Set aside the predictable posturing and apocalyptic doom-saying from both sides. North Carolina’s budget debate is a debate we need.
Governor Perdue’s proposed budget is a classic North Carolina Democratic progressive budget. It’s a balance of program cuts, higher revenues and protection for education. It’s essentially the same approach that Democratic governors and legislators have taken for decades.
Through those same decades, Republicans have called for a far different course: much deeper cuts and no new taxes. They have maintained that billions of dollars can be cut without damaging “core services” – a still-undefined term.
This year, for the first time, Republicans have a chance to actually write a budget that puts their assertion into practice. North Carolinians will see just what that means, and they can compare the two approaches. We can judge reality instead of rhetoric.
No one who knows state government would claim there is no unnecessary spending. The question is whether there is $1 billion beyond what Perdue proposed.
Perdue is betting that voters will decide the Republicans are cutting too deeply. That’s a bet that has paid off before.
Republicans are betting that times have changed: that voters believe harsh times call for harsh measures.
Somebody’s right, somebody’s wrong and we’re finally going to settle this argument.