The GOP-run state Senate is running like a finely tuned machine. They are churning out conservative legislation left-and-right. The House? It’s a soap opera. It’s a mess. And by all accounts, it’s mostly the fault of the three-man junta (Lewis-Dollar-Moore) at the top of the heap in the lower chamber.
We’ve been reporting for a while about the frustrations in and around Jones Street with Rep. Nelson Dollar. He checks with his favorite lobbyists to get an OK for every single move he makes (bathroom breaks, dinner out, etc.). Sources in the House GOP caucus tell us he’s run interference between them and the Senate — pissing off senators and providing, um, *less-than-accurate* information to his House colleagues. You would think the speaker would set someone like this aside and appoint someone else to work with the Senate. But, no, Tim Moore allows him to keep doing what he’s doing. We are told, unequivocally, that Dollar is THE problem in getting a budget deal done and adjourning the session. (Our comrades at The Carolina Plotthound have introduced a Dollar Delay Clock — like the national debt clock — to illustrate how long one man has been tying up the process in Raleigh.)
We’d have some sympathy for him if he was trying to cut things and make government leaner. But the guy wants to spend more. He wants to reward his lobbyist pals.
The Senate, from what I understand, is ready to throw up its collective hands and just go home. They, like many of us, can’t understand why Tim Moore can’t reign in his little buddy Nelson. Senator Jerry Tillman had some commentary on the situation in his weekly newsletter:
[…] It seems to me there is a big disconnect in the House when it comes to major
decisions – the budget being prime example. Our number one objective this session is
to pass a budget. It’s way past time for delivering on this task. No one I know can
tell you when this will happen.
I can tell you why this hasn’t happened. The NC House is divided on this issue. When
the leadership in the House wants one thing and the caucus wants another – how do
you get a deal done? The longer we go without a budget the harder it is to fix the
The House wants to spend too much money. We want to cut taxes, reduce spending and
run government more efficiently.
Hopefully one day we’ll come to an agreement and go home. The senate is ready. We’ll
Disconnect? He’s clearly talking about Dollar-Lewis-Moore vs EVERYBODY ELSE. Moore has been eerily silent about Jason Saine’s $19,000 campaign expenditures on clothes. (Former speaker Joe Hackney was quick to criticize the excesses of one of his legislators who did something similar, and basically showed the guy to the door.)
Moore has also shown poor judgement in some of his personal decisions. Prior to becoming speaker, Moore took state money for the renovation of his law office. He’s also taken on some sweetheart taxpayer-funded gigs for Cleveland County AND the Cleveland County Water District. How you handle those two jobs, plus his law firm, plus the speaker’s job, we’ll never know.
By all accounts, Moore is providing little, if any, leadership on striking a budget deal. He’s standing by his buddy Nelson “I can wait ’til Valentine’s Day” Dollar.” In the meantime, Republicans get savaged in the drive-by media, and the morale of the troops takes a nose-dive. Either knock it out or GET OUT. Do Something !!!
The budget proposal Moore and his team put forward was higher-dollar than the Senate’s and even more than our less-than-conservative governor was asking for.
Inside the caucus, there have been questions about the handling of campaign money. Instead of getting to the bottom of things, Moore shut things down and ran interference when the questions started hitting too close to his buddy Dollar.
In regard to the budget, most House members were unaware of how the $21.735 BILLION figure was arrived at. House chairmen have been receiving little to no guidance on the areas that can be cut to get to that number that has been plastered all over the media.
If the budget talks on Jones Street were like baseball, it would be like The Wilmington Blue Rocks going head-to-head with The San Francisco Giants. A huge talent disparity. Amateur hour vs. World Series contenders. If the GOP wants to keep control of the House, they really need to find a few grownups to get control of the place.