Chris Fitzsimon: Still time for 5 Dems to vote no on job-killing budget

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The decision for the five House Democrats thinking about voting to override Governor Beverly Perdue’s veto of the Republican budget became much tougher Monday, at least it should have.

A new report released by the N.C. Budget and Tax Center shows the budget would cost North Carolina more than 30,000 jobs next year, $1.3 billion in lost wages and $2.8 billion in reduced industry output.

The numbers alone ought to be startling enough to force the five Democrats to reconsider their support of the Republican budget or at least to ask for a postponement of Wednesday’s scheduled override vote so they can consider the implications of the report.

Then there is the study’s methodology, the exact same one used by researchers in a report prepared for legislative leaders earlier in the session that showed the tax cuts in the Republican budget would create thousands of jobs in the next year.

That study was done by the UNC Center for Competitive Economies but only looked at the tax cuts, not the huge reductions in state spending the budget makes in areas like Medicaid where state investments are matched two to one with federal dollars.

The author of the UNC study noted in a cover letter to legislative leaders that he only looked at one side of the equation, a point never mentioned by House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger when they are defending their budget proposal.

The BTC study looked at both sides, the jobs created by the tax cuts and the jobs lost by slashing public investments, and the conclusion is clear. The budget would be a massive blow to the state’s still sputtering economy and throw thousands of people out of work in both the public and private sectors.

Do the five Democrats really want to break with their party and their governor to cripple the state’s economy?

It is clear that voters don’t want them to override Governor Perdue’s veto. A survey released Monday by the Public Policy Polling in Raleigh found that only 23 percent of voters support the Republican budget.

Only 36 percent of voters believe that ending the temporary sales tax is more important than minimizing cuts to education. More than half the voters would rather leave the tax rate where it is and protect public schools. The survey was conducted before the BTC report revealed how many jobs the budget would cost the state.

And it’s not just the Democrats who should take another look at the budget they are poised to pass. Rank and file Republicans have been told by their leadership not only that the budget would create jobs and protect education, but that it is a plan that the majority of people in the state support.

Many lawmakers have parroted those talking points to the local papers in their districts, only to look foolish as their claims that no teachers will lose their jobs are proven false by story after story about layoffs in their own school districts.

There is still time for the five Democrats and rank and file Republicans to come to their senses and take another look at the budget before them.

The evidence is indisputable. It will cost the state 30,000 jobs and the majority of voters in North Carolina do not support the cuts it makes in education. That’s a pretty compelling case for saying no and trying again.

Chris Fitzsimon is director of N.C. Policy Watch


I see irony in an organization using the word "Watch"

in it's name yet it works closely with an organization like ACORN! Enough said.

The organizations you quoted are all far left-leaning

organizations. Do a simple internet search and check out their affilliations. Why not share the whole truth? You fail to show the polls that ask whether people would rather have smaller government or higher taxes. It is easy for people who pay little or nothing in taxes to commit the people who do pay taxes to pay even more so they can continue on the big government gravy train. When this budget passes, I cannot wait to see "all the teachers" who are fired and the thousands who lose their jobs as a direct result of a budget that is a mere percentage or two different from the Governor's. K-12 funding in the two budgets is only 1/2 of 1% different. If extending the increased sales tax AGAIN, despite promising when it was passed it would be one year TEMPORARY, is the answer to the sky falling as described in this article, how come there is so little difference in these two budgets? 1-2% difference will solve this huge jobs crisis predicted here? Give me a break! Try learning something from the overspending of the federal government. The only thing keeping NC from suffering even more is the State Constitutional requirement of a balanced budget. If growing government and spending more is the answer, we should have a thriving national economy. President Obama has thrown huge money at every problem. How's that working out? I remember when campaigns here in NC showed that for every dollar NC sends in federal taxes to Washington for education, only 10 cents is returned to NC! When will we learn, big government bureaucracies are a completely inefficient way to invest dollars in a worthy cause with rare exception. NC has depended on all that federal stimulus money to continue to allow people to depend on government and now the State is suffering the consequences. People who contribute can barely pay their own bills. Now is not the time to ask them to pay even more for others.

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