Nesbitt: 'We're going backwards'

Posted February 8, 2011 5:20 p.m. EST
Updated February 9, 2011 9:36 a.m. EST

Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt, D-Buncombe, met with reporters today to talk about the session so far.

“Everything we’d heard leading up to this session was about jobs. We’ve been here three weeks” [two weeks, actually – LL] “and the best we can tell, we’re going backwards, not forwards.”

Nesbutt said he was expecting to have seen a major jobs bill from the Republican leadership. Instead, he said, what he’s seen are “high-profile” partisan measures. “They’re very politically charged, but none of ‘em have anything to do with jobs.”

GOP leaders argue measures like the anti-HCR mandate bill (H2) and the "Balanced Budget Act" (S13) are jobs bills, because they’ll cut the cost of doing business in the state. But Nesbitt thinks the legislature ought to push the Golden Leaf and other economic development funds to make more grants, not fewer. “If we don’t get job creation in this state and don’t get this economy fixed, we’re gonna be down here cutting budgets every year from now on. The only answer to all this is for this economy to bounce back.”

Nesbitt wouldn’t say too much about S22, the proposed Agency Rules ban working its way to the Senate floor. He said he hadn’t read it yet. But he said he’s not a big fan of the current system: “I don’t like delegating rule-making authority to the executive branch.”

“If they want to start passing all the rules over here, that’s fine with me. I would be for that.” He paused. “We’ll be here for about 12 months, because the rules are the details about how to implement the policies that we pass. But that’s fine with me.”

But Nesbitt also said the state had tried a moratorium on rule-making back in the 1990s, and it didn’t work out well for anyone involved. “If they have rules they think are hindering business, bring ‘em,” he said. “But to simply destroy the rule-making process so that we can’t have input and can’t have proper rules in this state…I don’t see how that benefits anyone.”