Editorial: Surplus rebate? We want choice

Posted August 23, 2019 5:00 a.m. EDT

CBC Editorial: Friday, Aug. 23, 2019; Editorial #8456
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company.

When it comes to North Carolina’s budget surplus, here are some numbers the legislature’s leadership doesn’t want you to understand:

  • $17,680 a day – That’s the per diem ($104 to every member of the General Assembly) we spend while Senate leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Tim Moore procrastinate to block a vote sustaining Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of the state budget.
  • 34 cents a day – That’s what each taxpayer gets (if extended over a year) under the $640 million scheme Berger and Moore announced to send 5.1 million taxpayers checks for $125.
  • $5.6 million -- That’s the ADDED COST Berger and Moore didn’t mention to do all this. It takes $2.8 million to process the checks and another $2.8 million for first-class postage.

We all know there are far better ways to spend this money.

We elect our legislators to be careful stewards of the state. That means making sure our tax dollars are spent to make our state healthy, educated and prosperous.

These leaders have confessed, to The New York Times, that “we simply don’t have the money” to meet many of those obligations.

The same leaders who admit we are not adequately funding our public schools or Pre-K; aren’t providing health care to all those whom we should; and neglecting upkeep of public facilities – buildings, schoolhouses, roads and bridges.

Now it’s time to tell our legislators what IS the best use for this surplus. There are better and higher uses for that money.

Act now. Below is a copy-and-past or clip out ballot. Fill it out with what you want the $900 million surplus spent on. Send it to Gov. Roy Cooper (only because if you send it to a legislator it won’t be a public record and no one will ever know what you asked for).  Here’s some guidance as to what that money might do:

  • Eliminate the waiting list and make Pre-K education available to all eligible
  • Expand Medicaid to the more than 500,000 working North Carolinians who are now denied coverage.
  • Meet the State Constitution’s right to “quality” public schools.
  • Improve conditions in our state’s prisons so they are safe places for those who work there and secure for the public.
  • Provide financing to make sure the public schools our children attend are places where they can learn and their teachers have the resources to be effective educators.

Phil Berger and Tim Moore may believe that living in a state where we just get by is fine. But North Carolinians don’t just want to go along.

Let legislators know you want to live in a state that aspires to excellence and works toward it. Share copies of this with your friends, and send it in – either via email or print and send by traditional mail.

Dear Gov. Cooper:
I want a state that excels. Please tell the General Assembly that the budget surplus needs to go toward making North Carolina great. Don’t send me a rebate. Invest it in meeting our needs and making our state a good place for everyone to live. I would like to see the rebate used to:
(Check all appropriate)
[ ] Expand Pre-K
[ ] Meet the mandate of our State Constitution to provide “quality” public schools to all children
[ ] Expand Medicaid
[ ] Provide funds for building improvements and expansion of public schools
[ ] Provide funds to improve state infrastructure (roads, buildings, parks bridges and utilities
[ ] Improve safety and other conditions in prisons
[ ] Improve and expand state parks, historic sites and museums
[ ] Purchase appropriate voting equipment to keep elections secure and fair
[ ] Make sure every school child has classroom supplies and materials to do the work required

To email, copy and paste the completed ballot on to the governor's office email form here or print it out and mail it to: INVEST TO MAKE N.C. GREAT; C/O Governor Roy Cooper; 20301 Mail Service Center, Raleigh N.C. 27699-0301

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