New GOP leader Thom Tillis: We're stripping down to barenaked government

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Well, we’re screwed.  We wrote recently about budget woes in the state legislature, where the new Republican majorities let it be known that they intended to deal with the $3.7 billion shortfall solely through huge spending cuts.

Our suggestion, as has been made by many others in the state’s press, progressive think tanks, and most Democrats, was that the GOPers should leave the current "temporary" sales tax, and the tax rate on wealthy residents, the same as it is now for the coming year. That one simple decision could reduce the shortfall by more than a billion dollars without raising taxes. It's something that nearly 60 percent of North Carolinians support, according to a recent nonpartisan Elon poll. Granted, leaving the tax rates alone would still leave us in a $2.7 billion hole; but when you're desperately deep in debt, cutting a quick billion is a good place to start, and a sensible way to manage a government.

To our dismay, but certainly not our surprise, the new House Speaker, Thom Tillis, yesterday shot down any talk of making such a sensible, responsible move. According to a Charlotte Observer story by Jim Morrill, even former N.C. governor Jim Martin, A Republican and no slouch in the political-strategies department, told the new GOP leaders that they should at least “hold open” the idea of keeping the temporary taxes on the books to help cut the budget deficit. As Morrill succinctly reported, however, “Tillis said later the decision has already been made to let the taxes expire.”

As we wrote earlier, one thing is for sure: If the $3.7 billion shortfall is handled through spending cuts alone, North Carolina will be left with a second-rate excuse for a state government; many of its people will be worse off; our public schools will be in the crapper; and desperately needed human services will be a mere memory.

So, here’s a big Thanks For Nothin’ to Thom Tillis, the House Speaker and supposed education proponent from Mecklenburg County, for immediately caving in to Tea Party irrationality, right off the bat. At least now we know what we’re dealing with, which is, frankly, a major shit storm that will hit the state for the next two years. It’s not a pretty sight.

House Speaker Thom Tillis
  • House Speaker Thom Tillis

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