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Our View: Budget proposal is Perdue’s latest error

Gov. Bev Perdue is calling for a more than $1 billion increase in state spending this year.
She’s also not seeking re-election, so she won’t have to face the voters on this proposal. On the other hand, she’s well aware that it’s dead on arrival in the Republican-controlled General Assembly.
Why propose a sweeping policy initiative that you wouldn’t be around to implement and that has no chance of becoming law anyway? The move appears to be part of a political strategy to paint Republicans as heartless enemies of educational spending.
Unfortunately for those in Perdue’s Democratic Party who do have to face voters this year, $1 billion doesn’t just sound like a big boost for education. It sounds like a big number someone pulled out of a hat that inevitably would contain a lot of waste. It sounds like a potential payoff for Perdue’s allies in the teacher’s union – and no, they don’t do collective bargaining in this state, but they are still essentially a union.
The big number especially sounds like a real kick in the shins to the taxpayers of North Carolina who have been struggling to survive under the economic conditions and tax policies created under Perdue and her predecessors.
The governor has been eager to claim credit for economic development success stories when local officials, like those with Lincoln Economic Development have deserved much of the credit. But if anything, the state’s backward system of prioritizing counties for economic development projects has imposed a severe burden on poorer western counties like Lincoln. We get industrial growth despite the policies of Perdue and her allies.
The state’s high personal income taxes and corporate taxes are also job killers, but these would surely only get worse with a budget hike of this size.
The most creative economic policy change we’ve seen from Perdue is the reform of what was once the Employment Security Commission, but merged with the Department of Commerce under Perdue’s guiding hand to become the Division of Employment Security. Meanwhile many of the duties that used to bear the mark of the old ESC were subsequently reassigned within the Department of Commerce to the Division of Workforce Development, which has since become the Division of Workforce Solutions.
If only the crew of the Titanic had been as diligent in shuffling the deck chairs…
By any name or organization, it’s been a hapless agency that mysteriously laid off its best local employees last year. Despite the name changes, it’s still the same polices. How much, we wonder, was spent on reprinting all the stationery and business cards while unemployment rates improved only marginally (and mostly because of workers who stopped looking for jobs)?
It may be too early to say whether Republican Pat McCrory, the former mayor of Charlotte, or Democratic Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton would do a better a job as the state’s next governor.
But if Dalton wants to give North Carolinians the viable choice they deserve in November he should distance himself from both Perdue’s economic policies and her latest round of spending proposals.
That dog won’t hunt.

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