NC’s Grand Ol’ Party (of subsidized daycare)

As we’re seeing in DC, Republicans around here are tossing out that bothersome plank from the party platform about fiscal restraint / conservatism.

Government is not a for-profit business.  (Granted, we’ve learned that some pols and their minions seem to think it is.) You figure out what you need to pay for and then budget for that amount.

Lately, Raleigh has been discovering “surplus” revenue.  For those of you in the real world – they’re saying that tax time brought in more money than was actually needed to run state government.  In fact, it brought in billions more than was needed.

The governing class and their sycophants in the Raleigh drive-by media began fantasizing about what could be done with all that extra money.  In the real world, if you charge someone too much money for a good or service — you refund the excess amount.  That’s the ethical and lawful thing to do.

Ethics and legality and propriety often seem to go right out the window when talking about the crowd on Jones Street and their antics.

Senator Phil Berger teased us briefly about tax rebates.  But here came House Speaker Timmy Moore — prepping for his departure for DeficitSpendingLand™ in DC — and his cabal with a whole lot of proposed new spending.  Among other items, they’re looking at lots more money for so-called Opportunity Scholarships and for subsidies for daycare centers:

North Carolina House Republicans are pushing forward with their proposal for an updated state budget, releasing a spending plan Monday night that features new raises for state employees and teachers. The proposed spending plan would give state employees an additional 1% raise, raise the starting salary for teachers to $44,000, allocate more money to private school vouchers and give cost-of-living bonuses to state retirees.

Those raises are on top of pay increases approved in last year’s state budget, which gave 3% raises for this year to most state employees this year to follow last year’s 4% raises. The budget says the average raise for teachers, including what was already allocated in the 2023 budget as well as step increases for longevity, is 4.4%.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s new proposed state budget calls for an 8.5% raise in teacher pay this year, The News & Observer previously reported. The House proposal is unlikely to become law, as it comes in the midst of a standoff between Republican leaders in the House and Senate about how much of the state’s money should be spent. […]


Although most state employees and teachers are already set to receive raises this year, House Speaker Tim Moore said he wanted to see additional pay increases. “The House is really committed to making sure that we do something for our state employees and for our teachers. And we don’t have the Senate there,” Moore told reporters last week. “And we feel like it’s important, if nothing more than to go ahead and make a statement.”

Berger told reporters last week he opposed what he said were the House’s plans to dip into reserves to fund the budget adjustment on top of using the state’s $1 billion revenue surplus.

“The Senate is not going to go in that direction,” he said. “We’ve spent a decade and a half trying to make sure that we don’t fall into the same traps that the Democrats fell into — which is if you’ve got the money, spend it.”

The General Assembly already adopted a two-year budget in 2023, so lawmakers do not have to pass a new budget this year. However, the legislature typically passes a budget adjustment bill in even-numbered years and aims to do so by the end of the fiscal year on July 1.

Berger said the Senate is “perfectly at peace” with the existing budget and hopes to end the legislative session’s business by the end of the month.


The budget allocates $250 million toward expanding the Opportunity Scholarship program, which provides vouchers to be used to pay for private school regardless of the income level of the family requesting them. The plan would fully fund the waiting list of 55,000 students seeking a private school voucher.

State lawmakers eliminated income limits for the Opportunity Scholarship program, leading to a record total of nearly 72,000 new applicants this year. The state agency in charge of the voucher program only had enough money to fund the lowest-income applicants.

More than 70% of the families on the waiting list wouldn’t have been eligible under the old income limits. The Senate had passed legislation in May to provide $463.5 million over the next two years to clear the backlog. But the bill stalled in the House as the budget was being developed. […]

Christmas comes early. A private school education for EVERYBODY.

School choice was originally about having school funding follow kids to wherever they want to go.   A competitive free-market style scenario was supposed to emerge.  Public schools – like private businesses – were supposed to be forced into self-improvement like a struggling business would be in the face of a new competitor’s arrival in town.

But that is not what’s happening.  With this, the failing public schools’ funding is not threatened at all while a whole new appropriation is created.  The party of limited government is installing yet another government-funded entitlement we will struggle in perpetuity to maintain. 


[…] House leaders also propose spending $135 million on child care centers, given that federal COVID-19 pandemic relief grants are expiring.

“As we’ve worked diligently on the House budget, one thing has remained clear: we cannot leave Raleigh without addressing the childcare crisis,” Rep. Donny Lambeth, a House budget chairman, said in a statement on Monday. “The House budget continues 75% of current stabilization grants to keep childcare centers open and parents can remain in the workforce, while giving the state time to develop a more sustainable model for childcare costs.” […]

There is a demand for child care because the cost-of-living is ridiculously high and continuing to rise.  Why not work on bringing that cost down?  Better yet:  Why not return what we overpaid so each of our households can decide how to best spend our money?

Senator Berger’s daughter heads the state commission on evaluating state rules and regulations.  Government regulation plays a huge role in the rising cost of daycare and just about everything else. This budgetary move creates a brand new government entitlement we will be expected to fund in perpetuity.  It’s the kind of move that has got to bring smiles to the faces of House Democrat leaders and the governor.