The capital press corps and several editorial writers have whacked Governor Perdue and the Democratic legislative leadership for not getting a budget done.
But does anybody outside downtown Raleigh care?
Obviously, other people in government care. Like local governments. And school officials who don’t know how many teachers to hire.
But I have a feeling that the flap is mainly confined to those people who work at the Legislative Building and have to put up – once again – with the legislative session running into August. And wrecking vacation plans.
Here’s a lesson I learned working for Governor Hunt: The average voter pays no attention to the daily back-and-forth in Raleigh. That is, the developments that rivet reporters. That leave Senators convinced that House members are looking bad with the public – or vice versa. And Republicans convinced the Democrats look bad – or vice versa.
Most all voters think all legislators are wasting time and tax money in Raleigh. Senate and House. Democrats and Republicans. Period.
Last week, one very smart legislator asked me if it would be a good idea for legislators to roll out the cuts they made before rolling out tax increases.
Theoretically, yes. But – just as they don’t follow the ins and outs of legislative maneuvering – voters never believe the legislature really cut the budget. You can cut billions. But one story about one program that seems to waste millions – or just thousands – and the cuts are forgotten.
Finally, remember that the end of the session is always a mess. I saw it happen sixteen times when I worked with Governor Hunt. Dozens more as a reporter, editor and now blogger.
That’s the way it is, as Walter Cronkite would have said.