#ncga: Limited government and the GOP formally separate

We’ve heard some tough talk.  Everyone is beating their chest getting ready for the upcoming elections. But the chest-beaters are apparently ready to send to the governor a budget that increases taxes, increases spending, and grows government.   momoney

A group of House conservatives — many of whom we’ve had great respect for — sent a tough letter claiming to be steadfastly opposed to a big-government budget deal. But they appear to have sent out a release pledging their support for a budget that includes three times as many film incentives and a whole lot of corporate welfare.  You know, the stuff they SAID there was no way in hell they would vote for. 

One legislator even released an outline of, um, “highlights’:

Spending of $21.735 billion in 2015 – 2016 and $21.921 in 2016 – 2017

Mo’ Money.  Mo’ Money.  Mo’  (other people’s) money.  MORE: 

– – Salary and Benefits:

o Starting teachers (years 0 – 4) will receive an increase from $33,000 a year to $35,000 a year.

o All teachers and state employees will receive a $750 bonus by the end of fiscal year 2015.

o Highway Patrol sworn members will receive a 3% increase.

 Education:

Teacher Assistants in the lower grades are fully funded.MOOREHOUSE04-NE-080515-TEL

o Driver Education is fully funded.

o Increased funding for textbooks and digital learning resources.

o Increase in Opportunity Scholarships.

o $7.5 million to Community Colleges for career course equipment.

*How on earth did ANYONE learn to drive before the schools began offering free driver’s ed?*

 Seriously.  I had to practically teach myself.  This girl and I were taken out each day by our semi-retired baseball coach.  He would fall asleep halfway into the drive, and we were left to fend for ourselves. 

Transportation:

o Eliminated the transfer from the Highway Fund to the General Fund, over $200 million.
o $440 million in additional road funding.
o $70 million for port modernization

o Increased funding for resurfacing, bridge renovation, and pavement preservation.
o Increased funding for capital construction projects in the Highway Trust fundPhil-Berger-Tim-Moore-YouTube

Health and Human Services:

o Increased funding for mental health services

o No changes to the Certificate of Need laws.

CON laws are monopoly protections for hospitals. They kill competition and keep medical costs jacked up high.  The hospital lobbyists got the job done here.  The patients lost. 

Agriculture and Natural Resources:

o Support for dredging of coastal inlets.

o Additional funding to support the Oyster industry.

o $3 million for Tourism Funding.

o $500 thousand for Shale Gas Exploration.

o $1.3 million in administrative cuts to DENR.

Solar energy credits are bad, but throwing money at fracking is GOOD? And do we really need to have the state spending money on “support(ing)” the oyster industry?  Kudos for cutting DENR — even if that is a drop in a rusty bucket. 

 Justice and Public Safety:

o Grants for body-worn cameras for law enforcement.mo

o Completes funding for in-car cameras for Highway Patrol vehicles.

o Additional funds for court modernization.

This is for buying Democrat votes. It’s a shame you have to do that in a Republican super-majority. MORE: 

General Government:

o New Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs.

o New Dept. of Information Technology.

Why are either of these necessary?  Military and veterans affairs are clearly in the federal domain.  Why do we need a new Department of Information Technology when we already have an Office of Information Technology Services (ITS)? 

o Tax Package: Cut personal income tax rate 0.26% to %.499%.

o Unlimited Deduction for both Medical and Charitable deductions.big spender

o Keeps Corporate Income Tax rate trigger that should drop the 2016 rate to 3%.

Other Highlights:

$30 million for film grants.

 $8 million in 2016 – 2017 for Historic Tax Credit.

Funding for OneNC fund, Rural Economic Development Grants, and JMAC fund.

Kudos
on the tax changes.  But it is AMAZING that film grants were stuck back in when there was such a huge public outcry at the end of last session.  (By the way, the biggest box office smash right now was filmed in North Carolina.  And I can’t find a mention of it anywhere on the NC Film Office web site.

The historic tax credit is a payoff to some high-dollar campaign contributors who also develop property.   OneNC is basically a corporate welfare slush fund for the governor.  Economic devencleglopers are told that the governor MUST be the one to announce any OneNC grants.  If word leaks out before his office announces, the money goes away.  Rural Economic Development and JMAC are also corporate welfare slush funds. Not too different from the scandalous details of the Rural Center. 

Overall, Mr. Berger and Mr. Apodaca appear to have had the upper hand here.  Speaker Moore had to save face by closing the deal himself — dismissing his top lieutenants who had been at the center of the standoff.  Restrictions on teacher assistant money — that systems MUST spend it on teacher assistants and NOTHING else — was also a Senate victory.  The House wanted no strings on the money. dolmore

So, what have we learned?  We’ve learned that the GOP enjoys spending other people’s money and wielding governmental influence as much as the Democrats do.  So, do we replace them with Democrats?  Not necessarily.  They make it clear that they need to be BABY-SAT by the voters.  They can’t be trusted to follow through with what they’ve told us.  They can’t be trusted to live up to silly party platforms.  It’s up to us to bird-dog them.

We obviously can’t elect them and just turn them loose on the treasury. North Carolina will become a mini-Greece.

 

13 thoughts on “#ncga: Limited government and the GOP formally separate

  1. But what about the Polar Bears? They lost big time when President Obama’s green energy credits were rejected. Senator Berger and his nasty conservative allies are mostly responsible. Tom Steyer, George Soros, and President Obama are going to be so disappointed in this result.

    We hard core environmentalists thought we had it made. Thanks to people like Tom Steyer and George Soros, our groups had the funds to put big bucks into the cause. Our hard core environmental group paid a lot to buy those two progressive Republican consultants Stewart and Shumaker, whom we thought had a lot of horsepower politically. I guess we might have been wrong about that. Maybe we should have figured it out when Stewart’s guy got whipped at the state Republican convention. The PAC of the green energy operators put out campaign money to buy key legislators in the House like Tim Moore, David Lewis, Nelson Dollar, Jason Saine, and others. That worked at first, but in the end they surrendered to Sen. Berger and his conservatives in the Senate.

    Our only victory was thwarting the repeal of the renewable energy mandate. That will stick it to the electric ratepayers, but they deserve it since too many of them complained about paying a lot more on their electric bills to save the polar bears. And Shumaker might still get his client Burr to vote with us in the US Senate, and the same with Stewart’s client McHenry.

  2. They’re making it very easy to know who “not” to vote for.

    I imagine the random Libertarian, write-in, and blank ballots will be a larger portion of my future voting practices, sadly.

    These Republicans…I think they’ve shown a considerable and consistent track record of not being a limited/smaller government principled crowd. I mean… I know I can remember having that very same opinion about them ever since they took power. *shrug*

    They’re basically social conservative big spending Democrats, excited to finally direct money to their own slate of special interests. It’s very disappointing that this is what we’re left with.

  3. So, in other words, you would probably have castigated the Allied Forces on D-Day because they didn’t make it all the way to Berlin that day. Or maybe I should abandon my Cowboys because they were only 12-4 last year and I wanted them to win the Superbowl. It’s tough enough having to fight this battle on the front lines, without being attacked by the rear guard. It should be pointed out that we got about two thirds of what we were after, plus tax reform beyond what either the House or Senate leadership proposed. Anybody who understands what happens here should recognize the progress we have made and realize we aren’t done yet. It would sure help if we could get more actual conservatives up here to join our efforts, and not more NCLM and chamber of commerce sellouts.

    1. ” It would sure help if we could get more actual conservatives up here to join our efforts, and not more NCLM and chamber of commerce sellouts.”

      Yeah. That’s why County Parties need to start turning the screws on their so-called representatives. Many county parties struggle to overcome apathy and get needed volunteers. The behavior of our elected officials is the reason why.

      As for the truly conservative members of the House GOP Caucus, may I suggest you follow Jim Jordan’s lead and create a formally organized Conservative House Caucus with equally strict membership requirements? Then add a web site for communications, so grass roots Republicans can tell the wheat from the chaff.

      1. You’re not talking about the same “we” to which I was referring. The “we” of whom I spoke are not yet in control, which is why it was so hard to accomplish as much as we did.

  4. “Limited Government” is a myth like BigFoot or sex after 60.

    The conservatives elected ‘supposed’ conservative GOP legislators who went up there to Raleigh and realized spending was more fun than saving. It happens a lot to lottery winners or people who have a rich uncle who passes on to Blue Heaven.

    All joking aside, it merely shows how good lobbyists truly are. They can turn the head of any legislator with their sweet siren song and lure these poor conservatives to ruin upon the rocks. Think about all those expensive clothes getting wet in the waters off the Isle of Lesbos.

  5. Military and veterans affairs are clearly in the federal domain.

    Tell that to the State agency conducting military drone tests at Blackwater and elsewhere.

    Why do we need a new Department of Information Technology when we already have an Office of Information Technology Services (ITS)?

    ITS is simply being renamed and elevated to cabinet level, although I notice that the new Department will still be headed up by the State Chief Information Officer. Earlier draft legislation elevated him to Secretary. (Maybe that will come later. Gotta do something to keep him from going back to Booz Allen Hamilton, the private-sector NSA.)

    And from what I can tell, the IT budget has gone up roughly $4 million, and includes a new line item: “Staffing and Strategic Projects”, with about $8 million to play with. (The SCIO’s plan last year to purchase and operate drones within the IT Office only cost around $1.5 million, but it was rejected. I wonder if that’s now considered a “Strategic Project” that can be launched by the Department of IT without specific authority from the NCGA?)

    Cut personal income tax rate

    But don’t forget the new sales taxes that were created, which as I understand it, are supposed to generate approx. $70 million in new revenue, all of which will be re-distributed to “poorer, rural counties”, at the expense of people and businesses in counties with relatively stronger economies.

  6. This sort of unrealistic criticism is precisely why true conservatives give up and go home. They get attacked from the “establishment” good ol boy Republicans like Tillis last year who refused to let their bills see the light of day if they didn’t play along, and now you cut them down for not getting all the poker chips in one round. I applaud the true conservatives for sticking it out and fighting for every centimeter they got, against their own party at that, this session. It is jerks like you that make them want to say what the hell am I trying so hard for anyway. GET REAL!

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