There’s trouble in paradise. State House Republicans, led by budget-writer Nelson Dollar of Cary, have a budget plan that’s conservative, pro-business, not very friendly to public education and certainly contains no good news for the middle class. If you’re a conservative Republican, what’s not to love?
Plenty, says Raleigh businessman Bob Luddy, a long-time conservative presence in these parts who last year gave $160,000 to the North Carolina Republican Party. In an email to Republican House members, Luddy announced, “I had planned to donate $25,000 this year to the House Republican Caucus to help re-elect a conservative supermajority. Unfortunately, after seeing the $1.3 billion in additional spending and no across-the-board tax relief in the proposed House budget I had to reconsider.”
Luddy said he planned to give the money to the Americans for Prosperity advocacy group of Koch brothers fame.
Of course, by the end of business Thursday, GOP leaders had turned the budget more to conservatives’ liking, cutting a credit and reducing a film incentives package. But it’s still not as pure as some on the far right would like.
Luddy wants a tax cut instead and called the first budget the “liberal House spending plan.” That may be the first time in this era of Republican rule that the word “liberal” has been uttered without being followed by “Democrats” or “Obama,” or preceded by any words with more than four letters in them.
When Bob Luddy takes his ball and goes home in a snit, Republicans clearly may feel the need to take drastic action to restore their conservative credentials. He’s called them “liberals” for goodness’ sake.
Or, might they instead use this confrontation to demonstrate a little fresh independence, showing the citizens that they are not going to pander to those in their party who have the luxury of sounding off about taxes and not concerning themselves with the inconvenient details of keeping the government, and the services it provides, going?
Luddy and those who agree with him take the easy path in in criticizing House members who are trying to balance a budget and keep the state’s lights on. Luddy’s perspective might be different and his tongue not quite so sharp if he were an elected official. In the bleachers, a critic answers to no one. Legislators answer to their constituents.
And these types of critics aren’t going to be satisfied, at least for long, by the compromises – and the cut in the film incentives budget isn’t a good compromise, by the way. Nelson Dollar had an acceptable budget with which conservatives could have been satisfied, but Luddy clearly influenced changes, though not as much as he would have liked.
Now, we don’t want to get poor Dollar in more trouble than he’s already in, but let’s just say that if Luddy is looking for him, we heard a rumor he’s spending Memorial Day sailing up there around Cape Cod with Bill and Hillary Clinton and some of those Kennedys.