Talk about cojones. chutzpah. BIG ONES. Last weekend, delegates to the NCGOP state convention spoke out loud and clear against HOT lanes, toll roads, and anything else of that kind. (Here’s some audio from the convention where Speaker Thom Tillis argued passionately in favor of pay-to-drive HOT lanes.)
This week, the NC House approved a $20.6 budget billion — with one Republican voting NO, and two Democrats voting YES. State Rep. Robert Brawley was the lone dissenter on the budget (which spends roughly $400 million more than Bev Perdue’s LAST budget).
Why did Brawley break with his GOP colleagues on this big vote? One of our sources emailed Brawley to find out. Here’s what Brawley had to say:
$1,404,739,602 next year for Toll roads
Wow. That’s 1/20th of the entire annual budget for state government, boys and girls. Here’s an email from one of the legislature’s policy analysts to Brawley:
From: Bryce Ball (Fiscal Research)
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 10:27 AM
To: Rep. Robert Brawley
Cc: Mark Trogdon (Fiscal Research, Director); Amna Cameron (Fiscal Research); Walker Reagan (Research, Director); Kory Goldsmith (Bill Drafting, Director)
Subject: RE: Budget Report
Budget Code 64208 represents the Turnpike Authority’s budget and the totals shown represent the Recommended Continuation Budget for the FY 2013-15 fiscal biennium. Pages K-11 and K-12 of the report (alternatively, pp. 137-139 of the .pdf version) illustrate the reduction in recurring receipts associated with two administrative positions that are being eliminated. For additional detail, attached are descriptions of the individual fund codes which comprise budget code 64208.
Please let us know if you need additional information.
Here’s some internal literature showing JUST WHAT budget code 64208 funds. Interesting. Speaker Thom has been telling us that no toll roads are coming. Well, why are these budget line items being funded, then?
Fear not. There is still time for the Senate to ride to the rescue and kill this whole toll roads idea. But what are we to do about all of these House Republicans who have thumbed their noses at the state party platform and the wishes of the party’s grassroots leaders?