posted on May 16, 2006 14:38
Governor Easley’s sneaky streak breaks out every now and then. To hear the Governor tell it he’s going to do two things with the State’s $2 billion surplus: increase some needed spending and cut taxes.
What’s sneaky – and what he’s not talking about much – is that his tax cut is only a fraction of spending increases.
In fact, the Governor’s ‘tax-cut’ is more like a political fig-leaf than a tax cut. But it’s served its purpose, politically. The Governor’s reaped a windfall of newspaper articles saying he’s going to cut taxes.
The Governor’s also been telling voters for years he favors a ‘cap’ to limit state spending increases to 6% a year. But this year, for the first time in a long time, the State has a huge budget surplus. So, the Governor wants to increase spending a whooping 10.6%. As a result, his sneaky streak broke out again.
Governor Easley says – with a straight face – he still has his ‘spending cap’ in place – but, he adds, there are just a few items in the budget that are exempt. Like teacher salaries. Whoops! That’s one whopping big part of the budget he just exempted from his cap.
Now, whether we should raise teacher salaries more than 6% isn’t the point. The point is there isn’t really a spending cap and it’s misleading for the Governor to claim there is.
The Republicans in the legislature are now beginning to debate the Governor’s ‘tax cut’ and his ‘spending cap.’ The Governor is trying to mislead voters by calling a fig-leaf a tax cut and a ‘spending limit’ he has punched full of holes a ‘cap.’ Ridicule is a powerful political weapon. The Republicans in the legislature should use it.
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