For the sake of the over 400,000 North Carolinians who remain unemployed, I wish I could agree with the N.C. Chamber's rosy assessment of this legislative session as one about job creation ("A session for job creation," by Lew Ebert, June 23 Point of View article.
Ebert, the chamber's president, can call budget cuts "right-sizing," but common sense says that laying off thousands of teachers and public employees is not a job creation strategy.
The same day that Ebert's op-ed was printed I read that legislators passed a bill allowing a corporation to keep $2 million of taxpayer-funded incentives even though this company laid off workers instead of creating jobs.
Allowing unemployment benefits to expire, passing a budget that results in substantial job loss and rewarding a company for laying off workers are just a few examples that make clear that legislative leaders cared more about partisan politics than helping the unemployed or creating jobs.
I do, however, agree with the Chamber on one point: Legislators did send a strong message this session. North Carolina is open and ready for business, no matter the cost to taxpayers, workers, consumers or the environment. In November 2012, it will be obvious that's not the message most people want to hear.
N.C. State AFL-CIO