Prepared Republican response to State of the State Address
Posted February 14, 2011 7:55 p.m. EST
Updated February 14, 2011 9:30 p.m. EST
Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham) delivered the Republican response to Gov. Beverly Perdue’s State of the State address on Monday night. Below are Sen. Berger’s remarks as prepared:
“Good evening. We want to thank Governor Perdue for sharing her vision on the State of the State.
“There are new majorities and 43 new lawmakers in this General Assembly. We all look forward to partnering with the governor in the coming weeks.
“The state of our economy is grim. And North Carolina faces serious challenges.
“These demand our undivided attention – and Senate and House Republicans already have taken steps to get our state back on track.
“But instead of maintaining the status quo, and continuing the failed policies that got us in this mess, we’re working to usher in a new era of government responsibility and accountability.
“For far too long, decision-making in these halls has been driven by the belief that government has all the answers. Over the past decade, Democratic officials insisted government incentives and programs create jobs better than the private sector. They said government knows what’s best for our kids, government should provide your health care, and government can fix almost any problem.
“And though the policies championed by the governor and Democratic lawmakers may sound appealing, they have proven ineffective, irresponsible, and costly. The result – North Carolina has the highest taxes in the southeast, nearly 10 percent unemployment, and a record-high, multi-billion dollar deficit.
“Republicans have a better plan. While Democrats think government is the answer, we think it’s largely the problem.
“We heard the voters last November. Government must get out of the way if the private sector is to prosper. And government simply can’t continue spending beyond its means and expect a different result.
“Instead, House and Senate Republicans are passing legislation that empowers citizens to make their own decisions about health care, create their own wealth, control their own education, and pave their own way to a brighter future.
“To help foster an environment favorable to job-creation, we have taken steps to scrutinize outdated rules and regulations that unelected bureaucrats impose on our businesses. Those businesses need and deserve the freedom to innovate, and profit.
“To attract the best and brightest doctors and give citizens the ability to access quality health care, we have started crafting common-sense medical malpractice reform.
“To help you protect your property rights, we will pass a moratorium on forced annexations.
“To give parents more of a choice in their children’s public education, we will pass a bill to eliminate an arbitrary cap on public charter schools.
“Governor Perdue promised the tax hikes passed two years ago would be temporary. We will keep her promise, because the best economic stimulus we can provide is letting people and businesses keep more of their own money. Reducing these taxes will help us compete with surrounding states for much-needed new jobs.
“Finally, we have begun tackling next year’s budget gap by targeting hundreds of millions of dollars in savings -- now. And we have given the governor the power she requested to make additional cuts that will carry over into next year. These savings help ease the pain ahead, while protecting the jobs of school teachers and state employees.
“We are making all of these efforts, because we understand what government should do – provide the basics, like roads, schools, and public safety. And we understand what government should not do – tread on your personal freedoms.
“Government should help foster a business climate that helps the private sector create jobs. But government cannot create jobs in the private sector.
“And though government should applaud innovation and prosperity, it can’t force it.
“Our plan right-sizes state government – it reduces its size and scope.
“To this end, we welcome the ideas of the governor, our colleagues across the aisle, and citizens. We want constructive suggestions on how to make government more responsible, and less intrusive. Leadership means providing real solutions, not just sitting back and saying ‘no’.
“Together, we can make government smaller, smarter and more efficient. We can pass policies consistent with the limited-government views held our country’s founders, and still held by you.
“We must restore North Carolina to its rightful place as the South’s leader in job creation, education, and quality of life.
“Thank you. God bless. Good night.”