NC Top Ten list (and cicadas)

Over at NC Policy Watch, Chris Fitzsimon has a nice post on ten things we’ve learned from the legislature in the past ten days.  My favorites:

1) The House majority, like their Senate counterparts, believes that we currently spend too much money on education at all levels, including public schools—even after the devastating cuts of the last four years. The state currently ranks 48th in both per pupil spending and teacher pay but the House and Senate budgets make more cuts to education funding.

Apparently 48th is not low enough for the folks currently in charge on Jones Street…

4) Governor McCrory and some legislators can’t seem to decide what they think of outsiders. McCrory and Senate Majority Leader Harry Brown alleged that the demonstrators filling the legislative halls during the Moral Monday protests were “outside agitators.”

But WRAL-TV reported that 98 percent of the people arrested during the protests were from North Carolina.

Outsiders did have a major impact on important state policy this week, one outsider anyway. The key “expert” supporting the latest tax cut plan from the Senate leadership was Scott Drenkard, a recent college graduate and Koch Brothers fellow now working as an economist at the right-wing Tax Foundation in Washington.

Drenkard, who was escorted around the Legislative Building by folks from the tea party group Americans for Prosperity, testified before the Senate Finance Committee in favor of the plan that would cost the state more than $4 billion over the next few years.

Committee members also heard from four long-time North Carolina PhD economists, who were much more cautious about the plan. But the radical and misinformed views of the outsider carried the day…

9) The Republican majority is determined to thwart the will of the voters in Wake County in school board elections. The Senate voted this week to give final approval to legislation that would changes the district boundaries of the board members, just two years after they were redrawn by a prominent Republican law firm after the 2010 census.

But Democrats recaptured a majority in the board in the 2011 elections and Republicans simply can’t stand for that.

The whole list is pretty depressing.  Honestly, most every item probably deserves a full post for me, but really, it’s like the cicadas– predator satiation.  When the cicadas all come out at once every 17 years it’s an effective evolutionary strategy because, even though they are easy prey, there’s just way more of them than all the predators could ever eat.  Alas, the Republicans are passing so much short-sighted and foolhardy legislation in one session it’s hard to keep up.

Kudos to Fitzsimon and a number of intrepid journalists at WRAL and the N&O who are gobbling all the cicadas they can.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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