Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Running our state into the ground

Posted April 21

A CBC Editorial: Friday, April 21, 2017; Editorial # 8151
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company

Cut taxes. Sounds good, doesn't it. There are, however, two key questions to ask before slashing away. First: What revenue is needed to adequately fund the state’s operations? Next: Who will get the tax cuts? To put another way: Will the tax cuts spur economic growth?

In both cases the North Carolina General Assembly misses the mark, badly.

First, the need for MORE investment in public institutions is obvious. We are not talking about "throwing money at the problem." We are talking about a considered plan that gets North Carolina merely to the national average. This is no boondoggle. It is good business.

  • North Carolina school principals are the worst paid in the nation and public school teachers are paid only slightly better. Once we were approaching or at the national average. (Far from being supportive, the state Senate is antagonistic toward public schools and that makes even normal operations difficult.)
  • Our university system continues to be forced to deal with budget cuts as top-notch faculty leave for better pay and less antagonism. Once the University of North Carolina was the premier public higher education system in the nation.
  • Thousands of at-risk youngsters remain on waiting lists for pre-K programs.
  • The supply of quality teachers is drying up, led by the legislature’s abolition of the Teaching Fellows program. That program should be fully restored.
  • The needs of our parks and other public facilities continues to grow amid more and more neglect.
  • Hundreds of thousands of needy North Carolinians are denied access to health care coverage.
  • Expanding the renewable and sustainable energy economy is being bitterly fought at the same time this sector's been one of the brightest spots for the state’s otherwise sluggish economic growth.

There is a belief system in our legislature that states: Government is the problem; Reduce taxes and regulation; Privatize everything; Create competition for public schools (“choice” and vouchers), Keep wages down and keep unions out -- then everything will work out just fine.

The anti-government mindset on Jones Street is so deep it is self-fulfilling. Those low expectations are usually met. Legislators don't care much about their responsibilities to operate our state. They are trying to reduce the effectiveness of the public sector. They are trying to run a business they despise into the ground.

Being a low-wage, low-skill, state and promoting that – is a recipe for mediocrity. That this approach is supported by the N.C. Chamber of Commerce is beyond belief. Its chief priorities are tax cuts for large corporations and high income individuals. Their recent refusal to support funding for school class size reduction mandates reinforces their record for not supporting the public school system.

And what of tax cuts?

The way to grow the economy is to get more money into the hands of consumers. Jobs are created when consumers are demanding more products. A car manufacturer does not make more cars when it gets a tax cut. It makes more cars when consumers can buy more cars.

North Carolina tax cuts have primarily benefited large corporations and high income people. There is little evidence t that this grows the economy. (We don't believe in trickle down any more than we believe in the Easter bunny.)

By resisting any increases in the minimum wage, our legislative leaders’ policies are keeping a lid on disposable income. They’ve expanded sales taxes to more items and services as they’ve eliminated popular programs like the back-to-school sales tax-free weekend and the sales tax holiday on Energy Star appliances. None of these actions increase consumer purchasing power.

Rather than continue with tax cut obsessions, legislative leaders need to focus first on what North Carolina needs to have – well paid teachers and school administrators; best-in-the-nation schools and universities; access for all to affordable health care and; a top quality of life. If there’s anything left over after that, only then should any adjustments in revenues be considered.

6 Comments

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  • Andy Holt Apr 23, 5:38 p.m.
    user avatar

    Under the watch of Bev Purdue & the less than Honorable Mike Sleasley, the state of N.C. was in desperate financial straits.... Pat McCrory turned it around, and built up a $urplu$.... we are fortunate to have a GOP lead legislature to keep Roy Cooper from squandering THAT away. A wise choice would have been to check those 1800 "late/questionable " votes from Durham Co. that absolutely swayed the election results.

  • William Sherman Apr 21, 8:26 a.m.
    user avatar

    The overall tone of this article is reminiscent of the old days when the mantra of "tax and spend" was king. Every item listed in the editorial will cost more money--lots of it..The liberal/leftist/socialist tenet is alive and well at WRAL.

  • Amy Whaley Apr 21, 8:08 a.m.
    user avatar

    Editorial: Running our state into the ground

    When I read this, I laughed at the irony for it is WRAL who continues to run our state into the ground.

  • Nick Holt Apr 21, 7:41 a.m.
    user avatar

    I have seen reports that NC has had one of the best economies over the past 3-4 years. Any coincidence that coincides with the corporate & individual tax rate cuts over the past few years? Response WRAL?
    A person can buy a car when they have more $$ in their pocket from these tax cuts not from tax increases. No jobs are created when we have to pay more taxes. Government isn't in the business of creating jobs.
    As far as wage increases, have you seen the stories from seattle & San Fran where they went to $15 minimum? Lots of jobs being lost. I think those people would really like to reconsider that move.

  • Sean Creasy Apr 21, 7:38 a.m.
    user avatar

    My how short the writer of this editorial's memory is.. Have you forgotten how Purdue and a Democratically run GA put the state in the position of almost losing our AAA credit rating and left us with almost a $200 MILLION deficit?? And now you want to accuse the Republicans of wrong doing when they have brought our economy back from the brink of disaster to the point that they can cut taxes? Sounds like someone is just looking for a reason to sling mud to me...

  • Matt Smithe Apr 21, 7:27 a.m.
    user avatar

    Just stop WRAL, your incessantly whiny opinion pice only show your bias and desperation.