Pork In The North Carolina Budget

Washington isn’t the only place where lawmakers love to spend money that isn’t theirs. The North Carolina legislature is currently working on its state budget for FY 2018-19. On Monday, Civitas posted an article about the current budget proposal.

The article reports:

The state budget for FY 2018-19 contains nearly 170 line items totaling $30 million that are highly inappropriate or outright pork.

Appropriations directing funding to local pet projects include items such as walking trails, playgrounds, county fairs and highway signs. Moreover, dozens of nonprofit organizations receive direct appropriations in the budget. Make no mistake, these nonprofits perform admirable work. However, it is highly inappropriate – and unfair favoritism – to single out nonprofits for specific appropriations of state tax dollars, instead of having them go through the appropriate grant process.

There is little doubt that a large percentage, if not all, of these earmarks represent legislators trying to “bring home the bacon” to their districts in an election year. State taxpayers should not be forced to finance explicitly local projects.

Note that the items identified in this article include only adjustments made to the second year of the biennial budget passed last year. There no doubt are many more such earmarks that will be doled out this year that were previously included in last year’s budget.

Legislative leaders have rightly been criticized for the closed-door, non-transparent process used in crafting the budget. It is plausible to believe that these 166 line items were the result of political horse-trading behind closed doors, which left virtually no time for objections from legislators before the House and Senate voted.

Such a significant number of earmarks, while not adding up to a major percentage of the budget in dollar terms, raises legitimate concerns about political patronage in which representatives direct state funds to local projects in exchange for political support.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It includes a specific list of the earmarks in question.

The Media vs. The Truth

A special session of the North Carolina legislation was called to handle relief for the victims of Hurricane Matthew. While they were there, the legislators tackled a few other things (that probably should have been taken care of a long time ago). The liberal newspapers are having a cow. The Daily Haymaker, a conservative but honest newspaper, explains what is going on.

The Daily Haymaker posted an article today about HB17, a bill introduced to reform some areas of the North Carolina government. Please follow the link above to read the entire article–it explains the hysteria of the left and the content of the bill.

Here are some of the highlights of the bill:

The state board of Education gets rolled under the auspices of the Department of Public Instruction — which, not coincidentally, just got its first Republican superintendent, I think, EVER.    The argument here?  If you’re elected to oversee public education in North Carolina — the whole enchilada should be dropped in your lap.  The only fingers that can be pointed, if you are the DPI superintendent, are AT YOU.  The legislation tightens the General Assembly’s control over the state board of education, as well. 

…House and Senate leaders become more significant players in the selection of a replacement in the event there is a vacancy in the office of governor or in any other Council of State position.

ALL personnel shifts — regarding exempt positions — in executive branch agencies have to be run past House and Senate leadership for approval.

The state board of education, under the leadership of the DPI superintendent, is transformed away from an advisory and more into a pure governing board.  It will be the sole governing authority for the state schools for the blind and the deaf.

There is more to this, but these are a few of the highlights. Please follow the link above to read the entire article.

Representative Michael Speciale posted the following comments about the changes on his Facebook page this morning:

Yesterday’s childish display by the left disrupted the business of the people and caused some to be removed in cuffs. They chanted “All power comes from the people” but I don’t think they grasped their own words or the concept that it encompasses. The power of the people was collectively enforced on election day. A group of malcontent thugs who are likely paid and bussed in to disrupt the business of those who represent the people detracts from the ability of the peoples government to effectively do their jobs.
The lies and distortions by the press are not only deplorable but dangerous to the furtherance of liberty.
Nothing passed during this session is unusual or out of the norm. Press reports and Democrat rumors of court packing and such are ridiculous and not based in fact. However, if we did choose to expand the court we would be doing what the Democrats did a few years ago. The leftist media believe it’s ok when done by Democrats but that same act is wrong when done by Republicans. What hypocrisy!
We returned to the General Assembly the responsibility to appoint trustees to the university system. This responsibility was relegated to the Governor years ago and we are returning this duty to the branch of government that the NC constitution states is responsible. This is not taking power from the Governor, it is restoring it to where it belongs. Other actions taken during this session help maintain jobs and continuity.

…Listening to the news this morning on WRAL i hear ‘NC Legislators receiving criticism from across the country for stripping power from the incoming Governor.” The fact that we are receiving criticism from across the country means that the left is continuing to attempt to pressure NC to fall in line with their liberal agenda, and that will not happen! If you don’t live here in NC, then I don’t care what you think! It is also indicative of the complicity of the local press to the leftist agenda!

The newspapers (as usual) are not telling us the entire story.

 

The Price Of Liberty Is Eternal Vigilance

Our Founding Fathers understood that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Many of us have forgotten that. We live in a busy, complicated world, and it is hard to stay tuned to the nuances of the political world around us and how those nuances impact our lives. In recent years there has been a power struggle between the political class and ordinary citizens attempting to exercise their voice in America‘s government. We are a Representative Republic–not a Democracy, and unfortunately we have reached a point where we have a political class that does not always respond to the needs of the people they are supposed to represent. In fact, in many cases, the political class desires only to hold on to their power to the detriment of the people they are supposed to represent. We are seeing that situation unfold today in the North Carolina legislature.

On July 26, I posted an article about the date of the North Carolina Presidential Primary. If the Primary Election took place in February, North Carolina would lose most of its delegates. If the Primary Election took place before March 15th, the delegates would be awarded proportionally, giving more weight to the delegates of the liberal states that hold later primary elections. Having the Primary Election before March 15th allowed the more liberal establishment Republicans to control the outcome–the desired outcome of the establishment being the nomination of Jeb Bush. The North Carolina legislature has written a bill to change the date to March 15th, which would solve the problem. Unfortunately, the establishment Republicans have decided to add a poison pill to the bill. If the bill is passed with the “Affiliated Party Organization” Amendment, it will strip the existing state Republican Party of its power. Why would they want to do that? Because at the North Carolina GOP Convention this summer, two political outsiders were chosen to head the party.

The Daily Haymaker posted the details of the story yesterday.

The article explains:

Since that happened (the election of political outsiders to lead the party) at the NCGOP’s June convention, party establishment insiders have been scheming about how to wrest control of the funds from these *filthy tea partiers.*

There have been attempts to go around the two new elected party chieftains by inserting highly loyal (to the establishment) senior staffers inside the party HQ.  Several attempts at that have failed, and it appears another one is on the way to doing so.  

House insiders are hot under the collar about these last minute changes.  One quipped to me that the bill should be renamed “The Shumaker-Stewart-Leis-Dollar Retirement Guarantee Fund.”

Basically, these changes allow for Jones Street “honorables” to create FOUR new party organizations THEY FULLY CONTROL and thereby weaken / neuter their existing party apparatus.  It’s establishment weasels thumbing their noses at the worker bees outside the beltline.  

It is time for the American people to take back their government. This begins at the local and state level. The “Affiliated Party Organization” Amendment is an effort by the political class to prevent the average citizen from having a voice in the government. The Amendment was introduced by State Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett), chairman of the House Rules Committee. The Primary Election needs to be moved to March 15th, but not in a bill that includes this amendment. The establishment Republicans in North Carolina should be ashamed of themselves. The people of North Carolina need to stand up and take back their state. They began with the election of Hasan Harnett and Michele Nix to lead the party. Now we need to fight to make sure what we have done stays in place.