Last year (after their big victory in the 2012 election) as soon as Republican State Senators and State Representatives got to Raleigh they went to work to cut spending and it was almost like a competition:
The House would announce it had cut a hundred million dollars.
And the Senate would top that and announce it had cut two hundred million.
It went on like that for months until, in the end, they’d cut more than any legislature anyone could remember but, of course, all that cutting came with a price: After they got home Republican Senators and Representatives got hammered for not giving teachers raises, for cutting the unemployment benefits, and for denying care to the poor, halt, sick and lame – Reverend William Barber even blamed them for hurting little children.
For awhile none of that seemed to faze legislators but a year’s a long time to listen to people saying you’ve hurt little children and the other day when I received the House Caucus newsletter (about the House’s new budget) the wind had changed. The legislator who’d sent the newsletter explained how he’d just voted to:
- Raise teachers’ salaries;
- Raise all other state employees’ salaries;
- Give veterans in-state college tuition rates;
- Increase Pre-K funding;
- Hire more people to provide child welfare;
- Hire more bureaucrats to battle coal ash;
- Give $3 million to the Biotechnology Center;
- Give $190 million for the Information Technology Fund;
- And put more money for the highway fund.
The only cut he mentioned was a cut in ferry tolls.
I reckon if anyone doubts the efficiency of attacking a state legislator – they ought to read the list.