It’s hard to see ANY heroes on the surface of the ongoing state budget fight in Raleigh. The whole package is one big orgy of cronyism and reckless spending. All three sides – House, Senate, Cooper – have sneaked around in the shadows putting the interests of their deep-pocketed donors way above OURS.
The alleged honorables have overstayed their welcome in our fair capital city by nearly three months. They came to town with ONE JOB – pass a budget. There’s been a lot of preening and politicking, but no serious leadership. We’ve got a whole lot of folks up there whose ONLY guiding principle is soothing the folks who slipped them those fat campaign checks.
We were told that things would be so wonderful and so smooth once we had a veto-proof majority. Yet, we have a Republican House that can’t agree with a Republican Senate. To make matters worse, we have a leftist governor who has gotten way more of what he wants than he should have.
As we predicted, our item about Uncle Phil – boss of bosses in the upper chamber – promising no budget at all without gambling included is coming true. None of us asked for gambling. But Phil’s fat-walleted cronies DID, and that is what matters most to him.
There are other horrible things in the budget as well — corporate welfare called InnovateNC or something, Medicaid expansion, and legalized marijuana. We didn’t ask for any of that EITHER.
The budget needs to include spending matters – NO policy bullcrap. Gambling, corporate welfare and weed are hidden in the budget as a strong-arm tactic. You want a budget? Vote for the budget AND this stuff. Berger and Moore KNOW that those items could not survive the legislative process without hard-nosed tactics like this.
Here is a drive-by media type trying to make sense of where it all stands right now:
The North Carolina General Assembly, which is completely controlled by Republicans in both chambers, is in the midst of a standoff between the House and Senate. Leaders of each chamber said they were ready to vote this week on a state budget — but not the version the other chamber wants. The budget spends about $30 billion of taxpayer money and includes months-late raises for teachers and state employees.
Senate leader Phil Berger said those budget votes could happen if the House will “honor their word.” He said House Republicans should keep an agreement already made on the budget that would include legalizing nontribal casinos. But House Speaker Tim Moore says there are not enough House Republican votes to pass the budget with casinos. The result: By Tuesday evening, it appeared there would be no resolution anytime soon. Reporters ping-ponged between the House and Senate as each leader — who didn’t meet with each other Tuesday and had no plans to meet — chose not to compromise.
Moore said gambling was the only issue stalling the budget. Berger said the number of House Republican votes Moore says are required to pass the budget with casinos has changed since a prior agreement. The Senate leader dismissed the idea of putting gambling in a separate bill, saying: “I believe that House leadership needs to live up to its commitments.”
“The budget, as you know, is, is a series of compromises,” Berger said. “And those compromises result in the final product. If the compromises that have been reached in the past fall apart, then I think everything is subject to further conversations.”
Berger also said that he won’t decouple Medicaid expansion from the budget. Lawmakers approved Medicaid expansion months ago, but its implementation hinges on the budget becoming law. Berger said the Senate wants to vote on the full budget, dismissing the possibility of smaller, “mini” budget bills.
Berger said that he and Moore needed to sign off on the printing of the budget before votes could take place. Berger said he has already signed it.
“Their leadership agreed to putting the budget together under certain circumstances. Their leadership needs to honor their commitment. And if we don’t have that, then we don’t have a budget that we can vote on,” Berger said.
A few hours later, after a brief House session, Moore told reporters that Berger’s take is “not accurate on breaking any kind of agreement. Always implicit in everything that we do is that we have the votes to pass this into law. We did have a majority of the caucus. And as I made clear, clarified on there, we’re good moving forward to the budget.”
Moore said that because 30 House Republicans do not support legalizing casinos through the budget, a budget containing the gambling proposal would need at least 19 Democrats to vote for it. Moore said he hasn’t yet asked Democrats for their votes.
[…]Asked why casinos matter so much, Berger said that at this point it’s not casinos. Instead, he said that “it is whether or not I can go back to my members and tell them that I have an understanding with the leadership in the House on a particular issue.”
“Doesn’t matter what the issue is. When I cannot do that, then it makes it very, very difficult for us to get any kind of business done. So it’s larger than just casinos,” Berger said. Moore said he just doesn’t have the votes to include casinos. “And I’ve advocated for it. I support it. I think it’s good policy. But we don’t threaten people in this chamber. […]
Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa … ???? *Stand back, folks. There’s lightning coming!*
[…] We don’t, you know, hold things over their head.We don’t try to intimidate members. And as a result, members are free to vote their conscience here. […]
Wow. If the Olympics handed out a metal for bold-faced, mealy-mouthed lying, this porky little dude wins HANDS DOWN.
[…] And so when members say at the end, that they believe as a matter of conscience, they’re gonna vote no. And we’re gonna respect that,” Moore said. Asked if he meant the Senate was threatening to withhold projects, he said no. As for a path forward, Moore said that gambling could run as a separate bill, just as sports betting legislation did. He said the budget shouldn’t be held up on one single issue.[…]
The reason things have come to a stand-still is real simple. All of y’all out there have done your research and given your legislators TWO earfuls. Plenty of them are scared. Believe it or not — for the first time, more scared of you than they are of that fat little monkey at the front of the chamber.
The typical hard-nosed shenanigans of the Berger Boys have worked like a charm on the Senate side. The Bergers have a whole chamber of (R)s too scared to flatulate without Phil’s permission.
Regardless of how things look or what the Raleigh ruling-class thinks, that puzzle palace on Jones Street is STILL OUR HOUSE. Filing for primaries doesn’t start until December.
You folks in Cleveland County, Lincoln County and Rockingham County OWE the rest of us. You keep saddling all of us with the likes of Phil Berger, Tim Moore, Kelly Hastings, and Jason Saine. All of these people are right in the middle of some of the most weaselly mischief that goes down on Jones Street. Granted, they are well-protected with a lot of lobbyist money.
But, you folks need to find some halfway decent challengers for these folks. Folks who have no significant criminal record and have yet to be fitted for a tin-foil hat. If you folks come through on your end, you might be surprised at how plentiful the supply of campaign cash is from outside your county or district.
Believe it or not, the world will not end if Phil Berger or Jason Saine has to climb off the government teat, go out into the real world, and get a real job.