The Charlotte area is riding high in our fair state capital these days. The governor is a former mayor of The Queen City. The lieutenant governor is the son of the city’s longtime mayor and congresswoman. The speaker of the state House is from the Charlotte suburbs. The chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee is also from Charlotte. (The chairman of the state GOP — which currently controls power in Raleigh –is also from the Charlotte area.)
So, when one of these guys raises up his head and says something publicly — the rest of us darn well better pay attention. It’s very likely what they say is GOING TO HAPPEN.
Well, the Charlotte city council has approved a hike in the city’s prepared food tax to pay for renovations to the Carolina Panthers football stadium, and is seeking approval for its enactment from The General Assembly. The owner of the Carolina Panthers — and Charlotte area resident — Jerry Richardson is seeking in the neighborhood of $65 million from the state to help pay for stadium renovations. State House speaker Thom Tillis has been quoted saying that “no direct state money” will be going toward the stadium project.
*SCREEEEEEEEEEEEECCCCCCHHHHHH !!!!* Why did ol’ Thom throw that word “direct” in there? Why can’t he just say NO STATE MONEY ? Those sound like what my dad calls “weasel words.’‘ Kinda like Bill Clinton verbally tap dancing over the definition of the word “is.” Ol’ Thom’s statement leaves the door wide open for things like — oh — loans guaranteed by the state or a state appropriation laundered through Charlotte city government.
Jones Street JUST cut unemployment benefits. We’ve got a multi-billion dollar debt to the federal government. How on God’s green earth do you justify — in light of current events — forking over that kind of money to a lucrative private business owned by a very rich man and operated by very rich men?
Some Charlotte area legislators have the right idea as far as the food tax issue goes. They think area residents should vote on the issue. There are even some suggestions out there that the tax increase is part of a scam by Charlotte pols to publicly finance the construction of a brand new stadium for the Panthers.
Tillis has also promised state agency heads that the 2013 state budget will operate on a “finders keepers” rule. In other words — any “waste” they find, they get to keep for other “capital” projects they have in mind. Wait a minute. So, if some deputy assistant secretary finds “waste,” he or she gets to go waste it on something else ???? Thom seems to forget that he and his colleagues were sent to Raleigh to cobble together a budget and look out for the best interests of the people back home. Thom and the boys (and girls) need to go to work and root the waste out for themselves. Sound tough? Think again. State auditor Beth Wood and her small staff are doing a heck of a job on their own.
How about scooping up some of that wasted money and rerouting it to DC to pay off our multi-billion dollar debt? Just a thought.