Their Republican governor is gone, Pat McCrory having been defeated in his re-election bid. His occupancy of the office never made much difference to the Republican majority in charge of the General Assembly, the members of which treated him like an afterthought, even overriding a couple of harmless vetoes as if to teach the former governor a lesson.
Doubtless Phil Berger, president pro-tem of the Senate, and House Speaker Tim Moore are figuring to continue to do as they please even with Democrat Roy Cooper in the chief executive’s chair. Forecasts of the coming legislative session in The News & Observer’s Under the Dome show more of the same is likely in the session that begins in roughly a week.
Berger and Moore will lead the way to eliminate more regulation on business, particularly environmental regulation, which they’ll call a hindrance to the state’s economy, though that’s a rhetorical claim grounded in little fact. That could bring potential and real harm to North Carolina’s natural resources.
Ah, then there’s teacher pay. After years of criticizing public education and educators, and wounding traditional public schools with expansion of charter schools and creating vouchers, wherein taxpayer dollars go to people sending their kids to private schools, Republicans will pronounce themselves champions of public school teachers and give them another raise. But the state remains far behind where it should be in teacher pay.
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Then there are tax cuts. The wealthy and big business will keep smiling as Republicans give them even more tax cuts — all the while raising sales and services taxes, which affect middle-income people more, to make up the difference in lost revenue from the cuts.
Even though the state has bounced back from the Great Recession, GOP leaders have kept the state budget flat and have not done what they should have done with programs in health and human services and infrastructure and education. That has harmed the state and will continue to do so.
But the most damage has been done by HB2, the “bathroom bill” that hindered anti-discrimination laws protecting those in the LGBT community.
North Carolina has lost millions of dollars in income and thousands of jobs from everything from high-profile concerts to playoffs and championships from the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference. That’s after the cancellation of the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte.
This ludicrous, stubborn stance on the part of Republicans will keep doing damage. And though Moore and Berger may try to cook up some kind of “compromise” that allows them to save political face, the businesses and entertainment productions and academic conferences the state has lost won’t be fooled. They will stay gone absent a complete repeal of HB2, with no trickery.