Nearly two months into the new fiscal year, North Carolina Republican legislative leaders are doing what they know best; focusing on divisive side issues while ignoring the real needs of our state.
In the past few weeks, Republicans in both chambers have presented budgets that signal business as usual — controversial measures, heavy on tax cuts for the rich and corporations, measly pay raises for educators, no mention of Medicaid expansion, and bottom of the barrel funding towards public schools.
- The shortcomings riddled throughout the budgets are nothing new, but the abundance of federal relief funding and the state’s $6.5 billion surplus is. Despite the influx of funding for long-term investments, Republicans neglected to consider the once in a generation opportunity to adequately invest in our communities.
- When it was time for our lawmakers to meet the moments, Republicans chose to back Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson’s controversial effort to censor teachers, anti-voter proposals that could have a lasting impact on North Carolinians’ freedom to vote and a provision that would limit a governor’s power during states of emergency.
- “We’ve got a budget to pass. We need to make sure we give the resources here and stop doing bills that don’t have substance. This doesn’t have any substance. We’re seeking a problem here. Let’s address the real issues,” stated State Sen. Gladys Robinson “And let’s leave the rest of this nonsense alone”.
Republican legislative leaders cannot pat themselves on the back for responsible budgeting while North Carolinians struggle to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.
At a time in which the state needs to confront a host of needs, Republicans in the General Assembly are prioritizing censoring teachers, controlling high schools, and pushing their own controversial policies at the expense of students, families and hard-working North Carolinians.
It’s time that leaders abandon their pattern of underinvestment that has harmed North Carolinians for too long. Instead, our lawmakers should commit to providing affordable housing, supporting equitable health care access, public school funding, and protecting our freedom to vote.
As a recent editorial notes, “It is not too much to ask, at $50,000-a-day, to have a legislature that finally gets down to business, focuses on the real issues and needs of North Carolina and stops with the inflated rhetoric, side shows and gimmicks”.