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Gary is taking a break from blogging. In his absence, he asked Thomas Mills to fill in. Thomas blogs at where this article is cross-posted.

Republicans in Raleigh have a problem with their storyline. They keep insisting that North Carolina is on a “Carolina comeback” but nobody’s feeling the benefits–except the rich. They cite falling unemployment numbers but those are just statistics and don’t reflect the reality of people’s lives.
The GOP says that our unemployment rate is lower than it’s been since the recession began and that the state created more than 70,000 jobs over the past year. However, people still aren’t feeling much better. Income is flat and the workforce is still significantly below pre-recession levels despite an increase in population.
Instead, people are seeing the hit to services. In schools across the state, parents are being asked to give more to make up for the cuts that the General Assembly passed. And even as they give more money to their children’s classrooms, they are watching programs get cut. In Chapel Hill-Carrboro, entire programs for gifted children are on the chopping block.
Parents aren’t feeling better about their pockets books. They are feeling insecure about their children’s education. In essence, they General Assembly has passed along a hidden tax since families are subsidizing classrooms to a greater extent.
And contrary to their storyline, the North Carolina economy is not outperforming the nation as whole by any great extent. Our job growth is steady but mediocre at less than 2% and the drop in unemployment rate is due partially to people leaving the workforce.
We also hear about the wonders of tax reform and are told we have more money in our pockets, but most aren’t feeling it. If we are, in fact, paying less taxes, the amount is not noticeable and is certainly not enough set people off on spending sprees. Instead, we’re bracing for more cuts due to a revenue shortfall.
Pat McCrory and the GOP legislature told us they were going to fix government and get our financial house in order. North Carolina would be an economic powerhouse again and sunny skies were ahead. Instead, we have a $445 million hole in our budget, our best teachers are leaving the state and McCrory is talking about more cuts to university system. They can spout statistics ad nauseam but until people are feeling more confident about financial situations and public institutions, their claims will fall on deaf ears.


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3 comments on “What Comeback?

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow. That’s right out of the democratic talking points in our fair state Thomas. hahahahaha….good rhetoric and spin, weak in its presentation. It keeps the steadfast liberal/progressive democrats that read blogsites in the fold, but it is just more of the same…a lot of talk about nothing.

    People like you, Thomas Mills, are lauding the drop in the unemployment rates nationally and are saying it is because of Obama’s efforts when at the same time you say the drop in the unemployment rate in North Carolina is not realistic because people are dropping out of the employment-seeking system…exactly why the national drop is happening. We see this kind of two-faced presentation a lot from the left. It’s not something new.

    Mills, you say you know that NC citizens are paying less taxes but hey, it doesn’t mean anything…no story there. People are still hurting. You realize that if we cut taxes to ZERO, people would still be hurting because that’s the human condition for many. More money in your pocket due to less taxes means more cigarettes and more booze and more needless spending. All the reduced taxation in the world won’t stop people from spending foolishly and being poor and struggling in a lot of cases.

    You disagree that North Carolina is doing better than a great many states. Well, that’s your opinion and anyone can find a site or notable person with a “skewed” political agenda to support what you want to believe. It’s so easy. Google does the work for ya. I’m betting you, Mr. Mills, use it extensively.

    About teachers leaving the state and a hole in our budget. Well, um, teachers have been leaving the state for eons because of salary problems, benny problems WAY before McCrory ever got into office. Yes…I think we need to get our GOOD teachers better salaries. I’ll NEVER say differently. The budget hole is just a hole that HAS to be filled per statute. NC requires the state to run a balanced budget so even when our state runs in the hole, it must end up being solvent…having a balanced budget. You know there’s gonna be ups and downs at any given time with regard to finances and it’s been that way like FOREVER…but, at the end of the day, our constitution says everything has to be equal…no borrowing, no debt. So, this is just a ruse…a ludicrous thing to present and its only being said to make people believe something that is not of any consequence and you do it for political reasons.

    I put 4 children through public schools in NC (they’re now 46, 45, 41 and 40). I have 11 grands. I was actively involved in their education and I have spent a great deal helping the school system educate them and am still doing so today with my grandchildren so this bull about how because of McCrory parents are having to pay some extra for their children’s education is pure bunk. It’s been going on WAY before McCrory became governor or before the Republicans became the majority party in our state.

    I think I’ve said my piece on most of what you’ve said negatively about our governor and about your presentation. I’m not just some lone voice in how I feel on these things, Sir. Trust me….not even close.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I got the answer to the school system problem. Washington D.C. schools are currently spending $29,431.00 per pupil. For this great spending they have an 83% failure in the ability of 8th graders to read, and math incompetency is almost as high at 80%. If you go back in time, when DC was spending far less even adjusted for inflation, kids scored much better. Here in lies the answer, cut the amount of per pupil spending and lets get some better educated children. Here’s a novel idea for DC. cut the spending to $9,431.00 per pupil, put the other $20,000.00 each year in a savings account. When and if the child graduates, he or she would have $260,000.00 without interest and somewhere just short of one half million dollars to start life with including interest. Bet my plan works better than yours.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As far as a fix to N.C. government, you may be right, McCrory and the Republicans have had almost a year to fix the problem that 100 plus years of Democrat rule has put us in. Just how much time do they want. Hell it didn’t take God but 6 days to create earth. I think we should demand that the legislature and McCrory work on Saturdays, this could close a few decades of harm. I think we can solve this by just giving them the same amount of time we are giving Obama to streighten out the Bush problem. After all Bush only had 8 years to mess up things, the Democrats have had 100 plus.

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