Our Nobel Prize-winning, Pulitzer prize-contending local paper here in Moore County is at it again — parroting the leftist views of its owners and making their Democrat masters in Raleigh proud. Editorializing about Lame-Duck Bev’s demand for $$$ mo’ money $$$ for the public schools, the newsroom sees ONLY one solution:
In calling for pay raises for teachers next year, Gov. Bev Perdue is speaking more from her heart than her head.
Indeed, she may simply be grandstanding.
Raises for teachers can come from one of only two sources. The first is a tax increase, and it will be a cold day in Raleigh before the Republican-controlled General Assembly is likely to approve one of those. The second source is a sudden rebounding of the state’s economy sufficient to produce enough added revenue for the pay increases. That’s hardly more probable.
Both sides appear to be playing politics. A deceptive TV ad now running ad nauseum boasts that the legislators created a bunch of new teacher positions. They may have done so on paper, but they also turned around and slashed overall appropriations to local systems, which left them little choice but to cut instructional jobs themselves. Actual net result: fewer teachers.
The real way to increase instructional spending would be to restore the sales tax increase of three-quarters of a percentage point. Until the lawmakers do that (don’t hold your breath), the governor is whistling in the wind.
The folks in the newsroom either missed — or ignored altogether — some ” fine” reporting from Triangle Business Journal:
State Auditor Beth Wood says management lapses have caused the N.C. Department of Transportation to miss collecting up to $12 million in fines and penalties – funds that would have gone to help the state’s local school systems.
DOT collects penalties from drivers who allow their automobile insurance coverage to lapse and on overweight vehicles passing through roadside weigh stations. The collections are then remitted to the schools.
For fiscal 2010 and 2011 combined, DOT collected and submitted $47 million.
Even so, says Wood in a performance audit released Thursday, the agency missed out on collecting $7.3 million in lapsed coverage penalties because it didn’t have procedures in place to follow up with drivers who didn’t respond to violation notices.
DOT shares responsibility to collect overweight vehicle fines with the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety. Wood says a lack of follow up on pursuing past-due accounts has cost the state $4.8 million, with most of those uncollected penalties being at least a year old.
In a response included in the audit, DOT says that as of March it had updated its cash management practices to pursue unpaid overweight fines and plans to implement new lapsed coverage collection procedures by May 1.
We’ve got a record number of people out of work. Those who are working are really having to pinch pennies to make it through these tough economic times. A tax increase is THE LAST THING we need right now. This DOT case is likely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to state government’s collection of revenues.
Let’s see — who appoints the DOT secretary and oversees the department’s operations? Why, it’s Lame-Duck Bev. The Pilot editorial page seems to have a special affection for her. The paper’s owners have deep political ties to her and her allies in Raleigh.
If The Pilot thinks we need to cough up some more to state government, the folks in the newsroom need to put their money where their mouth is AND GO FIRST.
The Pilot’s owners got seriously overpaid by a gazillion dollars when they sold The N&O. If they are truly concerned about public education not having enough money — and they truly are the patriotic, loyal North Carolinians they claim to be — they need to cough up a sizable charitable contribution to DPI.
Don’t hide behind tax shelters, guys. Your editorial page says state government needs $$$ MO’ MONEY $$$. You guys take the lead and open up your wallets FIRST.