The Follies

The Follies

Follies-6142013A puzzling move on a bad idea for the state

One of the more puzzling developments of this week was the decision by Senate leaders to delay consideration until next Saturday of a proposal to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to cap North Carolina’s income tax rate at 5.5 percent.

As the N.C Budget & Tax Center points out, that cap would cut off a vital source of revenue that the state needs and make it virtually impossible for future lawmakers to use the income tax to increase state investments, even in times of emergencies.

It also locks in place the massive tax cuts for the wealthy passed in 2013 that will cost more than $2 billion a year when fully in effect, more than the entire budget of the community college system and early childhood programs combined.

The new lower tax cap could threaten the state’s coveted AAA bond rating and force increases in the state sales tax and could lead local governments to raise property taxes and fees.  It’s a terrible idea that threatens funding for public schools, health care, and environmental protections and makes decisions for future members of the General Assembly that will be elected by the voters just like the current members were.

It’s not clear why powerful Senate Rules Chair Tom Apodaca put off a Senate vote on the misguided constitutional amendment or why he choose a Saturday as the new day to consider it, a day when the Senate it not normally in session.

Let’s hope it is a sign that Senate leaders are coming to their senses and having second thoughts about amending the state constitution to limit future legislatures and putting public schools and other vital state institutions at risk.

The latest warning for North Carolina from Kansas

It’s not we needed more evidence that the reckless tax cutting policies of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback are severely damaging his state, crippling the public schools and shredding the safety set for people who people who are struggling, but this week provides some from an unusual source.
The CEO of Pathfinder Health Innovations, Jeff Blackwood, released a letter this week saying that the company was moving out of Kansas, largely because of the budget-slashing of Brownback to pay for his disastrous tax cuts.  Here is one paragraph from Blackwood’s public letter.

“I can’t, in good conscience, continue to give our tax money to a government that actively works against the needs of its citizens; a state that is systematically targeting the citizens in most need, denying them critical care and reducing their cost of life as if they’re simply a tax burden that should be ignored.”

Kansas continues to stand as a warning to folks in North Carolina that think tax cuts are the answer to every problem and that you can’t cut taxes too much.

Kansas has done that and the state is reeling because of it. And now companies are leaving the state because of the damage the tax cutting frenzy has done.

There’s an obvious lesson here for the folks currently running things in Raleigh. Let’s hope they are paying attention.

McCrory appears with Trump, but only in private

Gov. Pat McCrory seems to want to have both ways when it comes to Donald Trump, now all but certain to be the Republican nominee for president.

McCrory doesn’t seem too happy when reporters ask him about Trump, but did reaffirm last week that he would support the Republican nominee for president when asked about it after the Council of State meeting.

WRAL-TV reported that when he was asked why he was supporting Trump, he said he had already stated he would support the nominee and then added “anything else?”

But McCrory didn’t make it to Trump’s rally in Greensboro this week. His office said he had a scheduling conflict without saying what the conflict was. But McCrory did manage to appear at a fundraiser with Trump that same day just before the public event.

The fundraiser was held at the Greensboro home of McCrory’s former DHHS Secretary Aldona Wos and her husband Louis DeJoy. Wos and the department she led are reportedly still under federal investigation for lucrative personal services contracts that Wos authorized, one of them that went to a former employee of her husband.

It does seem odd that McCrory was able to make it to a private fundraiser with Trump in Greensboro in the afternoon but allegedly had a conflict that prevented him from attending the public rally that immediately followed the private event in the same city.

As Doug Clark of the Greensboro News & Record pointed out, if there was an actual conflict, surely the governor could rearrange his schedule to appear with his party’s presidential candidate who he supports.

Apparently McCrory doesn’t want to be seen with Trump in public— but it’s ok to hang out with him in private where people are writing big checks.