Not quite 100%

Greg Sargent has some thoughts on last night’s NC Senate debate and highlights a line that had me rolling my eyes:

Charlotte Observer has a collection of videos of key exchanges during the debate, and this one usefully frames what happened:

“I assume you’re proud you voted with him 96 percent of the time,” Tillis said. “I think it’s fair to make this election about his policies.”

Hagan’s response: “One hundred percent of the time Speaker Tillis’ policies have hurt North Carolina,” she said. “He’s gutted education, killed the equal pay bill, no Medicaid expansion.”

This race could end up being as much about right-wing governance at the state level than about the national Obummer agenda, or even more so.

Nice sound bite, I suppose.  But really, 100%.  Not even going to give Tillis the broken clock’s worth of being right?  That said, it did remind me of this nice NC Policywatch piece about seven other bad/stupid things the legislature has done that have drawn less attention.  It’s hard to pick a couple, because when you read, they are all just dumb ideas (especially #2), but here you go:

1) Lawmakers abolished the nationally recognized N.C. Teaching Fellows program that provided college scholarships for students who agreed to spend at least four years in the classroom. More than 75 percent of Teaching Fellows stay in teaching past their four-year commitment…

2) Lawmakers ended all state funding for the state’s drug treatment courts that provide a tough and effective alternative to incarceration for nonviolent drug offenders that actually save the state money.   The courts costs a few thousand dollars for each participant, roughly a tenth of the almost $30,000 year it costs to keep them behind bars.

Numerous studies show the program works. One found that 75 percent of the graduates of drug court were arrest free two years after finishing the program.

It is also one of a handful of programs supported by both prosecutors and advocates for alternatives to incarceration.

In his 2013 State of the State speech to lawmakers, Governor McCrory called on the House and Senate to restore funding for the courts, but they ignored his request and he signed a final budget in 2013 that included no funding. The courts were barely discussed at all in 2014…

5) Lawmakers ended a requirement that all community colleges participate in the federal student loan program that makes low-interest loans available to students.

More than half of North Carolina students attending college or universities are enrolled in community colleges. Just a few years ago 57 percent of North Carolina community college students lacked access to low interest federal loans–the largest share of any state in the country at that time.

Thanks to the 2010 law that required community colleges to offer the loans, that percentage dropped to 36 percent past year, still too high but a vast improvement.  That requirement is gone, thanks to the General Assembly, and many students who need help while they are in school are now forced to turn to private loans with interest rates three or four times as high as the rate on the federal loans.

Just a lot of dumb policies have come out of Raleigh.  Even though these in particular are not the problem for Tillis, the best evidence suggests that it is the far right legislative agenda at the state level that is bringing Tillis down compared to other Republican Senate challengers.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Not quite 100%

  1. R. Jenrette says:

    How about Tillis’ closing “argumant” which he spent on a glittering generalities laundry list of all he would do to solve all of NC’s problems. Little if any mention of specific actions he would take to achieve these goals.

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