Progressive Pulse: NC’s response to the COVID-19 crises: Hindered by the “The Big Lie”

In opening remarks for the new legislative session, N.C. Speaker Tim Moore said, “And above all, we are committed to a system of government that represents justice for all North Carolinians”.

What Moore failed to mention was how for decades, the N.C. General Assembly has failed to expand access to health care, housing support, increased unemployment benefits and education resources — among a long list of needs. Despite having the funding, the Republican-led NCGA has failed to produce legislation for the betterment of all North Carolinians, especially during a pandemic.

From The Progressive Pulse

When asked about their priorities for the session, leaders of the General Assembly focused on COVID-19 relief, expediting the vaccine rollout, and constraining the Governor’s powers. If Senate and House leadership truly cared about expanding COVID-19 relief, they would not have restricted 2020 appropriations to federal dollars when they knew North Carolina had an abundance of money sitting in a bank account ready to be deployed.

The Big Lie is not exclusively a Republican problem. Democrats perpetuate the lie when they fail to propose, support, and fund transformative policy changes that have the power to raise people out of poverty, boost economic growth, and undo discriminatory policies and practices that exacerbate inequities.

According to the Office of the State Controller, North Carolina currently has more than $4 billion in unreserved public funds available today due to the NCGA failing to pass a budget and chronic underinvestment.

That alone is above and beyond the more than $1 billion in the state Savings Reserve, commonly known as the Rainy Day Fund.

North Carolina can afford to go all-in on healthcare for all, adequate living wages, teacher pay and to fulfill the state’s constitutional obligation to provide every student with an equal opportunity for a sound, basic education.

This is only possible if our elected officials commit to supporting and protecting North Carolinians over prioritizing tax cuts to corporations and the wealthy. 

Bottom Line: For years, the NCGA has let North Carolinians suffer while failing to allocate funding to help those in need. It’s time that our elected leaders govern in our interests and make meaningful investments to address ongoing threats to our public health, economy, and democracy.

Alanna Joyner

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