Vital revenue reform

December 29, 2010 

Teachers keep our kids well-educated. Public safety workers keep our communities livable. So why, when our budget has a revenue crisis, do we try to balance the books on their backs?

While Rob Christensen's Dec. 26 column "A better way: Cut state pay" is right that laying off 21,000 state employees would be a disaster for North Carolina, slashing pay for working families would also harm our economy and communities. Middle-class families are struggling in the worst economy since the Great Depression. Taking money out of their pockets would also stop them from spending money at small businesses, deepening the crisis.

There is a solution to this. We can modernize North Carolina's outdated revenue system, which hasn't been reformed since the 1930s. To do so would generate the revenue we need to keep teachers in the classroom and our communities protected.

Vital public investments like these keep the state healthy. Instead of trying to balance the books on the backs of hardworking North Carolinians, it's time to stand up and preserve these investments.

Jeff Shaw

Durham

The writer is director of communications for the N.C. Justice Center.

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