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Set aside the predictable posturing and apocalyptic doom-saying from both sides. North Carolina’s budget debate is a debate we need.
Governor Perdue’s proposed budget is a classic North Carolina Democratic progressive budget. It’s a balance of program cuts, higher revenues and protection for education. It’s essentially the same approach that Democratic governors and legislators have taken for decades.
Through those same decades, Republicans have called for a far different course: much deeper cuts and no new taxes. They have maintained that billions of dollars can be cut without damaging “core services” – a still-undefined term.
This year, for the first time, Republicans have a chance to actually write a budget that puts their assertion into practice. North Carolinians will see just what that means, and they can compare the two approaches. We can judge reality instead of rhetoric.
No one who knows state government would claim there is no unnecessary spending. The question is whether there is $1 billion beyond what Perdue proposed.
Perdue is betting that voters will decide the Republicans are cutting too deeply. That’s a bet that has paid off before.
Republicans are betting that times have changed: that voters believe harsh times call for harsh measures.
Somebody’s right, somebody’s wrong and we’re finally going to settle this argument.


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4 comments on “A Healthy Debate

  1. Huh? says:

    The Republicans always over reach. My bet is that Perdue’s stock will go up as the citizens realize who the rational person in the room is, and it ain’t Tillis, Berger, Lewis, Stone or any of the rest of the state GOP.

  2. Carbine says:

    Well you’re dead-on right about one thing, Gary. Perdue’s budget is “the same approach Democratic governors and legislators have taken for decades.”

    And that is exactly why we are in the fix we are in, and why Republicans were elected so overwhelmingly last fall.

  3. dap916 says:

    I don’t know if the argument will be solved, to be honest. We have two completely different views of how our state should run its budget and provide services and I’m thinking any real meaningful cuts will survive when they hit the guv’s desk. We have a state constitutional requirement to run a balanced budget in NC. Something is most certainly going to have to be done to solve our deficit, however, and therein lies our biggest challenge.

    Republicans in Raleigh aren’t going to be able to just cut our way through this….I mean, I’d love to see that, of course. But, reality has to set in somewhere along the line. And, setting up the ways and means to solve our state’s horrendous problems with entitlement abuses will take more than a year or two. It’s been going on for…well, I guess ever since they started. I think the repubs will go slow and steady with cuts…feeling their way through at first to see what can be done and what can’t. It’s going to be a learning experience. And, you’re right, Gary….the voters probably won’t like some of the cuts and the dems will be sure to point out every one of them saying they’re “unfair” and make republicans out to be villians by taking food away from the “needy” and rhetoric of that sort. Like I said in a thread on TAP on this subject…our real problem in solving our dire circumstances in the states and in D.C. is more a problem within our political climate than it is something that could very well be solved if our two major political parties were to work TOGETHER…and end the “gotcha” moments and be truly bi-partisan so that one party doesn’t get more credit for improvements or one party doesn’t that more heat than the other for some of the cuts that are going to have to be done.

    If we could stop with the: “well, let’s see what the republicans can do”….or “just watch the democrats spend us into oblivion” rhetoric long enough to actually join forces in solving things, our state and country would be just soooo much better off. My guess? Ain’t gonna happen!

  4. Carbine says:

    Tillis and Berger are as rational as anyone in the General Assembly or the governor’s mansion, and whether they will be guilty of overreaching is yet to be seen. So far they’ve played it pretty straight, moving quickly on some campaign promises that the majority of North Carolinians support.

    They have some challenges ahead, however. They will have to manage the inflated expectations of their conservative base while dealing with the reality of a less-than-veto-proof margin in the House. And they have a lot of newbies on the team that are bound to make some publicly embarrassing mistakes, as we’ve seen. And the media will bend over backwards to paint them as radicals, as it always does to anyone who actually reflects majority opinion in this conservative state.

    I think Bev may have made a big mistake by using teachers jobs as her main issue. People are not so enamored of teachers nowadays as they were, and many in the mainstream have come to resent the perceived security of teaching positions while they themselves are taking home less pay and worried about getting laid off. The antics of those union goons in Wisconsin aren’t making teachers here look any better either.

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