....and it AIN'T a pretty sight....cutting these entitlement dwellers way of life that they have become accustomed to IS THE FUTURE....!!!!!!

  • randall0123a May 26, 12:08 p.m.

    "I graduated in the 80's from N.C. State, my parents weren't rich, but through some aid from them, some college loans, and the fact that I worked a couple of nights and every weekend at a part time job, I paid my way through college. No one gave me anything"-outdoor592000

    Perfectly stated! I went from HS in the 80's to serving in the military. I used the GI Bill in the 90's and once it ended I put myself through school by working at night. I lived poor, but got a degree and a good job. But then I was laid off in 2001. I drastically cut my expenses and worked a hard labor job for 3 years and put myself through night classes to learn a new career. I am now working a good job again. I have no tolerance for laziness or excuses! I’m also tired of giving my business to places where the employees forget to be GRATEFUL for their job and treat me(customer) like I have slapped them in the face for expecting service. If you don’t like your job or place in life, do something to better yoursel

  • chevybelair57sd May 26, 12:03 p.m.

    If the Rev supports the "poor folks" where does his money come from? this would give a lot of insight into his real motives for continually causing trouble while giving no aid to these "poor folks" Apparently there are a lot of gullible folks out there.

  • randall0123a May 26, 11:44 a.m.

    "Amen! It sickens me that the rich think they are better than everyone else and are entitled to pass judgement on the rest. If you ever get down on your luck and need help dont forget that you called us a bunch of freeloaders." - akatonitots

    There are always those that will be overly judgmental, biased, or just plain racist. The fact that angers people is that some people are too lazy to better themselves and would rather point their finger than work hard. For the people that just fell on hard times, it is expected to "react" and make appropriate changes as a responsible adult - spend less, re-educate, work harder, overcome! Asking for brief, temporary help is one thing, but we have to depend on ourselves, NOT government. Myself and others have worked our way out of hard times, so I take exception to those whining with their hand out - though I am not saying this is you, akatonitots.

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