NC GOP follows Democrats’ bad example with closed-door budgeting

Oh, brother. Republicans used to get angry about those doggone Democrats, when the Dems ruled the General Assembly and the legislative budgeting process for, oh, 100 years. Session after session, budget after budget, minority Republicans raised the roof (but didn’t succeed in opening any doors) over the secrecy Democrats used to formulate those tax-and-spend budgets of theirs.

So when Sens. Marc Basnight and Tony Rand exited their leadership positions in the Senate and Republicans were at last in charge, North Carolinians surely breathed a sigh of relief. Now, budget proceedings would be careful and deliberate and wide open, and the public, along with the usual lobbyists and special interest industries, would have a glorious opportunity to have their say. Democracy. The people heard. Yes, indeed.

But, wait. The News & Observer’s Under the Dome reports that House Republicans have been doing their budget proceedings in secret, behind those big closed doors. And the plan is for the budget to be out by Monday and, says Speaker Tim Moore, it’ll be passed and sent to the Senate by the end of the week.

Democratic Rep. Mickey Michaux of Durham, former budget writer, says that schedule leaves virtually no time for discussion or debate.

And what do the reforming Republicans, of the party that complained so loudly when Democrats did the budget, have to say about that?

Well, sir, they say, what’s the beef? This is just how the Democrats did it.

“The way we have done things is no different than the way you all did them when you were in charge,” said Rep. Bryan Holloway of Stokes County.

That’s the spirit. Talk about the evil Democrats and all their secrecy and rushed-up budget maneuvering, and then do the same thing. So now we see that Republicans have opened themselves to the most serious charge of all: They’re just like the Democrats.